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Helms



Helms has struggled a bit during the course of its brief existence to determine its titular identity. Featuring the brothers McCarthy -- singer/guitarist Sean and drummer Dan -- and bassist Tina Helms, the group ventured out under the moniker The Television Set, before rechristening themselves The Swimmer. Then, after learning of the existence of another Swimmer, the trio dubbed themselves Helms (nothing to do with Senator Jesse, it's just Tina's last name). Helms then wound up releasing a debut LP titled The Swimmer, featuring a song called "The Television Set." Confusing?

Naming complications aside, Helms has a very clear idea of what it wants to do musically. This involves extended brooding and quiet portions of songs, consisting of Slint-like half-whispered vocals, stark guitar figures, minimal bass, and weird restrained percussion. Frequently, though, Helms will jolt you from the music's hypnotic trance by bursting suddenly into brief episodes of jagged, heavy noise. It's a paranoid style, both disorienting and oddly beautiful, with lots in common with Helms' friends Victory At Sea. Helms's debut The Swimmer appeared on Kimchee in 2000. The band has also released a split EP with Victory at Sea.

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