Helen Ballentine, known professionally as Skullcrusher, is an American indie folk singer-songwriter and musician.


Ballentine was born and raised in Westchester County, New York, Ballentine attended the Hackley School, graduating in 2013.[1] Ballantine moved to Los Angeles to attend college, graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in graphic design in 2017.[1][2] Having played piano for most of her life, Ballentine decided to quit her job working at a gallery to pursue music full time.[2][3] In 2019, Ballentine wrote her first song, "Places/Plans," which was later released on 21 April 2020.[2][4] Upon the release of the single, Ballentine announced her debut self-titled EP, released on 24 July 2020 via Secretly Canadian. The EP and subsequent releases feature production contributions from Los Angeles musician Noah Weinman, known professionally as Runnner.[5][6] A second song from the EP, "Day of Show," was released on 27 May 2020.[7] On 19 October 2020, Ballentine released a pair of singles entitled "Farm b/w Lift"; "Farm" is an original Skullcrusher song, while "Lift" is a cover of an outtake from Radiohead's album, OK Computer.[8] For these singles, Ballentine used nostalgic samples from her childhood growing up on the East Coast of the United States, including crickets, cicadas, the beach in Connecticut, and the creaking of old homes. "Farm" was recorded around the Woodstock area of upstate New York.[9] Ballentine released "Song for Nick Drake" on February 1, 2021.

Her debut album, Quiet the Room, was released on October 14, 2022. [10]


Mark Beaumont in The Guardian described Skullcrusher's sound as "Gorgeously gauzy alt-folk paeans haunted by the pale ghosts of pianos and acoustic guitars that drowned many years ago in a Laurel Canyon lagoon", commenting that the band's name suggests something altogether more violent.[11] Alex Robert Ross from The Fader described Ballentines sound as "It’s a deft record, tranquil on its surface but torrid underneath, its loosely strummed acoustic guitars and vaporous melodies rooted to the ground by probing lyrics."[12] Independent music website Pitchfork rated the EP a score of 7.1 upon its release saying "the acoustic confessionalism of her debut EP Skullcrusher isn't terribly original, it is nonetheless lovely, captivating, and quietly devastating."[13]




  • Skullcrusher (2020)[14]
  • Storm in Summer (2021)[15]


  • "Farm" b/w "Lift" (2020)[16]
  • "Song for Nick Drake" (2021)[17]
  • "Cloudy Shoes" (2021)
  • "Whatever Fits Together" (2022)
  • "They Quiet the Room" b/w "Quiet the Room" (2022)
  • "It's Like a Secret" (2022)


  1. ^ a b "Seniors Plan to Pursue Performing Arts Majors". May 24, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Ross, Alex. "Skullcrusher debuts with the haunting and delicate "Places/Plans"". The Fader. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  3. ^ Zhang, Cat. "Skullcrusher – "Places/Plans"". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  4. ^ "L.A artist Skullcrusher stuns in her captivating and atmospheric debut "Places/Plans"". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  5. ^ "Skullcrusher's pinpoint candor". The FADER. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  6. ^ Reed, Ryan (March 9, 2021). "Skullcrusher Preps New 'Storm in Summer' EP, Shares Title Track". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  7. ^ Helman, Peter (May 27, 2020). "Skullcrusher – "Day Of Show"". Stereogum. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  8. ^ "Skullcrusher shares new single 'Farm' and Radiohead 'Lift' cover". Nme.com. October 20, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  9. ^ Lim, Eddy (October 20, 2020). "Skullcrusher shares new single 'Farm' and Radiohead 'Lift' cover". Nme.com. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Skullcrusher - Quiet the Room Album Reviews, Songs & More". AllMusic. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  11. ^ Beaumont, Mark (July 3, 2020). "From Skullcrusher to Jockstrap: the bands who sound nothing like their names". The Guardian. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  12. ^ Ross, Alex Rober. "Skullcrusher's pinpoint candor". The Fader. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Kemp, Sophie. "Skullcrusher Skullcrusher EP". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "Skullcrusher, by Skullcrusher". Skullcrusher.bandcamp.com. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  15. ^ Reed, Ryan (March 8, 2021). "Skullcrusher Preps New Storm in Summer EP, Shares Title Track". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  16. ^ "Farm b/w Lift, by Skullcrusher". Skullcrusher.bandcamp.com. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  17. ^ Rettig, James (February 2021). "Skullcrusher – "Song For Nick Drake"". Stereogum.com. Retrieved February 2, 2021.

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