Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band first appeared in 2008, when the quintet generated an Internet buzz with its lengthy band name and undisclosed back-story. Choosing to preserve that mystique, the Seattle residents released a series of humorous PSA videos on MySpace before issuing any recorded music. A demo song finally appeared that summer, and the band's history slowly began to unfold. Apparently, bandleader Benjamin Verdoes (guitar, vocals) had founded the band with his 12-year-old adopted brother, Marshall Verdoes, whose talent for drumming belied his young age. Friends Matthew Dammer (Moog, guitar) and Jared Price (bass) also joined the lineup, as did Verdoes' wife, multi-instrumentalist Traci Eggleston-Verdoes.
The familial group recorded an EP, Weepy, with studio ace Scott Colburn, and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band capitalized on the mounting hype by making their debut live appearance in July 2008. A tour of the West Coast followed that fall, while a record contract with the indie label Dead Oceans was inked in November. The self-titled Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band arrived several months later, marked the band's full-length debut with lo-fi, jangly songcraft and quirky ambiance. [AMG Andrew Leahey]