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"We're Fond of Helicopters"

Usually, in a band's biography, you’re given a list of what other groups they sound like. The description of Chicago’s helicopters reads: ‘too rock to be The Postal Service, too pop to be Beck, too modern to be 80’s, too happy to be Radiohead.’ And they couldn’t be more right. Helicopters have created a sound that’s uniquely their own and it’s utterly terrific. ...Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the album. You won’t be sorry. - Jewelboxing.com

"Local Anesthetic Showcase, August 2005"

(helicopters) is issuing a new disc called How to Fake Fall Asleep. Now besides being a contender for Album Title of the Year, the Chicago trio will be playing a show next Thursday night at Martyrs’. It will be interesting to hear how they’ll be able to duplicate the recorded sounds live. ...there’s a lot going on here...and I like that and hope you will too. ...It’s good pop music. If you dig (“Play Outside”), you’ll dig the whole disc. - Richard Milne, WXRT (93.1FM Chicago)

"You say you want an evolution?"

This trio’s path to their current Electro-fused, hookier-than-crack Pop sound began in 1997, when Jason Caldeira and David Moran were doing their acoustic thang at coffeehouses and clubs. They added a bassist and a rotating cast of drummers and did the Guitar Rock thing for a while before scrapping that model and drenching their hyper-melodic tunes with keyboard and synth quirks and programmed beats (don’t worry, there’s still plenty of cool guitar parts in the mix too). The trio released its debut, "How to Fake Fall Asleep", in 2005. Dig It: The Postal Service, Hot Chip, Thom Yorke’s solo album on Prozac. - CityBeat, Cincinnati

"Preparing to Land: Chicago trio Helicopters takes off with an overpowering pop sound"

After years in the traditional, four-piece rock band system, Dave Moran was hungry for something more--and less.

Then came his three-piece group Helicopters.

“We’re a unique hybrid of a rock-pop band,” Moran said. “I mean, we’re still electric guitar-driven and vocal harmony-driven ..., but most of the beats behind it tend to be a little more electronic and dance beats.”

That different sound sets Helicopters apart in what Moran says is a very crowded field.

“People who hear us for the first time say how different we are from what they’re used to seeing,” he said. “People are usually surprised by how much is coming off stage in terms of sound from just three people. We’re all kind of playing the multi-instrumentalist role on stage, which I think kind of helps us stand out from a lot of what’s going on in Chicago.”

While the live act may hook audiences, Moran finds the writing process most rewarding--especially with today’s do-it-yourself recording business.

“It’s just fantastic to be able to come and record in a vacuum and do it on your own, and do it on your own time. The three of us can come up with what we want ... rehashing it and throwing it up and destroying and starting over again without racking up crazy studio money,” Moran said. “The writing process is what’s most enjoyable.”

- Michael Schmitt - RedEye (Chicago)

"Benefit Music Project Brings Indie Sounds to Disability Rights Movement"

(CHICAGO) What do Helen Keller, Thrill Jockey Records’ Bettina Richards, and 17 indie bands have in common? They are all in the liner notes of a new benefit CD coming out (July ’06) to support disability rights in Illinois. Organized by Equip for Equality (EFE), a nonprofit advocacy organization whose mission is to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities, the JUSTICE MUSIC PROJECT (JMP) is a fresh, hip hour-long convergence of independent music submitted by local, national and international performers.

While benefit CDs come and go, few surpass the breadth and quality of the musicians on JMP. There’s the soulful folk of Chicago’s inimitable Rachel Ries, the retro chamber rock of Ash in Pensacola, the emo-ethnic rhythms of Colombian Hector Buitrago, the bullet-bound Helicopters (in the top 100 of UIC Radio’s Hectic But Eclectic rankings) and, to wind up the disc, a pizzicato aperitif of fiddling lawyers from the Chicago Bar Association’s Symphony Orchestra. ... - Justice Music Project, Equip for Equality

"Two Chicago bands make Lollapalooza lineup"

Chicago bands already are crashing the big Lollapalooza music festival this weekend. Two of them won the festival's national Last Band Standing contest, staged Wednesday night at the Double Door. The top spot–chosen by Lollapalooza creator Perry Farrell and a panel of judges from the Recording Academy–went to the band Shock Stars, and the runner-up–an audience-voted prize–went to Helicopters.

The prizes for each band: slots at Lollapalooza. The winning Shock Stars are on at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on the MySpace stage, and Helicopters will perform at 11:15 a.m. today on the Citibank stage.

The bands competed against three other finalists: Aranda from Oklahoma City, Glint from Nyack, N.Y., and Sirsy from Albany, N.Y. The five were chosen via an online competition.

Shock Stars are a lively rock-pop trio that just emerged on the local scene earlier this year.

Helicopters are an electro-pop trio that's been performing in and around the Chicago area since 2005. Their debut disc, "How to Fake Fall Asleep," was critically acclaimed, and their follow-up EP, "Walking to be Looked At," was released in January.

-Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun Times - Chicago Sun Times

"Get to the chopper!"

"Radiohead. Of course, everyone says Radiohead," Jason Caldeira jokes, trying to explain the not-quite-this, not-quite-that sound of his band, Helicopters. Despite the ambiguity, or perhaps because of it, the local trio has been voted one of five bands to compete in the final round of Lollapalooza's Last Band Standing. Not only did the band members manage to get almost 22,000 votes from people around the country, they were also hand-picked in round two by Perry Farrell from a list of a hundred competitors. "That was the biggest moment in the contest for us," says Caldeira, "The voting—I'm not sure it's the best indicator. But, wow, [Farrell] actually listened to our music and heard merit." The band will have a chance to perform live for Farrell at the Double Door this August 1st, where the Jane's Addiction frontman will be one of a panel of judges choosing a winner to play at the fest. "We always talk about different things that happen to a band as band milestones," Caldeira says. "What's bigger than your first time playing in front of a celebrity that actually has the pull to get you in the biggest music festival in the world?" - Newcity Chicago

"Lollapalooza '07: Friday reviews"

Chicago's Helicopters never mentioned that they scored the festival's first slot because they were finalists in Lolla's battle-of-the-bands contest, dubbed "Last Band Standing." Fortunately, the guitars-keyboard-drum machine trio sounded polished enough to rise above being labeled as wannabes, with the group seemingly playing from the mid-point of Ben Gibbard's brain—planted firmly between Death Cab for Cutie and Postal Service. Though they started with a single-digit audience, Helicopters gradually drew a crowd, and not just because there wasn't much else going on.

- Matt Pais, Chicago Tribune / Metromix.com - Chicago Tribune / Metromix.com

"Lollapalooza 2007 Recap"

There was plenty of time to kill before Illinois showed up, so I caught Helicopters on the same stage, who were by now in the middle of their set. They were at Lolla as part of the Last Band Standing contest. Direct from Chicago, this three-piece wowed me enough to stick around for the rest of their set. Helicopters play great, original modern rock with all the right hooks and melodies and are not one of those pathetic “let’s sing about how badly we all feel” bands that the kids seem to dig so much these days.

In fact, I enjoyed Helicopters so much that on our second day at Lolla I went into the FYE merch tent and scored their CD which was being sold at the excitingly reasonable price of $9.17. It was nice to see that the indie groups weren’t being outrageously priced as FYE is wont to do with everything else (and basically were with the larger acts). Sure enough, the self-titled disc had the songs on it I enjoyed live, including the wonderful “Goodbye Little New York.” If you happen to be in Chicago, do seek these guys out, as they are terrific. - Bullz-eye.com


- "Sizing Up the Distance" (Full-length, June 2008)

- "Headlights" (Single, October 2007)

- "Walking to be Looked At" (EP, January 2007)

- "How to Fake Fall Asleep" (Debut Full-length release, April 2005)



With a performance at the 2007 Lollapalooza festival, the release of an EP, appearances on numerous compilations, and live performances with bands such as Athlete, Lymbyc Systym and Au Revoir Simone all tucked safely behind them, Helicopters closed the door on the final chapter of their debut album and quickly got to work on their next major endeavor, "Sizing Up the Distance".

Many bands make an intentional effort to move away from a sound or direction of a previous project; a cathartic expunging of the past. “Our first album was very much an attempt to explore a genre that was new to us… we wanted electronic elements to clearly define the framework and feel of each song. We even replaced our drummer with a laptop”, says principal guitarist, Jason Caldeira. “But 'Sizing Up the Distance' was much more about building upon what we’d already defined with the first album… we all wanted to continue using electronic elements, but more for color and texture than foundation.”

Despite being a clear departure from the dominating loops and electronics of "How to Fake Fall Asleep", "Sizing Up the Distance" is a highly logical evolutionary leap for the band. The electronic pop fare has been replaced with fuller, more sophisticated arrangements. “Production for this album is lush yet defined. We wanted to create an atmosphere in which you are first aware of the size and mood of the song.” says multi-instrumentalist and producer, Brian Fifield. “It’s only after multiple listens that you’ll begin to hear the subtle nuances.”

"Sizing Up the Distance" is Helicopters at their most articulate, cohesive, and cinematic. “Having three principal songwriters can present some challenges. This time around we did a much better job of letting each other breathe during the writing and recording process.” says singer/guitarist, Dave Moran. “Each of us would bring bare-bones song structures to the table, and then relinquish control to the other two. In the end, I think it makes for a much more balanced set of songs.” It’s in this breathing room that the influences of Air, Duran Duran, and Death Cab For Cutie can faintly be heard. From the soundscape ambience of songs like “Iran”, to the pure dance floor grit of “Still Silhouettes”, to the somewhat darker new wave influence in “White Lily No Soul”, a defining thread is exposed: a unifying theme of physical and emotional proximity between people searching for common ground.