The Planes finds Taoist calm in dark matter on “Thrift Store”

I thought I saw you down
At the corner store
Then I realized you’re not
24 anymore
It’s just someone else
In a leather skirt
With piercing eyes
And a heart full of hurt
— The Planes “Thrift Store”

Granted we’re not running a literary journal here but this is some goddam poetry and not only cuz it refers to a presumed deli/bodega in the second line but also cuz it rhymes leather skirt with heart full of hurt which gets at the central dynamic not only of the song itself but also the album from which The Planes‘ “Thrift Store” is taken (Dark Matter Recycling Co. is officially out on 9/15/23) serving as its lead-off single with a highly apropos interplay of old and new, hope and hurt, nostalgic reminiscence and creative forward momentum as in “your memory, memory / words, collapsing into poetry”…

…so it’s fitting in a sense that the stair-step ascending chord progression of “Thrift Store” is used to bolster imagery about falling the f— down as in “out on a limb / that snaps in the breeze” where “not giving up” is replaced by “giving in to everything” and while we’re not running a semiotics blog here, it’s telling that the world “planes” refers to either a winged vehicle soaring over vast, varied landscapes or a vast expanse of land so flat and featureless you’re bound to be left feeling earthbound… 

…and in fact there’s always been something pretty earthbound, i.e., reassuringly grounded, about lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Stephen Perry’s songwriting and singing and guitar playing—but all while strongly inclined toward high-wire, agile fretwork soaring over his songs’ solidly catchy ‘n’ concise foundations—to the point where in years past Stephen has discarded certain songs-in-the-works that were deemed too beholden to chaos-incurring “dark matter”…

…but hey, these are pretty dark, chaotic times and The Planes ain’t tryin’ to deny it—including the rock-solid rhythm section of Rob Mellinger on bass and Don Lavis on drums, with returning bandmate Jackie Perrone having taken over the bass-playing reins since the recording of Dark Matter Recycling Co.—with S.P. constructed some of the new songs on the new album from old scraps recently taken out of songwriting mothballs (e.g., “Ash,” “Freezerhead”, and yes we’ve heard the album and it’s pretty dang cool..) newly re-imagined for the band’s aptly titled sixth full-length that deals with topics ranging from long drives home after a gig to climate change denialism…

…a record whose overriding theme is (debatably) exploring the various ways in which we humans tend to to adopt and adapt to disorienting entropic forces—whether emanating from within or without, constructively or destructively—expressed through equal parts indie-pop jangle and alt-rock abrasiveness ably captured and burnished by Brooklyn-based Studio G studio wizard Jeff Berner (APPEARING TONIGHT as part of the Deli’s Producers Roundtable event at Bar Freda!) split into a Side A loaded with potential singles and a Side B that’s a “lava lamp/beanbag chair/bowl of weed-worthy rock music journey” (advance order that sucka here!)…

…with Stephen’s unassuming, everyman warble serving as the calm eye of the storm ensconced in swirling waves of whammy bar ‘n’ fuzztone-enhanced guitar—as cleverly represented in the lyric video for “Thrift Store” (see top of page!) a song that’s self-describedly about how “we all need to be willing to make donations in order for the 2nd hand economy to function [where] even though you give things away, you can still hang on to the memories,” so we recommend you get that dark matter fix fully satiated while remaining safe as houses with The Planes… (Jason Lee)

Official band bio:
Founded in Brooklyn in 2010 by singer/guitarist Stephen Otto Perry, The Planes are an indie rock band with a well-earned reputation for deft songwriting, loud performances, and letting your drummer borrow our hi-hat clutch as long as they promise to give it back after your set. The current lineup of Perry, drummer Don Lavis, and bassist Jackie Perrone will be releasing the band’s 6th full-length album, Dark Matter Recycling Co., on September 15th, 2023 through Totally Real Records in the US and Safe Suburban Home Records in the UK. From up-tempo jangle rock to ‘90s-style fuzzed out riffs, Dark Matter Recycling Co. is a rock album for an uncertain post-pandemic world that also manages to look inward, with moments of honest self-reflection.

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