by Red Cell
“Makes me think of early Aretha beamed down to Earth in a static tractor beam that flickers on and off like an interstellar disco ball…”—Sound On the Sound
Listen to “I Walked All Night” here: [ti_audio media=”11372″]
Combining 60s R&B, 60s Girl-Punk, Doo Wop and an occasional Country tinge, Earth Girl Helen Brown is the real deal even if she started out as a fake band. We are currently in an era where the past is being mined like we have no future, and it is refreshing to hear someone doing it right and still sound as modern as can be. She has a unique style for our current indie music soundscape. It’s as if Sun Ra wrote the lyrics for the Shangri-Las.
Listen to “Hit After Hit” here: [ti_audio media=”11373″]
Helen Brown’s origins come from Sonny Smith’s (Bay Area garage-pop act Sonny & the Sunsets) 100 Records Project, in which Smith recorded 100 singles for 100 imaginary bands for a jukebox installed exhibition. With fake bands like Zig Speck & the Specktones and the Loud Fast Fools he eventually employed current luminaries like Ty Segall, Kelley Stoltz and Fresh & Onlys frontman Tim Cohen for the recently released box set of 45s. Although Helen Brown’s (Heidi Alexander of The Sandwitches) origins come from Sonny Smith’s fake band project, she has earned a life of her own beyond the scope of Smith’s original vision and together they have just released a 10″ EP for the fake band. She calls herself a “nomadic psychedelic folksinger.”
Here is Helen Brown’s elaborate backstory:
“Helen Brown was born in Vancouver, Canada, but raised in an Athens, Georgia-based religious cult, and was blinded in one eye from a childhood baseball injury. As an adult, she dropped out of Evergreen and traveled the country for a while as a nomadic psychedelic folksinger, before forming her first band One Eyed Tramps. For years, she lived alone in a mountaintop in southern Alaska, where she befriended a Cherokee Shaman (later revealed as a fake) who encouraged her to pursue a frustrating academic career. Rampant drug use, frequent fainting on stage, and occasional self-inflicted knife wounds on stage led to more interest in her stage antics than her music. However, a few sides did emerge in the late ’90s (recording dates unknown), which feature a unique mix of country, girl group, R&B, and ghoulishness. Crude and amateurish at best, these recordings are appreciated for their sincerity and intensity of feeling.”