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An Old Town We Once Knew

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Album Review

After Pall A. Jenkins and Tobias Nathaniel left the dearly departed Three Mile Pilot for the similar dark beauty of Black Heart Procession, the band provided a eulogy called Songs From an Old Town We Once Knew. The double-CD set lovingly anthologizes B-sides, oddities, out of print 7" tracks, and unreleased rarities. It's all down here for posterity and remembrance. The musicians whose names are as weird and mysterious as their music, Armistead Burwell Smith IV, Pall A. Jenkins, Tom C. Zinser, Tobias Nathaniel, and Jim French, provide their characteristic bass-driven piano, organ, and saw sound in all its glory. Listen to the static of the control tower messages on "Nussun," the painful croon on "Sewn to Our Side," the ominous country twang of "In This Town I Awaken," or the screeching over the low organ hum on "Jadulastan Requiem" and ask yourself "Where did this band come from?!" The music is definitely from planet Earth, but the back roads and untraveled paths of the U.S. West, with its coyotes, shamen, and ceremonies. Three Mile Pilot claim San Diego origins, but you wonder if maybe they spent too many nights out in the Anza Borego desert and found the dark side or the lost city. Their songs are left like Anasazi roads — tributes to times past, indelible marks on our geography.

Customer Reviews

Best of All Worlds

This is a lot of great music by people who went on to be Black Hearts Procession and Pinback. Maybe some of it has to do with nostalgia, but I can’t shake the feeling that $9.99 for a 2-disc (dating myself, already?) album of this caliber is more than worth it, especially given all the supremely creative music that it contains. Yeah, it’s kind of got that 90s vibe, it’s kind of grungy and dark, but there is a lot of melodic ingenuity here that can’t be easily forgotten. If you like Pinback, check it out. If you like BHP, check it out. If you like Rob Crowe, The Meices, Hum, check it out. My favorite songs on the album (check them out): The House is Lost, Piano Plus, Piano Minus, In This Town I Awaken, Piano Titanic.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

San Diego's Three Mile Pilot are perhaps best known to the indie rock world at large for supplying key personnel to Touch & Go buzz band the Black Heart Procession. Still, they spent much of the '90s near the forefront of a surprisingly active local indie scene. Three Mile Pilot made their mark with distinctively moody, bass-centered arrangements (in fact, they started out with no guitar at all) and a prog rock aesthetic that often resulted in long, winding, multi-sectioned song structures. Their...
Full Bio
An Old Town We Once Knew, Three Mile Pilot
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Customer Ratings