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Anthony Carew

Introducing: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band

By March 16, 2009

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Name: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
From: Seattle, Washington
Story: From One Brother to Another Brother: the Gift of Rock
Sound: Dueling guitar lickery

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band may not be your catchiest rock'n'roll moniker --no one's mistaking it for The Strokes or Black Flag-- but its five words stand for a Seattle band whose five members keep it close to home. Flanking frontman Benjamin Verdoes are, amongst others, his wife, Traci Eggleston, on keyboards, and his 13-year-old brother, Marshall, on drums. MSHVB, in fact, came into being as a form of fraternal encouragement. When Marshall took up the drums as an 11-year-old, Benjamin promised him that when he got good enough, they'd start a band together. And sure enough, by 2008, the two Verdoes bros had themselves a Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band.

Of course, if said Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band kind of sucked, that cute back-story would be an end. Instead, it's a beginning. On their debut, self-titled set --issued on the Secretly Canadian-related Dead Oceans imprint-- the Seattle quintet show themselves as a dynamic rock outfit, lead by the duelling lead-guitar licks of Benjamin Verdoes and fellow six-string slinger Matthew Dammer.

As Verdoes and Dammer play off each other, their nimble-fingered riffin' recalls guitar heroes from Thin Lizzy to King Crimson, Television to Pavement, with hints of the sprawling fretboard workouts of psychedelic Dead Oceans label-mates Citay. Yet they're not guitar-nerds, either: sharp, shouty pop-songs like "Anchors Dropped" and "Dull Reason" sparkling with the kind of effervescent indie klang that'll appeal to fans of bands like Modest Mouse and Wolf Parade. MSHVB Tour Away:
March 22: Tucson, AZ - Plush
March 23: Los Angeles, CA - Troubador
March 24: San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Shop
March 26: Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
March 27: Provo, UT - Velour
March 28: Denver, CO - Hi-Dive
March 29: Lawrence, KS - Jackpot Saloon
March 30: St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
March 31: Chicago, IL - Subterranean
April 1: Grantham, PA - Messiah College
April 2: Northhampton, MA - Iron Horse Music Hall
April 3: Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs
April 4: Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
April 5: New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
April 7: Pittsburgh, PA - Brillobox
April 8: Bloomington, IN - Bear's Place
April 9: Urbana, IL - Courtyard Cafe at University of Illinois
April 11: Madison, WI - Der Rathskeller
April 12: Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry
April 13: Fargo, ND - The Aquarium
April 15: Missoula, MT - The Bandlander
April 16: Spokane, WA - Emyrean Coffee House
April 18: Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
May 23: Quincy, WAS - Sasquatch Music Festival

Photo [Steven Dewall]


March 21, 2009 at 3:02 am
(1) Tammy Dammer says:

Correction:The drummer’s name is Marshall, Benji’s brother. Matthew (the most awesome one!) is my brother.

March 27, 2009 at 1:38 am
(2) altmusic says:

thankye for your eagle eye. i really need me some more of that there sleep.

April 3, 2009 at 5:42 am
(3) m3ck of dasgud says:

The band made my night in Chicago. I can’t stop listening to their cd.

July 10, 2009 at 12:52 pm
(4) Mr. Z says:

Check out their latest video:


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