A few times a week, Gothamist publishes music reviews by our contributor Jeff Baum. The opinions below belong entirely to the author.

TI.jpgThe Test Icicles are far from your usual Brit-hype product. They are notyour new favorite band, as Amy Philips at Pitchfork so brazenly declared a few weeks ago (see the last item). They aren't cute and cheeky and they don't play songs with instantly recognizable hooks or insightful lyrics. They're simply a hardcore band. While they are receiving the same type of "potential mainstream superstar" treatment by the press as bands like Bloc Party, The Kaiser Chiefs and, most recently, the Arctic Monkeys have gotten, they have no business in the same company as them. What we have here is a different animal altogether.

Last night I went down to Ludlow Street to see for myself what all the buzz is about. The Cake Shop is a really lousy place to see a show unless you get all the way to the front, but I was able to fight my way up right before their set. I was very glad I did. This band does not let up. While there was a curious mix of pre-recorded backing tracks and live instruments, (the iPod perched on the front left monitor provided, at the very least, all of the percussion...there was no drummer on stage) the band played their heart out. They screeched at the mic as if they were about to swallow it whole. Not one song went by where at least one of them didn't end up on the ground. Mic stands got kicked around like traffic cones in front of a frat house and sweat poured off each of the band members faces as if this was their last show on earth. It was a noisy mess of sound that devastated the 20 or so lucky fans that were actually close enough to see them perform. While they made a couple frustrated comments about the audience not seeming into it, I don't think it was any fault of their own. I imagine the crowd consisted mostly of the curious Pitchfork faithful who were stuck in the back and couldn't see the show anyway.

It was really a great set. If added to a hardcore bill for their next jaunt through the states, I could see these guys gaining quite a following. They've just been inadvertently marketed to the wrong crowd.

Check out a few songs, along with the video for their hit single "Circle Square Triangle" at their myspace page. They are opening for fellow British hypesters Art Brut at Northsix tomorrow. Pictures from last night's show are posted here.