Band of the Week – The Airplanes

The Airplanes originally started as the one-man band of Joshua Vest, who wrote and recorded tracks in his Fayetteville, Arkansas home. But soon he realized he needed a band to really fulfill the sound he wanted to achieve, and to perform live. So, last fall, Vest set out and recruited guitarist Andrew Donovan, bassist Joel Paul and drummer Rob Storms.

Vest still writes and records the songs released by The Airplanes, and the sounds produced by the quartet are unique, blending elements of melodic California rock in the spirit of bands like The Byrds and The Beach Boys with a British rock influence from bands like The Smiths and The Stone Roses. In addition to those legendary bands, the band members are also big fans of Pavement and Teenage Fanclub – two more terrific bands to emulate.

The band gained wider recognition from indie fans after their song, “A Summer Daydream Part I,” was featured in a nationwide Infiniti commercial. The song, along with ‘Part II,’ and four other sunny pop tracks appear on the band’s 2012 self-titled debut EP – well worth the $4, and their sophomore EP, Jingle-Jangle (which doesn’t have any Christmas songs on it) released in August of 2013 and containing the track, “Big Stars’ 45s,” referring to the 1970s Memphis power pop band Big Star.

theairplanes-paperhearts
It’s clear in listening to the band’s music that they are influenced by Big Star. In fact, over the past decade, there have been countless indie pop rock bands that have been clearly influenced by Big Star. Ironically, the band’s debut and sophomore albums received rave reviews by critics after their release in the early 1970s, but the LPs failed to gain commercial success because of ineffective marketing by the label, Stax Records.

In fact, the band, headed by Alex Chilton – who passed away unexpectedly on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010; the day before a highly-anticipated appearance at South By Southwest – and Chris Bell – who died in a car accident at the age of 27 – became more famous in the years after they broke up in 1974 than they ever were during the three years that they made some of the best pop rock albums.

We always say grab a great EP when you can because you never know if it’ll become obsolete or hard to get in a month or a year. But something tells us that The Airplanes won’t be flying off into the setting sun anytime soon, but rather towards the rising sun, where they are headed now. We’re looking forward to the release of their debut album, hopefully in 2015.

  “Young” – The Airplanes from Young – April 4th

  “Waiting for June”- The Airplanes from Paper Hearts – Jan. 20th

  “A Summer Daydream Part I”- The Airplanes from single

Check out The Airplanes on Facebook

To make sure you don’t forget to check out the other bands this week – or any time in the future – from the 7 Bands series, sign up for our email and RSS subscription, follow us on @Twitter and via Facebook.

If you pause the play buttons for any songs before they finish completely, they’ll stay on pause. We used to use the Yahoo Media Player, until Yahoo discontinued it and then the ex-fm player, and that was discontinued. Until we can do that, the only way to save the songs is to right click on the page and choose “View Page Source’ – then look for the .mp3 links that start with www.indierockcafe.com and right click again on those links and choose ‘Save As’ and it will save to your computer as an MP3.

We’ll keep looking for another MP3 streamer, and eventually we’ll find, or build, one that will play all the songs on a page without the need to individually click on each song like a non-stop playlist.

Check back Tuesday for the second band you’ve gotta hear!

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  1. I am a great fan of this band “The Airplanes”. They produced some great Indie music. Great info man 🙂

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