Like Times New Viking, Helvetia reminds us of a font, but we know ancient Swiss history well enough not to be fooled (uh, merci, Wiki). Plus, this is guitar-centric rocking pop of a different sort. The Seattle duo — featuring 2/3 of Duster — can conjure a bit of Built To Spill in frontman Jason Albertini’s voice and exploratory guitars. We thought maybe we were just hearing things, but no — Helvetia’s toured with BTS in the past, are doing so again soon, and their lineup’s fleshed-out live by members of Doug Martsch’s elder band. Not enough jammy incest? Well, their forthcoming album The Acrobats was recorded by BTS guitarist Jim Roth and includes guest spots from Spill’s ranks (along with members of Arthur & Yu and Mike Johnson & the Evil Doers). Wonder if “Acrobats” refers to Albertini’s guitars? Take a listen to two songs from the new one after the jump and invent your own baseless theories.

Band To Watch: Helvetia

The opening guitar of “Old New Bicycle” is really slippery — nice. Not that they ever get unslippery (pay attention at the 1:25 mark). And congrats on those funky shuffling drums, Dove Amber. Sorta hippie, totally locked-in cool. By the time you get to “Blasting Carolina” you should get the sense of these all-over-the-fret-board guitars and hold steady drums. The dreamy multi-tracked vocals? Bonus. We’re totally flashing back to the glory days of Up Records here. And anyone remember Mohinder? Crazy. Keep up with the boys at MySpace. They’re tricky and have more material posted at this Space, too.

The Acrobats is out 3/25 on Static Cult.

Comments (21)
  1. Cynic  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0

    Wow! Kinda upbeat grooves, guitars, lofi-ish production, and a not incredibly embarrassing name like the last five “Bands to Watch” posted. Easily one of the best things posted in a long while.

  2. Ju Bean  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0

    It’s funny, I literally discovered this band just last night. So you guys either have perfect timing or are spying on me. Anyways, I’m also digging “Beezlebub (Leave Me Be)” alot.

  3. Chris  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0

    Nice, awesome find. I’m digging this a lot!

  4. west  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0

    Helvetica was a really interesting film … Oh. Nevermind, there’s no “c”.

  5. i’m glad you guys are showing helvetia some love. they’re an awesome band, and i was awestruck when they opened for the thermals here in town last year.

  6. bookwibble  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0

    Nice. Thanks!

  7. duster: ‘Memphis Sophisticate’


  8. elotes  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0

    Love the harmonies on the Old Bicycle Song.

  9. Grestdos  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0


    Are you kidding me?


    Give me a break.

  10. adf;kjl  |   Posted on Jan 17th, 2008 0

    You’re kidding me with this band.


    Flies on a biscuit in July.

  11. ben  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2008 0

    great drum-beat on old new bicycle, and the second half of blasting carolina when its shifts into that steady midtempo groove is great, lovely coda too. loving the vibe!

  12. COMMODITIE  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2008 0

    um, hell yeah HELVETIA are amazing. i saw them twice and hung with jason at the last BTS show in Chicago. super nice fellows and the acrobats is nutz. can’t wait to see them again!

  13. MF McNutt  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2008 0

    Know your type history ?

    The font foundry that released Helvetica initially considered the name “Helvetia”, but added the c for marketing reasons. Helvetica’s original name is Neue Haas Grotesk.

  14. Chris W  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2008 0

    Wow, im impressed. Love the spacey voice harmonies. The whole thing feels kinda spacey… Nice find I am watchign out for them now

  15. James  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2008 0

    Wow, this is wonderful stuff. I’m digging the harmonies too. Thanks for another great great great find!

  16. Gtetta  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2008 0

    This is dog shit. You’d have to get a knee in a sling on a winter’s Monday to muster up the courage to think that’s an interesting beat or that those production techniques are intentional.

    Boo, sorry here.

    Helvetia Meletia is more like it. Goddamit.

  17. Ryan  |   Posted on Jan 18th, 2008 0

    Helvetia is little more than two dudes living inside self-promoting comment sections making incoherent music about typefaces.

  18. kris  |   Posted on Jan 19th, 2008 0

    wow, ever hate much? These guys have been involved in a lot of cool projects over the years and are obviously continuing to make great music. This stuff is awesome!

  19. So the bands *new* name is “dog shit”? I can’t keep up – but I still now it sounds great!

  20. whistle  |   Posted on Jan 23rd, 2008 0

    Saw these guys on tour with BTS in 06. I was so bewitched that I bought some merch.

  21. Ingrid  |   Posted on Mar 17th, 2009 0

    i’m a huge fan of duster soo duhh i love it! thanks stereogum.

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