Tag Archives: Kansas

Stream: Paper Airplanes – “Scandal, Scandal, Scandal Down in the Wheat Field”

Paper Airplanes - "Scandal, Scandal, Scandal Down in the Wheat Field"
Paper Airplanes – “Scandal, Scandal, Scandal Down in the Wheat Field” 

Earlier this week Airhouse records released Paper Airplanes’ “Scandal, Scandal, Scandal Down in the Wheat Field.” The release successfully bottles heady, thematic, album oriented rock music that is driving and passionate, and even more importantly, exciting and at times joyful and exuberant. A full album, that takes advantage of every minute that it has to offer. Like many song-cycle albums, it’s dense. There is a lot of material, but that is not a negative aspect in the least. I am of the opinion that the job of an album, and the job of an artist, a true musician, is to be able to create music that needs to be heard. The trick with an album constructed in this way is that the artist needs to create an entire album that needs to be heard as an album. Sure there are some songs that the listener will grab onto more than others, but in order to fully grasp the reality of the disc one must settle in and listen from front to back.

Paper Airplanes have managed to create such an album. A rare feat.

Like any good song cycle album, the listener is taken on a journey. The sequencing of the tracks is just as important as it would be with any other album, but this has the extra added challenge of needing to tie each element into the larger shape of the narrative arc. “Scandal…” deftly accomplishes the feat of creating a cohesive album of songs that are bound to each other to create a truly engaging solitary work.

Singer Marcus Stoesz’s voice stretches out from octave to octave, exploring the various shadings of tone in multiple ways for dramatic affect. One minute soft, relaxed and low, while brittle, reaching and tenuous the next. “Assembly” is a good instance of this type of song where the voice is reaching, soaring into the sky in a chorus that joyfully continues almost indefinitely in its soulful refrain.

The guitar tone, on that track, and throughout the album, is decidedly bright and clean. Everything is clean.  Stoesz’s voice is very unique, and instantly recognizable or. In many ways, and I’m sure that this comparison has been drawn before, but there are elements of Paper Airplanes’ sound that are similar to that of The Decembrists. Aside from the album length narrative structure that ties all of the songs together. The way that everything was recorded, and the arrangements (beautiful use of strings appear throughout this album, as well. They underpin perfectly the keyboard and guitar led ensemble in the quieter moments. The band really does know how to use their resources to provide each song with a terrific amount of emotional depth) tend to be reminiscent of The Decembrists.

There are elements of this album that have the shade of prog-rock to it. The presence of the drums, and the large scope of the album in general are both big contributors.Something like “Chisolm Trail” that comes at the end of the album, takes its time building up momentum. A trumpet rises out of the keyboard texture only to become the backdrop to the climactic outro.

From the opening fingerpicked tension filled steel string acoustic, to the exuberant beginning of “An Account of Surprising Accuracy, Given the Messenger,” “Scandal…” simply floats from song to song.

The band is exceedingly adroit in building everything up to an exciting and memorable climax, but knowing when to back off and when to keep things simmering a bit. Take some time to listen to the album above, give it the honest listen that it deserves, maybe give it 2 or 3. You’ll be glad you did.

Airhouse Records//Purchase//Bandcamp//

Benefit Comp featuring unreleased tracks by Thee Oh Sees, Cave Singers, Elf Power and more

Coming Together for a Cure Vol. 2
Coming Together for a Cure Vol. 2

We all love music, that much is obvious. It’s why you are reading this, it’s why I’m writing this. Sometimes music has the opportunity to really make a difference. Those differences can come in the form of small things – helping to make mundane chores bearable, perhaps giving us some new perspective on the world, showing us beauty in new things, new sounds and on and on. And sometimes music is able to do so much more, something that is bigger than all of us.
This compilation gives us all a chance to let music make a huge difference in the lives of so many. One such person is Ryan Benton, diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 3, who is the curator of this compilation that puts together a ton of unreleased tracks from more great bands than you could even conceive of. In Ryan’s own words:
I was given a life expectancy of late teens to early twenties. I am currently twenty seven.  In the fall of 2008 I traveled to Costa Rica to be treated for the first time with adult stem cells. I had to travel out of country because the all natural treatment was then and currently now not available in the states. After receiving my first treatment I began gaining back strength and have since gone back on seven separate trips for continued treatment.  
With the help of Air House Records, I have put together a benefit compilation featuring fifteen amazing tracks from national artists such as Thee Oh Sees, Cave Singers, Elf Power, Shine Brothers and The Wonder Revolution. Proceeds will go entirely towards helping fund adult stem cell therapy and research.
So in buying this album you will be helping Ryan as well as countless others that find themselves in the same situation. We all know that stem cell research will provide us with answers to medical problems that many Americans face every single day, yet it is currently outlawed in the United States. So why not take a stand against the ridiculous state of affairs that is the American Health Care System Inc. and buy this compilation for a great cause. Ryan continues:
Stem Cell Therapy is the first form of medicine that has ever truly helped with the digression of this disease. Stem Cell Therapy is one of the most promising and revolutionary forms of medicine to date. I can attest to this first hand after seeing the positive effects it has had on my debilitating health. Along with my disease it has shown great promise and potential in treating other fatal diseases. We need to embrace this remarkable form of medicine here in the U.S. and outlaw its ban. I am almost certain that without these treatments I would not be alive today.
The comp will be officially released on October 29th via Air House Records. You can listen to a sample of “The Factory Reacts,” a track previously unreleased by Thee Oh Sees, below.
The Factory Reacts
The compilation features unreleased tracks from not only Thee Oh Sees, but also Elf Power, Springs, Miracle Days, Cave Singers and a whole bunch more. I whole heartedly encourage everyone to buy this album to help support a cause and also to maybe discover some music that you may have not heard before. I’m listening to it right now and it’s a really solid collection of songs.
If you would like to know more about Ryan, watch the short documentary below. You can also listen to and purchase the first installment of this compilation at comingtogetherforacure.bandcamp.com.
Remember: October 29th is the official release and all proceeds will go to the Aiden Foundation to help fund adult stem cell research and therapy. I’ll remind you through Facebook and Tumblr.
Air House Records//Bandcamp//Youtube//Learn more about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy//