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|Genres||Dance-punk, post-hardcore, indie rock|
Outer Limits Recordings
Test Icicles were a short-lived dance-punk band that formed in England, primarily influenced by indie rock but containing musical elements from a variety of genres (notably hip hop, crossover thrash and punk). The band was formed in 2004 by Rory Attwell and Sam Mehran, who were later joined by Devonte Hynes. Hynes and Mehran were both 18 years old at the time of the band's inception. The group has since become notable due to the later success of its members.
Prior to forming the band, Atwell, Hynes and Mehran (all of whom shared vocal and guitar duties) had met each other through mutual friends. The trio's preference for the same nightspots (such as the Afterskool night club, in London) also led to frequent meet-ups. Initially the band formed under the moniker Balls with Ferry Gouw, who shortly after went on to form Semifinalists, effectively in the role Hynes eventually filled. Gouw left the band for an extended trip to Indonesia, at which time Attwell and Mehran recruited Hynes and changed the band name to Test Icicles, the new band name also being a suggestion from Gouw.
All three members of the group were involved in numerous, short-lived musical projects before the forming of Test Icicles; some of these taking shape only as songs posted on various Myspace music profiles (such as Mehran's DANGEROUSDUDE output). Hynes and Mehran continued this trend throughout the existence of Test Icicles with the NLS Crew, a collective founded by the pair and whose most prominent output was a remix of Death from Above 1979's "Black History Month" single (which is available on DFA 1979's Romance Bloody Romance).
According to the NME, Domino Recording Company signed Test Icicles near sight-unseen. This probably explains the label's surprise and suggested re-working of initial album material completed by the band. In 2005 the group went to France with Simian Mobile Disco producer James Ford to record their debut album For Screening Purposes Only. Following the release of the album in October 2005, the band toured the United States with Art Brut before returning to Europe for additional performances.
In February 2006, the band announced they were splitting up. In an interview with NME in March 2006, Hynes claimed that "We were never, ever that keen on the music. I understand that people liked it, but we personally, er, didn't." However, in a later interview with Churwell blog Dev explained "The only reason I said that was to shut up the person I was talking to" he laughs. "People haven’t noticed that I meant the complete opposite. Everyone over-analysed us. Even when we said we weren’t gonna do it any more, people kept trying to analyse why. It became quickly apparent to me that talking to this man about his ‘calling’ was entirely misplaced."
On 26 April 2006 the band released Dig Your Own Grave, an EP meant as a farewell from the band. It featured a CD with remixes and unreleased tracks, and a DVD with the band's music videos and footage from the band's performance at the LSE in November 2005. It was first sold at the band's five final shows before becoming available in record stores a week later.
After the band split, the individual members continued to stay active, becoming involved in a number of side projects between them.
Hynes went on to record under the name Lightspeed Champion (also signed to Domino Records) releasing a successful album entitled Falling Off the Lavender Bridge in 2008, and second album Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You in 2010, before placing the project on hiatus. He has since gone on to become a highly successful producer, working with artists such as Solange Knowles, Mutya Keisha Siobhan and Sky Ferreira. He now records solo material under the moniker Blood Orange, releasing three albums to critical acclaim.
Attwell formed RAT:ATT:AGG (later known as 'Wrists'), who had a small number of releases and remixed for bands such as Fake Shark - Real Zombie! and The Kills. The band announced their official split on 30 November 2007 and offered fans free downloads of their songs. Attwell briefly went on to play drums and guitar in KASMs, leaving in April 2010. He now also works as a record producer under the alias Brattwell Recordings, recording such artists as The Vaccines, Palma Violets, Male Bonding and Let's Wrestle. Attwell currently has a solo project under the name Warm Brains, releasing the album Old Volcanoes in 2011.
Mehran was believed to have moved back to America after the split and claimed to have been spotted working in a record store in New York. It was also believed he cut ties with his former bandmates. Mehran then worked in several projects under the alias Sam Meringue. Some include - Matrix Metals, Yoga, Explorers, Blues Runner, Wingdings, Foxy Baby, Outer Limits Recordings & The Sweethearts. On the 31 August 2013, Dev and Sam reunited to play a DJ set at New York’s Glasslands. This was after a set by the punk band Friends.
In July 2018, Mehran was found dead in his Hollywood home due to suicide, just after completing work on a planned solo album. Hynes paid tribute to him on Instagram, saying, “Every time I was with you we were 17 again. You were such a gift to this world. The floor has gone and I don’t know where to stand. RIP.”
- Rory Attwell (aka Raary Deci-hells, Raary Rambert RAT ATT AGG, Rory Brattwell) English (born in London, England) — guitar and vocals
- Sam Mehran (aka Sam E Danger, Sam E Slaughter) American (born in Miami, moved to Adelaide, Australia, then to New York City before moving to England) — vocals and guitar (died July 2018)
- Devonte Hynes (aka Dev Metal, !Ved) English (born in London, England) — guitar, keyboards and vocals
- Adam Bainbridge (aka DJ Jitset) English (Born in Peterborough, England) — DJ
- Rory Attwell (Guitars - Wilson Bros. Venture VM-75, Fender '72 Deluxe Telecaster)
- Devonte Hynes (Guitars - Squier HH Showmaster (hot pink), Aria II Pro ZZ Deluxe, and in earlier shows, he used a Telecaster copy).
- Sam Mehran (Guitars - Les Paul Deluxe copy, Peavey Raptor)
Effects - It is hard to see which effects they used, but one picture shows an Electro Harmonix WORM modulation pedal, which is probably responsible for the ring modulation effect in the song "Boa vs. Python". In an interview they claimed to use the same effects as nu-metal group KoЯn.
- For Screening Purposes Only (31 October 2005) #69 UK
Singles and EPs
|2005||"Boa vs. Python"||46||5||For Screening Purposes Only|
|"Circle. Square. Triangle"||25||3|
|2006||"What's Your Damage"||31||9|
|"Boa vs. Python (Grime Remixes)"||-||-||Boa vs. Python (Grime Remixes)|
|"Totally Re-Fucked"||133||-||Totally Re-Fucked|
|"Dig Your Own Grave"||-||-||Dig Your Own Grave|
- "4 Track Demo" (July 2004)
- "Test Icicles split - NME". Nme.com. 22 February 2006. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- "Flickr". Flickr. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Monroe, Jazz. "Sam Mehran (Test Icicles, Outer Limits Recordings) Dead at 31". Pitchfork. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
- Farewell gig review on Sound Generator
- Coverage in NME
- "Band of the Day: Test Icicles", Spin, 2 November 2005
- Interview on XFM