Pilot Cloud
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Pilot Cloud

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Pilot Cloud @ The North Star Bar

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Pilot Cloud @ Velvet Lounge

Washington DC, District of Columbia, USA

Washington DC, District of Columbia, USA

Pilot Cloud @ Bushwick Music Studios

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



This is music for big empty spaces demanding to be filled. At this duos transcendent best Wembley Stadium would crack under the pressure. Pompeii would be a better bet but then again one quick glance through the track listing reveals that their ambition is far more celestial; Red Sky at Night, Star Redoubt, Satellite and Ex Astris Scientia (the Starfleet Academy’s motto in Star Trek in case you didn’t already know) to name but four, all of which promise a cosmic rollercoaster ride to the outer reaches. Thankfully for some there are no Hawkwind-style wig outs and Gong-esque whimsy, instead Explosions In The Sky are given a lesson in cranking up the wattage and making the guitars sound downright dirty, née evil. Yes, Pilot Cloud are waving at their peers from a long way above ground with this effort. Opener ‘Leaf’ does little to hint at the majesty to follow however, sounding like Tortoise in search of the Joshua Tree; bass groaning and drums skittering merrily, creating a steady groundswell intermittently giving way to a controlled explosion accompanied by jubilant guitar and voice. So far so very post rock, but from thereon in it’s onward & upward.

Yes, like their peers they do have a formula that is stuck to throughout but then again why not when frankly in their case it works so well. Muddied vocals, utilising the harmonised twin-tracked vocal style of Ride, blend to maximum emotional effect with guitars that quietly go about their gentle doodling, only to sporadically cut free of their moorings to add washes of violent and vibrant colour, then others of a subtler hue. The magnificent ‘Map’ is the pick of an impressive bunch, lulling you to sleep then a quick slap around the face and you’re bouncing off the walls wandering where the hell you are and how exactly you came to be listening to a less windswept Amusement Parks on Fire turning Guitar Gods and kicking their sound into a louder, brighter future. What’s more, you can download the whole album for free! Pilot Cloud: first band on the sun.

-Richard Stokoe - www.losingtoday.com

Pilot Cloud is a duo from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Forgoing the typical four-piece band set-up, Nick Biscardi and Justin Lerner are doing it all themselves. On top of that, they are giving away the songs of their first album, In Transition (the lovely cover art is seen above). This is one give-away you cannot miss. I am a little late in finding out about this, as In Transition was completed in 2008, but thanks to some snooping around MySpace and following leads, I did find it, and I am in love with In Transition.
With their musical beginnings sown in the form of the band Hans The Double, Justin and Nick paired off after that band split up in early 2008. What is important here, is that they felt the need to create their own original and exciting music, and now they are sharing it with us.
I asked the band a few questions, to get to know them a bit better:

So you are doing it! Making and producing and distributing your own music. I read that you guys did not actually plan this out, but rather it just came together, song after song till you had enough for In Transition to be a full album. I have brought your music to quite a few peoples’ attention, people from all over the world, and they all absolutely love it. Do you feel now, like you are gaining a bit of a fan base, a year after In Transition’s release?
When we had the album finished and ready to distribute, our only real M.O. was to submit to as many blogs as possible and see if anyone would run something on us. Things started to pop up here and there after that. A bunch of places just listed us as a band to check out, didn’t really say anything about us. As more people listened, the features started getting bigger.
With the internet, we’ve been able to pop up anywhere and everywhere. An Italian blog wrote a real nice review of the record. People on Last.fm started tuning in from places like Norway, Estonia, and all over the world.
Regarding an actual fan base, it’s been easier to connect to people playing shows. When we play, we have everything in front of us to let people get to know us. However, it’s been great to use the internet as a way to get a foot in the door. We just played in Columbus, OH where we’d only talked to one of the accompanying acts via email before the show, but by the end of the night we’d made at least ten new friends.
Have you guys always lived in Philly? How is the music scene of your hometown? Would you say there is a ‘scene’ there that Pilot Cloud fits into?
We’ve been scattered throughout the tri-state area. I, Nick, have spent my whole life living in different suburbs of Philadelphia and now live in Bryn Mawr, PA. Justin grew up in New Brunswick, NJ, went to school in Delaware, and now lives in Philadelphia.
There’s not a tight-knit scene that Pilot Cloud is in with, but there’s definitely some interesting psychedelic, ambient, and shoegaze bands in and around the area like Arc in Round,Cloud Minder, Streaks of Light, and Ports of Call. If there’s any organization amongst bands, we certainly haven’t been privy to it. We spent most of 2008 immersed in basements writing “In Transition”, so we’ve adapted to the hermit lifestyle, but we would definitely love to be able to be a part of a handful of bands that have themselves together to essentially create a scene of our own.
What kind of guitars/amps/other instruments do you guys use? What is the key to bringing an expansive sound such a Pilot Cloud’s to the stage with just 2 people?
We wouldn’t really say there’s much of a trick to us having such a big sound. Justin plays an Epiphone Les Paul guitar through a Vox AC15 amp. I play Gretsch drums and Zildjian cymbals. Nothing major there. The real key is that we play alongside the bass tracks and supplementary guitar layers onstage. We’re not playing more, it just sounds like we are. The guitar layers are likely what do the trick.
Have you always been involved in music? What are your inspirations?
We’ve each been playing our respective instruments since the late 90s. With the difference in age between us (Justin is 28, I am 21), it has taken up more of my life than Justin’s. I took up drums at age 9 after a failed stint at trumpet, while Justin took up guitar likely to impress girls when we went off to college.
Both of us stay motivated and inspired by the music we like. Pilot Cloud started out of wanting to make music we would want to hear. We knew why we liked the bands we did, and we thought we could put our own hat in the ring to stand alongside music we already listened to.
You are coming to New York City in October, where you most definitely fit into a scene! The shoegaze, psychedelic, and noise-rock scene is vibrant, and alive with young artists who are getting out there with their bands and making amazing music. Is this your first time in New York and are you excited? Do you follow any New York City bands, or are you friendly with anyone here?
We’ve played New York before in previous bands, and it’s definitely still exciting to come up to Brooklyn. We’re friends with Brooklyn-band The Party Faithful (Justin went to college with their bassist), and they actually helped us pin down this show in October. Through prior bands, we’ve come across some real cool acts like The Press, Gold Streets, and Moving Mountains (from Purchase, NY).
When you are done touring to support In Transition and have given away all your copies of it (I still think it’s worth a TON of money!), what is next for Pilot Cloud?
We surpassed a lot of our own expectations since we released “In Transition”. We toured behind it, made some cool new friends, got some kind reviews, and even had some money tossed our way. Unfortunately, the physical copies of the record are disappearing before we can order more pressings. We’ve gone through close to 300 free copies since last Christmas.
But all that being said, we have really missed the writing process over the last year, so we’re going to get keep working on a follow-up EP to “In Transition”. We’ve written one new song (which has been assimilated into the live set) called “Diaspora”. Beyond that, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Thanks to Nick for the interview! And thanks to Pilot Cloud (check their MySpace and listen to some tunes from In Transition) for the amazing music. Pilot Cloud's songs are songs that reveal more and more with each subsequent listen. Upon first listen, Leaf, Map, Sounds of an Era, and the title track all sound like the perfect mid-to-up-tempo shoegaze-style compositions, but keep listening. The real charms of the songs are to come, and that is the mark of some quality song-writing and talented arranging.

More to come in the very-near future about Pilot Cloud, after they come visit New York City for their gig with their friends The Party Faithful, next month!

-Terri - Dirty Sexy Karma

For Shoegazer Alive2, Pilot Cloud is the more modern american shoegazer band, because your incredible mix of shoegaze pop, post-rock and shoegazer classic. Great debut! - shoegazeralive2.blogspot.com

I like these guys because they understand how to market your music if you’re unknown- you give it away. - www.soundsuck.com

Picking up where Hans the Double left off, Philly's Pilot Cloud explore atmospheric sounds, complex structures and the awesome power of the distortion pedal. Bandmates Justin Lerner and Nick Biscardi, late of Hans, developed their old group from Hum-esque overdrive rock to smartly-constructed networks of sound. Their new project takes this concluding thought and retreats from the stage lights, allowing heady compositions to slowly gestate in a post-rock swell: think Tortoise or Mogwai. On moments like shuffling opener "Leaf," Lerner and Biscardi's vocals act as another instrument, working alongside plucked bass and upper-register guitar arpeggios to mount a forceful assault. With a defined verse and chorus, the rice cymbal sway on "Map" functions in a more traditional manner. If we're to assume that the titular transition refers to continued tinkering, Pilot Cloud would be advised to linger just a bit longer, delivering a tasty mix of convention and abstraction.

-John Vettese - www.citypaper.net

"Shoegazey indie rock bordering on post-rock...not so much like Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Ros, but much more a band like the Appleseed Cast...very huge full sound, very driving...the whole entire record just continually builds in intensity and instrumentation...a very cool flow...a well put-together album." - www.indiestreet.com

When they talk about creating their debut album, Justin Lerner and Nick Biscardi of Pilot Cloud sound coolly calculating. The opener, "Leaf," is the first song they wrote. It's followed by the steadily paced "Red Sky at Night," the second song they wrote. And so it goes across In Transition, an impressionistic post-rock tapestry the duo composed in order, start to finish, in the months following the dissolve of their old band, Hans the Double.

That might give the impression they had a plan at the start, but the process was as exploratory as the snare drum march and wandering bass notes that begin In Transition.

Chatting over a pitcher of Kenzinger at Kung Fu Necktie, Lerner and Biscardi tell me Pilot Cloud was conceived as a studio project. There was never any thought to how playing live would work. Or how many songs they wanted to write. Or, once song two was written, what song nine was going to sound like. They didn't even know for sure that there would be song nine. "We just went by ear and kept writing until it felt done," says Lerner.

What they did know is the influences they wanted to draw from — the turbulent, semi-instrumental Appleseed Cast; the compositionally epic Godspeed You Black Emperor; the icy, minimal Tortoise. They also knew how weary they were with compromising their interests in a pursuit that, frankly, had little direction.

I'll give their old band this: It was killer with distortion. Like Hum, it dressed catchy alt-emo throwbacks in bigmuff rumbles, later toying with unconventional structures and time signatures. Biscardi warmly describes Hans the Double as a fine first band, "a really good way to learn."

But it was made up of four complete strangers who met on Craigslist. And, much as musicians like to talk up their Craigslist success stories, I'll wager you'll find more scenarios akin to what Biscardi describes: "It was almost like work. 'Meet here at this time, be here for two hours, go home.'"

Lerner concurs that the comfort level wasn't there, and despite pounding the pavement locally and a shot at touring, it didn't work.

"The part that sticks out about why everything was wrong with everything was because Hans' last show, we played to my girlfriend," says Biscardi. "And that's it. The other bands waited outside."

Though it split in frustration in April of 2008, Hans nonetheless gave Lerner and Biscardi a chance to develop their chemistry. Having discovered shared sonic interests, the two went into seclusion to write. Instrumental lines were conceived, looped, layered and recorded in the Ewing, N.J., basement of Biscardi's cousin Bill Henderson. In Transition was finished and released late last year, and following an initially positive response, Pilot Cloud began to ponder taking their studio project to the stage.

"We started looking into other bands who have done it, like Helio Sequence," says Lerner. "Some bands have pulled it off quite nicely. So we just started practicing and seeing if what we wrote could be played live. Coming to the realization that we could do it was pretty exciting."

Pilot Cloud in performance is a sort of maximal minimalist thing. Their sound is huge, their personnel sparse. It's just the two guys — Biscardi behind the drums, Lerner on guitar — augmented by loop pedals and a laptop. Lerner howls into the microphone but, as on the album, the vocals seem to float, functioning as an instrument blending with the overall arrangement.

"I like integrating the singing," he says. "Burying it in the mix and make it part of the song and not something that you sing along to."

The songs build, blend together in complementary ways, swell to a peak and break off into trailing ambient space, allowing the spectator, as Biscardi describes it, "to recover from having just listened to four minutes of loud crashing crescendo."

That's the plan, anyway.

-John Vettese - www.citypaper.net

"Pilot Cloud - In Transition

This is not CC licensed, but you can download it for free from the band’s website. You can also purchase it on iTunes.

And it is awesome. The best shoegazer I heard all year. The title song reminds me of a long lost song by Chapterhouse, circa Whirlpool. The album is brimming with beautiful, shimmering guitars, great drum work, driving baselines, and drowned out vocals. However, Pilot Cloud also injects a healthy dose of prog-rock into the mix and they aren’t afraid to play a straightforward riff or lead/solo part when the moment strikes.

It’s the best of the old mix with the best of the new. If you even remotely like shoegazer and dream-pop, this album should be in your collection." - www.carlsagansghost.com

"Pilot Cloud: It's shoegaze/post-rock out of Philadelphia, PA.

Justin Lerner (guitar/vox) and Nick Biscardi (drums/synth) began in April 2008, working only to prove they could produce something worth listening to. Over that year, they recorded and released, "In Transition". The record is huge sounding; doused in delay, massive guitars and layers of lush vocals.

Download the record for FREE on the band's website." - Better Than The Van


"In Transition" LP (2008)
"Halcyon" EP (2010)



Pilot Cloud is a shoegaze/post-rock project based out of Philadelphia, PA.

Justin Lerner and Nick Biscardi formed Pilot Cloud in April 2008 solely as a means to create the music they wanted to hear. The effort yielded their debut album, "In Transition".

Once numerous blogs began to circulate the record, the pair adapted themselves for a live set, performing in their home city and embarking on a small tour to bring "In Transition" to as many listeners as possible. That mantra culminated in December 2009, when "In Transition" was re-released on the European netlabel, Acoustic Firework Records.

Pilot Cloud's latest release, "Halcyon", continues to exemplify the same spirit of independence while allowing for maturity and growth. It, along with "In Transition", is now available for FREE download on the band's website.