Thursday, December 29, 2005

the WINTERPILLS


THE BAND: VIA THEIR SITE, winterpills.com, "the Winterpills formed on a bare wood floor during a winter when mutual friends and potential enemies met to nurse wounds, drink, ignore the obvious, play other people's songs, and found they had their own. Through tender, delicate sounds of warmth and chill, they are a band playing you songs of pretty losses and hollow hopefulness. Winterpills will not tame you. Winterpills may hurt you. Do not let Winterpills crumble in your fingers. Do not wash off afterwards.

THE SOUND: The Winterpills sound like a band trying to warm its way out of a frost, which is maybe how they got the name - a pill to warm you out of the winter? I don't know and I will leave that to better minds. The music is the warming of the heart after a breakup or the realization that life will go on. Haunting, delicate, dynamic, room-hushingly beautiful music with aching melodies. Their soft spoken lyrics and chilling sounds will help you find your way out of the winter maze but only onto the next heartbreak.

Click here to get your hands on their self-titled debut, Winterpills.

mp3 - Cranky EXPIRED
mp3 - Want the Want EXPIRED

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

the RADIO DEPT.


THE BAND: Swedes! Yes, that is right, Swedes. They seem to be one of the hottest things in radio these days and you can add the Radio Dept. to that list. Formed by Elin Almered and Johan Duncanson in 1995, back when they were highschoolers, the Radio Dept. is a collaboration of friends who were into art, music, phot and film and more. They have had a revolving door of members since their inception and at one point, barely existed. As of 2001 though, with the addition of Martin Larsson, Lisa Carlberg (bass) and Per Blomgren (drums), they rehearsed more and recorded more, getting the attention of Sweden's top label, Labrador Records.

THE SOUND: If you want some sunny day, guitar pop with lots of fuzz, this is the band for you. I was a huge fan of this band last summer and I don't think they got the attention they deserve so I am bringing them back in the fold. "I Don't Need Love, I've Got My Band" is a feel good hit that kicks off a great new day, shrugging off everyone else in favor of your bandmates. The melancholic mourning in "1995", recalls the moments and space of growing up and "Where Damage Isn't Already Done" bounces and bops its way through romance. A good sunny day album for the winter.

Check out their most recent LP Lesser Matters for some solid hits and it appears they had a 5 song EP out over the summer as well, This Past Week.

mp3 - I Don't Need Love, I've Got My BandEXPIRED
mp3 - 1995EXPIRED
mp3 - Where Damage Isn't Already DoneEXPIRED

SORRY...

Sorry for the lag in posts. As I am sure you can attest, the holidays tend to take up all your free time and the usual stuff falls to the side. I have today off to hang out with my son (who is finding it hysterical to drop things over the gate, knowing he will not get them back) and take some time to catch up on all the blogs I regurgitate as well as post my own stuff. I am whipping something up at the moment so in just a few, a new post!

Thanks for sticking with us -
the Test Pilot

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

GOTYE


THE BAND: Gotye is 24-year-old Wally De Backer, out of Victoria, Australia. Much like Tom Vek, he is the everyman instrumentalist, playing drums, percussion and piano while writing, singing and producing his home-made tracks. Gotye’s sound is a melting pot of samples from far and wide, mixed with Wally’s home recorded sounds. The results are seen in his debut, Boardface - songs that incorporate styles and sounds of the past, while showcasing Wally’s unique songwriting.

THE SOUND: Gotye's use of samples and retro sounds reminds me a lot of fellow Aussie's the Avalanches and the UK group the Go! Team. Old samples, drum machines as well as live instruments mixed in, he constructs hippity-hop beats to make you dance or just bob your head. You definitely get a 70's/early 80's vibe from the guitar fuzz, record crackle in the feedback as well as the harmonizing, dated samples.
After looking around a bit, it appears Gotye's website does not offer a buying option, eBay doesn't even have any listed and the best you can do is order through amazon.co.uk and wait 4-6 weeks to get it shipped! Yowzers. So for your temporary fix of Gotye's sound, go to Gotye's website and download the tracks, "A Distinctive Sound" and "Learnalilgivinanlovin" for some FREE SAMPLES. His new LP is due out in January.

WE ARE SCIENTISTS poster


This is a poster I recently completed for the "We Are Scientists" show, coming to the Grog Shop January 17th. Go here to buy some tickets. ONLY 8 BONES!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

BEST ALBUMS of 2005

Because everyone else does it and I am not original with content, here is the TestPilot's List of the Best Albums of 2005. I totally agree with #'s 1 and 2 but after that, it gets really muddy as far as who tops who. In all honesty, the amount of time I was spending on this led me to post this before I debated anymore over it or copied and pasted more code. Here it is:


#1 Bloc Party - Silent Alarm This band more, than any other, kicked my arse this year and I gobbled up everything they put out - CD's, singles, remixes. EVERYTHING. And for the first time in my life with ANY band....I became a member of the FAN CLUB! The first song on the Silent Alarm album, "Like Eating Glass", kicks you hard in the crotch, especially Matt Tong on drums.mp3 - Like Eating Glass EXPIRED


#2 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois This guy totally came out of left field and took the TestPilot by storm. After first hearing "Chicago" and the many layers and directions it went, I downloaded the full album and a week later bought it. For the TP, that is unusual. Props to him for being different, not caring that he is and getting every head in the indie crowd his way. Here's hoping he makes the "oHIo!" album before to long. mp3 - Come On! Feel the Illinoise! EXPIRED


#3 Kanye West - Late Registration I am admittedly more of a indie fan than most other formats but I do wander back to the hip-hop, rap and rock and roll every now and then. When this album leaked, I really didn't care for any of the songs on it. After downloading and listening to the album as a whole, I am hooked and find myself going back again and again. mp3 - Crack Music EXPIRED


#4 Coldplay - X&Y A few years ago, before the Coldplay on-slaught began, I was a über-fan, seeing them 3 times in the Ohio/Pennsylvania area. That for me was enough to sit back and take some time off. After gearing up for a big release, I can say that I am pleased with what they put out. Not a big fan at first but definitely a grower, these guys knocked another solid album out that will continue the hype. The track "Kingdom Come", a Johnny Cash cover, as well as the other solid ballads on this record will make you weak in the knees, guaranteed. mp3 - Kingdom Come EXPIRED


#5 Doves - Some Cities Close on the heels of their Euro bros. Coldplay, I am loving the Doves. Another band I have been a huge fan of and followed for years, this album was a total let down for me when it came out in March. After a few spins, I shelved it and swore it off. Around June I found myself singing songs from it in my head and I had to hear it again. For whatever reason, the time that it aged on the shelf did it good by me and brought it back up to the top of my list. Seeing them in September in such a small venue was a treat too. The song "Snowden" is perhaps the most beautiful heard all year. mp3 - Snowden EXPIRED


#6 Decemberists - Picaresque The Decemberists are an odd group for me to listen to and talk about - and that is probably why I like them so much. Unlike anything else out there that I know of now, the old-time sound and storytelling they produce will woo you into submission. I rate these guys slightly higher than the last 4 behind them mostly for originality and a good full album. mp3 - The Bagman's Gambit EXPIRED


#7 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah One of the best bands that I found through all the blog hype, these guys are solid. While I don't normally go for bands whose lead singers warble like this, again, I was hooked. Good sound and good album. mp3 - The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth EXPIRED


#8 Jimmy Eat World - Futures Yeah, I said it. Jimmy Eat World. While I believe this CD came out at the end of 2004, it did not infiltrate my life until early 2005 and it had me saying 'Best Album of the Year' back in February! As you can see, that statement didn't hold out til the end of this year - there were just too many other solid showings. Nonetheless, this is the first J.E.W. album I bought and it is solid from beginning to end, especially if you are a sucker for ballads and power pop. mp3 - 23 EXPIRED


#9 Stars - Set Yourself on Fire I don't even remember where I heard about this Canadian but most likely from my usual blogs. After checking out a few songs that were unbelieavably catchy, I went for the whole album and came out quite impressed...so impressed that their lyric "Live through this and you won't look back" might even find itself onto my body as a tatoo one of these days! mp3 - Your Ex-Lover is Dead EXPIRED


#10 Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers Man, oh, man I would love to rate these guys higher. First hearing their demos in April or so, I was sold and scoured all the blogs and P2P services looking for some tracks, only to repeat them on iTunes straight into the ground. Later this summer, they released their full album and to me, it was a completely different sound and lost a lot of what the quiet, simple demos held. They did add a awesome track with "I See You, You See Me", but that still wasn't enough to hold them out for the gold. Here is one of the demos that hooked me, "Hymn for Her". mp3 - Hymn for Her EXPIRED

Falling just outside the Top 10: Deatch Cab for Cutie - Plans. I should probably have them on my list, but I don't know why I can't. Maybe it just needs more time to grow on me. Other notables who had good tracks but I couldn't stick with the whole album: Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary, Animal Collective - Feels, M.I.A. - Arular.

Bands I should have listened to more of in '05 but will probably like a lot come '06: Tapes N' Tapes - the Loon, Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

VICE RECORDS HAS A BLOG


And why should you be interested? Because every 2 weeks, they will post a rare or unreleased mp3 by one of the many bands on their roster, such as Bloc Party, the Stills, the Streets and Death From Above 1979. Granted, it will take you a year to build up a decent collection to make a CD, but it is worth keeping an eye out for some rare tracks. First up is MSTRKRFT's remix of the newest single from Bloc Party, 'Two More Years'.

Also, Bloc Party's DVD entitled "God Bless Bloc Party", containing a documentary filmed around the band's second US tour and live performance footage from LA and France, will be available January 17th. Check out the trailer here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

MELLOWDRONE


That name is really cool. I want to say it like I am talking through a echo chamber....MELLLOOOOOWWWWWDRRROONNNNEEE! IN THIS CORNAHHH! Anyways.....
THE BAND: Mellowdrone starts with lead singer Jonathan Bates, born in Venezuela, through Miami and then transported to the Berklee School of Music. A year before graduating, Bates up and left NYC for LA to form Mellowdrone. Inspired greatly by Mark Linkous, a solo artist who recorded intricately-layered music under the Sparklehorse moniker, led him to become a recording artist and planted some seeds for his sound. After recording his first EP solo on his computer, he earned a reputation as an electrifying performer for his one-man shows, which included him looping different instruments and building songs live on stage. To that end, Bates says he enjoys never playing a song the same way twice and that on his upcoming tour, he'll "be like a kid in the candy store because I’ll get a chance to reinvent the songs every night.”

THE SOUND: Mellowdrone sounds a lot like a harder version of the Brit band, Travis. I am sure you are stupefied at this point, thinking of the only song Travis ever got air-time for, the lighthearted and too soft "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" I would agree with you. That song is as soft as a marshmallow getting melted by the warming hearts of two kids in love. If you know anything beyond that about Travis, think of the early stuff like "Blue Flashing Light" and "Good Day to Die". Mellow guitars, a simple melody and then....KABOOM - rock. Lead singer Jonathan Bates favorite song off the new album Box is "Fashionably Uninvited" (see below for link) to which the singer says was "inspired by Angelo Badalamenti, the composer of the strangely beautiful Twin Peaks soundtrack."

Go to the bands website and download the free track, Fashionable Uninvited for a good idea of their sound. That is all I can find for now but the album comes out at the end of January 2006 so keep your eyes peeled.

Monday, December 12, 2005

New SONY Bravia spot


Test Pilot Fletcher brought this ULTRA SWEET new SONY spot to our attention. To introduce their new LCD television, Bravia, with the tagline 'Colour like no other', they dropped 250,000 SUPER BALLS DOWN SOME SAN FRANCISCO STREETS! You have to see to believe children.
SONY Bravia commercial

Sunday, December 11, 2005

COCOROSIE


THE BAND: CocoRosie is the Casady sisters, Sierra Rose and Bianca Leilani, born in Iowa and Hawaii, respectively. While raised seperately, they both had very astounding upbringings and you get an idea for their musical journey as well. (See their labels home page, Touch and Go/Quarterstick Records for more WILD backstories.) Reuniting again in 2003, they became CocoRosie and created first, a hip-hop album and then their 2nd album just days later. Soon after, CocoRosie began their travels with a of myriad acts, including Bright Eyes, TV on the Radio, Antony and the Johnsons, Devendra Banhart, and Blonde Redhead. Their sound fits well between a lot of those acts. Throughout these travels whenever they had some downtime, they worked on their latest album Noah's Ark. Whenever they had a moment to record - a barn in France, their home in Brooklyn, a Parisian studio, in a grungy hotel room after a show - they did. The songs were formed in a variety of ways using prehistoric recording methods to more modern techniques as well as borrowing friends, family and loved ones vocals. A mother's chant, a nephew's cry and Antony’s angelic falsetto floating across “Beautiful Boyz.”

THE SOUND: My first experience with CocoRosie was the song 'Noah's Ark'. The gorgeous song, a mix of samples and vocals, sounded like something from a Moby session. I thought CR was someone mixing vocals and beats. Then I learn about the sister connection and the upbringings and it starts to make sense. Some wide cross between a black, southern and soul woman like Etta James combined with Cat Power, Antony & the Johnsons and Bjork all tossed in a blender - not stuff I enjoy a lot of but it somehow creates odd yet romantic new sounds. Start with 'Noah's Ark', and move further in from there if you like.

mp3 - Noah's Ark EXPIRED
mp3 - South 2nd EXPIRED
mp3 - Honey or Tar EXPIRED

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

the TEST PILOT HOLIDAY MIX 2005



Just in time for all of your nightmare shopping trips, difficult present wrapping, and burnt holiday baking!

After seeing other great Christmas compilations set up by bloggers (gorillavsbear) and (m3/goodweatherforairstrikes) , I had to come up with my own! I tried to come up with a healthy mix of old and new but after seeing the tracklist climb, I figured you already had the old stuff so this is the NEW STUFF. Borrowing some choice tracks from the previous said blogs and with some spirited selections of my own, download a few or take 'em all - SANTA LOVES NEW MUSIC! The M3 boys even spurred me onto creating original artwork!

Angels We Have Heard On High - Sufjan Stevens EXPIRED
Winter Wonderland - Phantom Planet EXPIRED
Yule Shoot Your Eye Out - Fall Out Boy EXPIRED
Jingle Bells - Barenaked Ladies EXPIRED
Last Christmas - Jimmy Eat World EXPIRED
All I Want For Christmas Is You - My Chemical Romance EXPIRED
Christmas (Baby. Please Come Home) - Death Cab for Cutie EXPIRED
Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance! - Sufjan Stevens EXPIRED
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Jack Johnson EXPIRED
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Coldplay EXPIRED
The Christmas Song - the Raveonettes EXPIRED
Christmastime - Smashing Pumpkins EXPIRED
When I Get Home For Christmas - Snow Patrol EXPIRED
Christmas Party - the Walkmen EXPIRED
Jinglebell Rock - the Arcade Fire EXPIRED
That Was the Worst Christmas Ever! - Sufjan Stevens EXPIRED
Happy Christmas (War Is Over) - John Ondrasik EXPIRED
The New Year - Death Cab for Cutie EXPIRED

ADDENDUM: Thanks to everyone for stopping by and checking out the music. I will be taking it down in the next few days to make room for more posts and a year end wrap up. ALSO, thanks to Jay Cox of the band The Sea Navy for emailing me an additional Christmas track, The Truth About Christmas. It is quick, rockin' song about the truth of Christmas - THAT WE GET A LOT OF STUFF! Check it out.

INTERPOL poster


This is a poster I dragged my feet on but recently finished for the Interpol show that was in Cleveland in September.

X-MEN 3 TRAILER


New X-Men trailer, here featuring both Beast and Angel! Looks decent and has a SLEW of mutants instead of just a select few. Juggernaut is in this movie as well and I believe Colossus as well.

Official site here.

HOLLA!

SO MUCH SILENCE


Holy Gazookas! Head over to the great blog, So Much Silence, for TONS OF LIVE STUFF! I have not had a very good opportunity yet to check out the Iron & Wine/Calexico CD, so this will be a good starter.
CURRENT SHOWS AVAILABLE:
Arcade Fire, live at First Avenue, 9/29/2005 - Minnesota Public Radio broadcast via the Current
Iron and Wine/Calexico, live at the Triple Door - KEXP broadcast
Iron and Wine/Calexico, live at the 9:30 Club - NPR broadcast
Iron and Wine, live at the 9:30 Club - NPR broadcast
Calexico, live at the 9:30 Club - NPR broadcast
and on and on.....

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Q-UNIT


A quick word on mash-ups. They started out as a joke (in my opinion), mixing artists like Christina Aguliera (Genie in a Bottle) and the Strokes (Hard to Explain) creating 'A Stroke of Genius'. They continued for awhile with little to show until Danger Mouse rose from obscurity with his legitimate piece of work, the Grey Album, combining Jay-Z vocals from the Black Album and mixes of background Beatles beats from the White Album. That stuff was certifiable GOLD, JERRY! From there, the MTV suits tried to capatilze on the mash-up set with Linkin Park and Jay-Z going head-to-head on a live CD with mixed results.

Well, I think (hope) this is the last nail in the coffin. While I wish I could recommend this mash-up of 50 Cent vocals and Queen back beats, this comes off as awful and what I can only imagine was a joke for someone or a homework assignment for DJ school. I pride myself on knowing enough of both bands to appreciate their sounds but where the Grey Album paired solid beats to well-fit vocals, this is just words over a mix that is not well done. Check out this Q-Unit page to download a few samples to test and if you love the whole thing, you can download all tracks along with ALBUM ART! HOLY GAZOOKAS! Best of luck-

Friday, December 02, 2005

PAUL DUNCAN


THE BAND/THE SOUND: This singer/songwriter beautifully combines traditional folk (acoustic arrangements) and avant-pop (studio sounds and efx) to produce some really moving, sit back and think songs. With the quiet way that Iron & Wine and Nick Drake flow through their songs, Paul's subdued vocals and melodies glide over minimal instrumentals with a range of chimes, banjos, and electronic effects. ( excerpts from SPIN magazine)

Check out his label's site, Hometapes media page and get a slew of Paul's downloads as well as other artists. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND 'Letdownville'.

BUY his latest, Be Careful What You Call Home

ADDENDUM: Thanks to Adam Heathcott of Hometapes for droppig a thank you for our post on Paul Duncan. We are happy to support him and his great work!
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