Testa Rosa IV

by Testa Rosa

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about

A musical view-master of life in the storied midwest.

"Continuing a steady every-four-years album streak, Testa Rosa’s fourth full-length racks up more career highlights for one of Milwaukee’s most consistent rock bands. There’s certainly a running theme of looking back, world-weariness but without pessimism; the singing and playing are more vigorous than ever, though. The shimmery jangle-pop of “Alice Anything” and “Play It As It Lays” hearken back to early-’90s R.E.M., owing in part to Shane Hochstetler’s dense, punchy production. Betty Blexrud-Strigens’ ghostly harmonies on “Herring Gull” work amazingly well over the band’s insistent rhythm section, while “7w” and “Great Time To Go Back” take us through alternately sad and sunny nostalgic dreampop. And the album’s centerpiece, “High Horse,” may be the grandest piece of music thus far in the Testa Rosa catalog."

Milwaukee Record

"Frontwoman Betty Blexrud-Strigens and the band have made some of the most overtly wistful songs of their discography to open their fourth full-length album. The pop-rock drive of "Alice Anything" and "(Not Saying What You) Really Mean" illustrate a nice new shade for Testa Rosa, but the band's strong suit remains its way with grandeur, gorgeously realized here with the ominous lullaby swing of "Nature Kills Maidens," and on the 6½-minute "High Horse," which swells from simple piano and Blexrud-Strigens' yearning voice to bold, teary-eyed, full-band splendor."

Piet Levy - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

www.jsonline.com/story/entertainment/music/2019/11/29/6-milwaukee-albums-you-have-hear-december-klassik-lresorts-testa-rosa-bravo-mortgage-freeman/4221950002/

"Celebrating the release of their fourth album, IV, Testa Rosa stands tall as far as truth-in-advertising goes. When it comes to catchy, haunted pop songs, they are in a league of their own. Betty Blexrud-Strigens would never call herself a star, but judge for yourself. Her low-key stage charm fits perfectly with an unassuming band who are among the best in town."

Shepherd Express

shepherdexpress.com/music/this-week/twim-nov-28-2019/

"Testa Rosa excels at creating a sound that subtly defies categorization yet remains instantly familiar." - Matt Wild - Milwaukee Record

milwaukeerecord.com/music/exclusive-listen-to-testa-rosas-shapeshifting-third-album-iii/

"If you have fond memories of the music of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the “golden age of studio recording,” you will find much to like in the music of Testa Rosa. However, fans of contemporary alternative rock should also find themselves enthralled by the rich textures of the band’s sound..." - Bill Lamb - Wisconsin Gazette

www.wisconsingazette.com/music/3rd-time-charms-again-for-testa-rosa.html

"The Milwaukee quintet led by Betty Blexrud-Strigens and seconded by her husband Damian continues to make convincing proof(s) that indie-pop and indie-rock songs can blossom most beautifully when allowed to blossom most thoughtfully." - Jon Gilbertson - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

www.jsonline.com/entertainment/musicandnightlife/new-albums-in-stores-this-week-b99562098z1-323168411.html

"unlike most of what passes for pop music these days, this is music with a sophisticated sound that has more in common with Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, and Elton John's early work -- and with the vaunted 4AD sound of the 80s and 90s that made albums by the Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, and Lush so listenable -- than any of the current chart-toppers featuring one-name artists hiding behind a homogenized army of faceless hit producers." - The One True Dead Angel

"Testa Rosa is an absolute treasure with not one song that lacks in quality or artistic vision." - ObscureSound.com

credits

released November 29, 2019

Recorded by Shane Hochstetler at Howl Street Studios.

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about

Testa Rosa Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Ever glance down at the speedometer and realize those cherries in the rear view really are for you? How could they know that heart-crushing pop music was to blame. Testa Rosa writes songs to make you remember love and forget the speed limit.

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Track Name: Alice Anything
When you see her place you would have to squint
(or you’d never guess) just to picture it’s former grace

Sunshine dappled grey ivy trellises somehow seem to say,
"With the boys all gone no one paints"

With troubles of their own they all vanished then,
their five cars on the lawn would escape

But when it was treeless, Model-As every now and then
would come down the way throwing biscuits to her pets

She was the only one with a velvet cape, Omega 321 on her bed

Tin enameled wares with a blackened rim
sometimes green or red on her window ledge shuttered

You can’t ask Alice anything anymore
but I won’t forget how she stood there at her door
Track Name: (Not Saying What You) Really Mean
(Not Saying What You) Really Mean

I can see it on your face as you look away
And there’s something in your voice that your words don’t say
Oh what are you thinking about?
What are you leaving out?

You know that you can tell me anything
But the way you leave me guessing is troubling
No it’s not like you
Oh am I getting through?

You know you’re not saying what you really mean
You know you’re not saying what you really mean
You know you’re not saying what you really mean

I try to get inside of your worried mind
And I understand the truth isn’t always kind
But I have my doubts
Won’t you let it out?

You know you’re not saying what you really mean
You know you’re not saying what you really mean
You know you’re not saying what you really mean

Or maybe I don’t want to know.
Because I can feel you letting go.
Even if you’re gonna tell me no.
I’d rather hear it from you.

You know you’re not saying what you really mean
And I can never tell you what you really mean to me
You know you’re not saying what you really mean
Track Name: High Horse
When I get down from my high horse
Then lay me down, put flowers around
Play a mournful sound you think I'd know

Word gets around in this lonely town
That I'd rather drown than than show my cards
But you showed be your hand, bet your money your land
No one can stand your game of love
So I must fold, love
Here today gone tomorrow, gone.

When I get down from my high horse
I'll sink like a stone, entirely alone
Ashes and bone into the ground

When I get down, I'll be coming round
Weathered and brown form my high horse
You'll give me your hand when I can hardly stand
According to plan I'll take it all
By now you must know, all.
Here today, gone tomorrow, gone

When I get down, when I get down
When I get down from my high horse
Then lay me down, put flowers around
Play a mournful sound you think I'd know
Track Name: Play It as It Lays
If there was a way we could change things like the summer’s end
With actions and Strange Magic
Waiting for weekends and babysitting bread
We were the captains of our shit

But oh we were oblivious
To what it really meant to us

Now we say it when we need to
“Play it as it lays” – it was our way
Not an adolescent notion
You know where I stand from far away

Won't you stay another night or two
Won't you stay another night or two
Won't you stay another night or forever

Fade away, rearranging what we did instead
We took the long way to reach it
Bumpo, TwoTone, Coronado, Storm
And Deaf Ear and Metamorphosis

But oh they were oblivious
To what it really meant to us

Now we say it when we need to
“Play it as it lays” – it was our way
Not an adolescent notion
You know where I stand from far away

Won't you stay another night or two
Won't you stay another night or two
Won't you stay another night or forever
Stay
Track Name: Herring Gull
There were three maybe four silver needle pines
Towering on the shore counting the time
Over the wide thermocline

Worry and wait she would, staring all the while
Iron and weathered wood horizon line
Silvery light, sliver eyes

Til one night she would stir the ashes grey
Turning to winged bird then fly away
Into the night she would climb

She was a herring gull

With her wings open wide she could weave and wave
Over a monumental dynamic ray
Au Train Bay, Beta Grise

Seeing in the water below in the undertow
Something in the white water changing the flow
Superior agate, meridian magnet

She was a herring gull, up in her lift and drag

She was a herring gull, up in her lift and drag
Ulna and humerus, forelimb and radius
Track Name: 7W
In 7W I remember
Making myself someone else for you until November

Saying too much, failing my crush
Oh how I wish I hit the pause before I let it go

In 7W the air was sterile 
Watching pen and paper fall to my peril 

Apricot cologne, one call on our one phone
Oh how I wish I hit the pause before I let it go

In 7W at St Aquinas 
Someone said you would never go for a B minus

Crumpled in your hand, under the bandstand
Oh how I wish I hit the pause before I let it go
Track Name: Great Time to Go Back
All aboard the Milwaukee Road
Blinding as the sun is shining on the snow
Outside the bright hits your soul
Reaffirming something you already know

Trees like a strobe-light flashing in your eyes
Could be the moment when you realize
A great time to go back
And would you believe it you don't need to pack
A great time to go back is now

Winding down the valley wide
The only place where you can see the other side
Climbing up to the sunny sky
And through a frosted window will materialize

Trees like a strobe-light flashing in your eyes
Could be the moment when you realize
A great time to go back
And would you believe it you don't need to pack
A great time to go back is now
Track Name: Nature Kills Maidens
Why don't you see what's out there Annabelle?
Why don't you see what's out there in the field?
Some ruby red roses like a crown for your hair
Why don't you go and get some for yourself?

Why don't you see what's out there MaryAnn?
Why don't you see what's out there in the barn?
Some warm dark horse hair you can add to your coat
Why don't you go and get some for yourself?

Why don't you see what's out there Valerie?
Why don't you see what's out there in the wood?
Some deep green emeralds you can wear around your neck
Why don't you go and get some for yourself?

There’s always so much better for you
And pretty somethings for when you are blue

Why don't you see what's out there Eloise?
Why don't you see what's out there in the lake?
Some rings of silver that will shine from your ears
Why don't you go and get some for yourself?

There’s always so much better for you
And pretty somethings for when you are blue

Why don't you see what's out there Bethany?
Why don't you see what's out there in the snow?
Some sparkling diamonds you can wear on your skin
Why don't you go and get some for yourself?

Get some for yourself
Track Name: Sirius A
Love you are one bright chemical
Floating above the earth below
When I look up you're a silver cup and I know I'm going home

Like gold dust you woke me up

Glowing a light I'd never know
Holding an arrow and a bow
We were serious under Sirius a long long time ago

Like gold dust you woke me up in your own time
Like stardust and phosphorous, angel of mine
The brightest star in the sky

You're a meteor getting nearer
And how I love you so

Like gold dust you woke me up in your own time
Like stardust and phosphorous angel of mine
The brightest star in the sky