Helvetia Dromomania on LP
Helvetia (pronounced “hel-vee-shuh") is the project of Jason Albertini, a previous member of UP Records band Duster and current bassist of Built To Spill. The band consists of former Duster bandmate Dove Amber, along with Zeke Howard, formerly of Love As Laughter (Glacial Pace, Sub Pop, UP Records), Samantha Stidham, and Jim Roth, also of Built To Spill.
Having grown up in Basel, Switzerland, Albertini chose the name Helvetia - the female personification of Switzerland - because of its lyrical and poetic sound. Between 2006 and 2011, Helvetia put out seven releases on The Static Cult Label, run by Duster’s Clay Parton, and toured with bands like Built To Spill and Meat Puppets. After running monitors and performing other roadie duties for Built To Spill for years, Albertini officially joined the band in 2012.
Known for recording most of Helvetia's albums himself on a 4-track (except for 2008's The Acrobats, recorded at the Seattle-based studio of Built To Spill's Jim Roth). Albertini's songs are raw, experimental, and psych-tinged. 2012's Nothing In Rambling, the band's first release for Joyful Noise, featured some of their most focused and inspired tracks to date. Shortly after its release, Albertini started recording new material that was deemed lost after a computer meltdown, but was eventually recovered and released as A Dot Running For The Dust: The Lost Sessions in early 2015.
It will be followed by Helvetia's new album, Dromomania, due out on Joyful Noise in October. Dromomania evokes the simplicity of ‘70s Kinks, combined with a good dose of Captain Beefheart and the randomness of The Residents. Third-wave hardcore influences meld with elements of Neu-like trance rock; Meat Puppets and Elevator to Hell come together on tracks like “Bermuda” and “Radio Shower.” Dromomania is a condition of wandering with no notice of intent nor memory of getting to where you’re going — just when you think you can get comfortable, you’re transported to a different place with a different set of ideals. Dromomania is a vague sense of feeling and dreams a-plenty.