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Three Mile Pilot

Throughout their decade-long career, San Diego's Three Mile Pilot have repeatedly thrown traditional song structures out the window with the dirty dish water, choosing instead to experiment with unconventional instrument mixes, sudden key changes, and unpredictable improvisation. Their sound is at once progressive, experimental, and emotional, possessing a kind of minimalist grandeur that can achieve unexpected beauty and discomfort, sometimes in the space of a single song. The band's focal point is usually the deep, dark, dense bass work of ABS#4 (aka Zach), orbited by Tobias Nathaniel's moody pianos and organs, Pall Jenkins's nervous guitars, and Tom Zinser's eclectic percussion. Three Mile Pilot had a short (and unpleasant) stint with Geffen in the mid-'90s, but that relationship with big business didn't mesh especially well with the band's spiritual and experimental side, so they returned to a pair of supportive San Diego independent labels, Cargo/Headhunter, which had released numerous Three Mile Pilot records in the past, and Gravity. Old fans rejoiced at the band's grassroots return, while new fans embraced the gloom and melancholy of their thick textures and winding compositions. The tracks "Worry" and "On A Ship to Bangladesh" come from their eponymous 1997 Gravity EP. Three Mile Pilot shares songwriters with another legendary San Diego band, Black Heart Procession, so future releases are always in question, but the band's loyal fans wait patiently for the challenges and pleasures of upcoming albums.