Echo Helstrom
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Echo Helstrom

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Portland, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"NW Noise Band Briefs: Echo Helstrom"

Northwest Noise had the chance to interview Portland’s Echo Helstrom after their Mississippi Studios show last Tuesday night. The Studios was packed, lots of people drinking wine, so I bought a Rogue – oh sweetness it was good.

Echo had decided to play the entire album during their set, and I have to say, the all played nice with each other stacked up like that. The packed house seemed to enjoy the night, and the cover True Love Waits by Radiohead got an enthusiastic applause; presumably there were a lot of Radiohead fans in attendance.

My two favorites from the album walking into the concert were Space Invader and Davy Jones – the latter has over 20,000 plays on MySpace; the composition is excellent but the social commentary afforded by the lyrics is equally…kick ass and relevant.

Echo Helstrom is:
Ross Seligman: Guitars and Lead Vocals.
Will Amend: Upright and Electric Bass.
Alessandra Dinu: Violin.
Randy Rollofson: Drums.
Tahlia Harrison: Background Vocals.
David Caldwell: Guitar

Most of the members are music nerds – stepped in either jazz, classical and well-learned vocal talent. This is a good thing for the listener; a mastery of music and a musician’s instruments is more enjoyable then a low-slung guitar, sloppily played with a cig hanging from the guitarist mouth – in other words, Echo’s more substance than style, but Echo doesn’t flaunt their music prowess nor make you feel stupid for not knowing the difference between an A# and a middle C.

You can pick up their album The Veil at most CD retailers in the Portland area, and online on iTunes and CDBaby. - NW Noise

"Echo Helstrom Delivers"

Echo Helstrom delivers
Friday, November 03, 2006

Influences: Neil Finn, Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Coldplay

Sounds Like: Somebody please tell us what we sound like! -- From the MySpace page of the band Echo Helstrom.

Presumably, the members of Echo Helstrom know what they sound like, so we'll assume that (joking?) plea is not really about sound, but description -- something that musicians as often as not would prefer to leave aside.

In any case, they'll find no pithy assistance here. We could take note of Will Amend's deft acoustic bass playing and the cool wash of Alessandra Dinu's violin and call this a chamber-pop group. Or we might focus on singer/guitarist Ross Seligman's dreamy yet observational songwriting, the surprising flashes of rock aggression that jut out of the calm here and there and of course the Radiohead cover (a lovely, tender reading of "True Love Waits"), and file it all under indie-rock progressivism. We could even grab at passing straws of suggestion and tie them together, as did whoever thought to describe the sound as "Kurt Cobain meets Leonard Bernstein." (But we know better.)

Best to let the music have its space, and let listeners choose their own frame for the swirls of color and shape the band delivers on its new album, "The Veil."

The elements are numerous and varied -- from country-rock shuffles by the rhythm section to unison pizzicato passages by the strings to urgent electric guitar riffs to sweetly folksy vocal harmonies by Seligman and Tahlia Harrison, and so on. The band indulges its artier influences without sounding precious, and when it surprises us with greater volume or an agitated mood it never sounds as if it's straining for its rock bona fides. ("We're just a bunch of classical- and jazz- trained musicians from Portland, Oregon, simulating a rock band," their MySpace profile says; and in fact, Seligman has a side gig at the moment playing for the Portland Center Stage run of "West Side Story.")

If the band still is straining to find the right description, consider that a good thing. - The Oregonian

"An Echo Worth Hearing Again"

An Echo Worth Hearing Again
By Joseph Gallivan
The Portland Tribune, Mar 21, 2003

Sometimes it seems like everyone in Portland is in a band. Usually a quartet that dreams of playing the Paris Theater while churning out three-chord sludge in a damp basement.

That’s why the birth of Echo Helstrom is a blessing. In fact, until you hear this group, it’s easy to think of its members as a bunch of soft-spoken music students.

In the recording studio, singer-songwriter Ross Seligman listens closely as his violin player, Alessandra Dinu, lays down a track for the band’s self-titled debut CD. Dinu plays the way her classical training has taught her to, with supreme control, producing a rich, lush sound.

In a glass-fronted closet, Will Amend bows an upright bass. As the song “Floor 104” comes to an end, however, Dinu and the bassist’s tunes descend into a two-minute outro of ugly chaos.

It’s a take. Seligman loves it.

After the deluge of weak art produced in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Seligman says Floor 104 “It’s a passionate piece for me, I hope it will root the listener to the spot.”

It’s not really a Sept. 11 song, he’s quick to point out: “It’s a tribute to my stepbrother.”

Cantor Fitzgerald employee Laurence Polatsch, 32, did not escape the 104th floor of the World Trade Center in New York the day the twin towers fell. Seligman says the death of his fun-loving relative and friend left him feeling like a zombie for four months.

Eventually, “Floor 104” emerged.

“It wasn’t for anyone else to hear,” he says. “It was just to get it out and move on.”

Seligman’s songs are poetic without lapsing into obscurity, which is partly the influence of such heroes as Neil Finn, Jeff Buckley and Bob Dylan. The band sounds like early REM but with more passion, or like Coldplay with an orchestra.

On “Math of God,” you can feel the emotion rising in Seligman as a nagging violin tries to keep up. And on “I’m Changing,” a foot-stomper “about being 25 in a crumbling world, petrified of my own government,” this bunch of students in glasses sound like they have stadium anthem potential.

For years Seligman played in other people’s bands (such as local bossa nova outfit Blanket Music), too self-conscious to play or sing the dozens of songs that were piling up in his notebooks.

He arrived in Portland from his native New Jersey to study music at Portland State University. On the way he lived in a tiny trailer in someone’s driveway in Ireland’s Aran Islands while studying Celtic music and jamming with heroes such as Donal Lunny.

In 2002 he took the plunge and put together his dream rock band, with classically trained musicians who were willing to take his ideas and run with them.

“I wanted a violin,” he says, “but not like the Dave Matthews Band. I wanted it to be symphonic. It was uncanny: In just three weeks, I found everyone.”

Even the name seemed to find him. He was idly flipping though a book about Bob Dylan. Echo Helstrom was Dylan’s girlfriend when he was 15 and allegedly the inspiration for much of the album “Blonde on Blonde.”

More good luck came when he met Tahlia Harrison, whose father, Michael, is a well-known composer and pianist in Portland. She offered her dad’s studio in the Lawrence Gallery and her services as engineer, gratis. The group has just finished its demo CD and is playing small gigs around town.

“It’s so rare to find great musicians who you have a chemistry with and who actually show up for gigs,” says Seligman, who pays the rent by teaching guitar at Apple Music and playing on Portland Spirit dinner cruises. “These are people who can do a freaky version of Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’ with, if we want.”

- The Portland Tribune

"Echo Helstrom's The Veil"

Rebel Extravaganza Review, August 16, 2006

Echo Helstrom - The Veil - Echo Music 2006
11 Songs
Running Time: 54:07

Or, How I Lost 666.66% Of My Metal Cred In One Review. The most "trv" and "kvlt" among you will want to quickly skip to the next review now. I'm not fucking joking. Now. Well, if you're foolhardy enough to hang around, I can't be blamed for you latching onto one of the best straight up rock releases to cross this desk so far this year. Echo Helstrom is about as far removed from metal as Carpathian Forest is Calexico, but when The Veil snuck out of my mailbox and across my desk, braving stacks of discs with bands named XXX Maniax and such, my inner rock music fan woke up, slipping the disc into the stereo during a much-needed respite from metal.

"I'm Not A Murderer" is reminiscent of The Jayhawks' (Gary Louris era) more mellow moments until the chorus stirs up a bit of bombast, Tahlia Harrison's background vocals joining Ross Seligman's to create urgency without losing sight of the music's inherent beauty. A shuffling rhythm carries the jubilant kiss-off to whatever came before that is "I'm Leaving Today", more than a little Paul Westerberg influence creeping in as Harrison's voice once more lends color to the tune without becoming overbearing or predictable. Exquisite violin work by Alessandra Dinu finds a way to work a decidedly non-rock instrument into the melting pot of sound that is EH so well that it feels integral to the sound of much of The Veil. The title track brims with singer/songwriter charm, as easily listened to in a car racing down a country road as in a smoky inner city jazz club on open mic night. Shortly before the five minute-mark, "The Veil" explodes into jagged chordings, Dinu's bow slashing at the strings as at the bonds of a constricting life, further defining the music of this Portland, Oregon quartet as exuberantly unpredictable. "Space Invader" is a slight nod to a darker, more user-unfriendly Del Amitri, Will Amend and Mike McDaniel planting themselves firmly in the higher echelons of underground rock rhythm sections. It finally hit me, when the nuances of Seligman's delivery finally clicked with my sleep-deprived brain. EH is a Smithereens content to immerse themselves in whatever scene will allow growth, instead of cynically snarling and shoving away popularity at the expense of artistic martyrdom. But I digress. The intro to "Ocean Mile" floats along slippery bass-lines, Harrison's sultry vocals impeccably placed in the plaintive chorus. This song sees Echo Helstrom's classical/jazz background moved to the forefront, a wave of sound crashing over, and then ebbing away on a tide of rhythm-driven jazz meanderings. Seligman isn't your typical Isaac Brock or Will Oldham indie rock darling, easily trumping the former in listenability and oftentimes both in accessibility. From the smooth, Latin guitar-work just beneath the surface of "Burning Sun" to the frantic, driving Rock (note capital "R") of "Hungry Ghost", EH is a band at the mercy of their muses, and thankful we should be for it. Few bands could cover Radiohead and approach the passion found on their subtle version of "True Love Waits", but Seligman and company do it and well. "Where I Sleep" conjures its own brand of intensity by tasteful violin blending with lush arrangements and honest delivery that encompasses all members of EH, and the protest lyrics of "Davy Jones" are driven home by fluid acoustic finger-picking, unafraid to point out the irony of SUV drivers with sons who've died nameless in Iraqi car bombings.

Ending with an upright bass/violin coda in "I See Everything", Echo Helstrom have crafted an album of endearing warmth with the blood of '80s garage pop running through its veins. Rock enough for the parents currently subjected to their children's emo band of the week, indie enough for the kids tired of hearing their 40-something parents blasting Wilco on NPR. Only two records deep into Echo Helstrom's career, The Veil leaves behind genre and enters the realm of simply good music. Welcome. Please stay awhile.

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- Rebel Extravaganza

"Echo Helstrom, "The Veil""

The Wig Fits All Heads Review

Echo Helstrom
The Veil
By Sherri Prunier

It's a bold move to include a cover song on a new release, especially when the band you're covering is Radiohead and the song is "True Love Waits" – yet the Pacific Northwest's brazen and unsigned Echo Helstrom went for it. Not only did they succeed, but their song rivals the original. This is one of many revelations to be discovered on " The Veil", the second album from this amazing band.

Echo Helstrom, who took their name from an early girlfriend of Bob Dylan, is comprised of a wealth of talented and well-trained performers. The band includes Ross Seligman on lead vocals and guitar, Will Amend on upright and electric bass, Alessandra Dinu on violin, and Randy Rollofson on drums. Each offers an integral strength, and together they've mastered a signature sound difficult to relate to anything else.

They have the power to create a feeling of tension, of a dark and epic storm approaching, like in the tracks, 'I Am Not a Murder' and the hypnotic ' Davey Jones'. So many unexpected and impressive moments arise: like in the last two minutes of the beautiful song Veil, and the first few minutes of the harder hitting Hungry Ghost. Everything from the instrumentation and production to the vocals and arrangements is professionally done.

There's emotion in lyrics like "you beg for mercy / when I hold you down / it's not your culture that holds us back this time", and political tones to " grab your gun / the money men they need you now, you poor man's son", though it's the theme of desperation and need that seems to continually surface throughout, as well as a life/death motif that seems to tie into another constant of holding on versus letting go.

With so much to explore in this album it's obvious a lot of personal experience and passion went into its creation.

For now, Echo Helstrom is Portland, Oregon's best kept secret.

- The Wig Fits All Heads

"10 Bands You Should Know"

This Portland, Oregon quintet includes a completely jazz or classically trained lineup, who, by their own words, “simulate a rock band.” Don’t let the band’s humbleness decieve you: Echo Helstom is a real, talented rock band. Giving influential nods to Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and Radiohead, Echo Helstrom’s sound accurately falls somewhere between all three via guitar, upright and electric bass, violin, drums, and two vocalists – one male, one female. Even though it’s remarkable that the band has just finished recording their debut album, The Veil, what’s even more remarkable is that Echo Helstrom has done so without any label support; that’s right ladies, gents, and record labels: Echo Helstrom is unsigned, so pull out those checkbooks and contracts, support this band, and watch them because they’re going to make waves in the indie-rock world:

RIYL: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Murder by Death, A Whisper in the Noise, Clann Zu
- Decoy Music

"Quotes About Echo Helstrom"

"Earthy acoustic tones are fearlessly placed against rugged drum sounds and fat, meaty electric textures. Most records made these days are probably too slick for their own good, and Echo Helstrom avoids that." MATT GREENWALD

"The band manages an almost impossible feat of differentiating between songs without losing the sound cohesion. I would say that this band is destined for many, many outstanding albums in the future, each one topping the previous." JESSICA SLOSBERG

"The captivating combination of a bowed upright bass, violin, screaming guitars and a hauntingly beautiful voice finally give us something new. It's your favorite rock band merging with the Symphony." UNEARTHED.COM

"Seligman’s songs are poetic without lapsing into obscurity, which is partly the influence of such heroes as Neil Finn, Jeff Buckley and Bob Dylan. The band sounds like early REM but with more passion, or like Coldplay with an orchestra." PORTLAND TRIBUNE

"Only two records deep into Echo Helstrom's career, The Veil leaves behind genre and enters the realm of simply good music. Welcome. Please stay awhile."

"...a combination of raw emotional power with sophisticated melodic beauty" (PORTLAND TRIBUNE)

"Kurt Cobain meets Leonard Bernstein." (OREGONIAN) - Various


Echo Helstrom
Run With Me
Released 2012

Echo Helstrom
Paper Airplane EP
Released 2010

Echo Helstrom
"The Veil"
Released 2007

You can hear songs from this record on our website,

Also, see the music video for "Hungry Ghost" at:

Echo Helstrom is heard frequently on XM/Sirius radio and on internet radio. In addition to Radio, Echo Helstrom has been featured on several podcasts in the US and Europe.



ECHO HELSTROM, the evolution of indie chamber-pop. It's the live string section and electronic influences added to the usual rock array that makes them so. That, plus adventuresome arrangements and songs that run the gamut from chamber music to punk rock with much else in between. Echo Helstrom is "a combination of raw emotional power with sophisticated melodic beauty (Portland Tribune)," it's "Kurt Cobain meets Leonard Bernstein (The Oregonian)". Echo Helstrom, not quite straight-ahead rock nor top 40 pop. It's unique, original, and word is spreading fast about the "dreamy yet observational songwriting [with] surprising flashes of rock aggression (The Oregonian)."

The influences are worn in the heart not on the sleeve, they're internalized, digested, transformed. Critics have noted anything from Radiohead and Coldplay to Neil Finn and The Frames and the way Echo has created something refreshingly new. The songwriting is "poetic without lapsing into obscurity (Portland Tribune)." It's "rock enough for the parents currently subjected to their children's emo band of the week, indie enough for the kids tired of hearing their 40-something parents blasting Wilco on NPR (Rebel X)."

Echo Helstrom's unsigned "The Veil" has seen heavy rotation on XM Satellite radio, has appeared on the "In Da Club" episode of "One Tree Hill" on the station CW/WB, had music featured on American Idol Episodes 404, 409, 410, and had music used for an Obama campaign commercial for MoveOn.Org.

Currently, Echo is booking shows all over the West Coast, looking to tour as much as possible to support their self released new record "Run With Me". All this has been accomplished without major label push thanks to a successful massive online presence. From international podcasts, internet radio, and over 30,000 fans on Myspace, and Facebook spreading the word, Echo Helstrom has a bright future and is now looking for label support to bring the music to wider release.

Simply put: "The Veil leaves behind genre and enters the realm of simply good music. Welcome. Please stay awhile (Lord Randall Jones)."

Youtube Channel: