Astral Planes
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Astral Planes

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
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"Radio Magnetic and The Skinny Sessions: Astral Planes"

Listen to and watch exclusive live recordings from T in the Park 2010 online at Radio Magnetic.
At T in the Park 2010, Radio Magnetic joined forces with The Skinny magazine to record and film a series of stripped back acoustic sessions with some of the best up-and-coming talent on show at this year’s festival.
Over the coming weeks you can watch the videos and hear the sessions in full here at Radio Magnetic and over at our friends, The Skinny’s website too.

Next in the series, formerly known as Paper Planes, we bring you Astral Planes. Three young men from Glasgow fronted by the understated charm of US-born singer, Jennifer Paley. The band blend the post-punk pop of 1980s Scottish acts like Aztec Camera and Orange Juice with Southern soul and country-blues flavours to wonderful effect. Only three of the band took to the stage in our little kitchen in the media village after the full quartet had wowed the T Break fans earlier in the day. The fourth member had other things on his mind… Hope you enjoy the set.

Check out their set by clicking stream in the menu bar above or by clicking the player beneath that. And have a look at the video of them performing over at The Skinny website.

Keep an eye out for our sixth exclusive acoustic session next week. And have a listen to all Radio Magnetic and The Skinny Sessions at: radiomagnetic.com/titp

Also for full live sets from all the bands at T Break at TITP 2010 visit: tennents.com/tbreak

- Radio Magnetic


"E.P Review: Astral Planes"

Astral Planes -’Sit Down Child’ (Say Dirty/Lucky Number Nine)

…so, anyway.

A few weeks ago I was DJing at PinUps in Glasgow and then sat drinking with Matt and Billy from the Dirty Cuts (as you do). At some point during the night, I vaguely remember Matt telling me that the Paper Planes had changed their name, which lead to some stupid trivia comment from me about how Sleeper used to be called Surrender Dorothy, until they discovered there were lots of bands with that name, and I used to have a crush on Louise Wener fifteen years ago…and forgot what and why Paper Planes had changed their name and what to.

Anyway. Within a few days, those rather lovely folk at Say Dirty/Lucky Number Nine have sent me a copy of the latest EP from Paper Planes, and it transpires they’re now called Astral Planes. Whilst I’m not sure about the name, I am however very much convinced about this six track EP, and that this is a band who are going places.

Last year’s debut single ‘Doris Day’ -with it’s catchy chant of ‘How Absurd! How Obscene!’ reduced to four syllabes gave the impression of a band who did an excellent line in scots garage meets dirty US Country. Well, they do…but they have got so many other tricks up their sleeve. Follow-up single ‘the Sway’ isn’t here but its’ superior AA ‘disconnected I Know’ is- and shows that they can do classic pop, too.

There’s six tracks here, and seventeen minutes of music. The opening two seconds of opening track ‘Shut the Door’ wrongfoot you, in a brilliant way, rather like that scene from Carrie gets you every time. I’ve played this EP several times today, and I want to hear it again.

- 17 Seconds


"New Blood: Paper Planes"

No great masterplan has guided Paper Planes’ initial trajectory. In fact, when New Jerseyite Jennifer Paley first journeyed to Glasgow, singing was the last thing on her mind. “Music had no sway on my decision to come overseas,” she explains. “I didn't know anything about what was coming out of Glasgow or had come out of Glasgow besides the obvious, Belle and Sebastian, Jesus and Mary Chain, Franz Ferdinand... Only so much filters through to America. My musical education started as soon as I arrived.”

That education involved three Scots with a track record on the Glasgow music scene. Chalk it up to serendipity: though joining a band wasn’t originally part of Paley’s agenda, when Christopher Haddow (guitar), Craig O’Brien (drums), and Fraser McFadzean (bass) asked her to sing, the answer was obvious. “Everyone wants to front a band in their own dream world, so I just said yeah… Those first few months were pretty scary but also very interesting for me, I kept waiting for someone to call my bluff,” she recalls. “As far as I was concerned there was not a musical bone in my body”.

If this was ever true it certainly ain't now, as anyone lucky enough to catch Paper Planes live will attest. Paley’s firebrand rock 'n' roll caterwaul sits comfortably atop the band’s surf-influenced new wave indie, but she wasn’t always so confident onstage. “I couldn't even give presentations at school because I got so ridiculously nervous in front of people,” she confesses. Though such anxiety must seem pretty distant, several years and dozens of gigs later.

While performing no longer causes jitters, an unfortunate side-effect of the band’s transatlantic membership continues to haunt them. As a non-UK citizen, Paley’s residency here is subject to the shifting sands of bureaucracy, and having been forced on hiatus once before by visa issues, it’s an understandable worry. “This time around is going to be much harder,” she accepts. “I’m trying not to think about it just now. It’s pretty depressing to think you can just be booted out of a country after you’ve set up this whole life for yourself.”

Not that their last enforced separation stopped Paper Planes for long, the band swapping material back and forth across the Atlantic during their time apart. Debut single Doris Day involved comparatively fewer air miles, coming together in the course of a single evening upon Paley's return. Even the enigmatic title proved effortless. (“They were just words I had played in Scrabble the night before and they fit quite nicely.”) It’s a punchy calling card that has augmented their buzz and attracted the attention of Stephen Pastel and Gerry Love, who both DJed at their single launch.

But the quartet aren’t about to start rushing things. “We’re thinking about releasing another single, depending on how this one goes," says Paley. "We’re just taking things as they come, letting the whole thing plot its own course. Everything will fall into place eventually.” Floating on the breeze like their origami namesakes: expect them to go far.

- The Skinny


"Astral Planes – Sit Still Child EP"

How nice it would be to never outgrow those formative years, when music was music, cool was cool, and being a fan was just that with no regard for a canonised history of popular music or trying to second guess a hastily evolving critical-cultural dialogue.

Wrapped in a romantic magnetism, Astral Planes lure you in with their cocky swagger, surf guitars, and studious Spector-doting production. Not to mention six bullet-proof pop songs, the best of which is Doris Day with its relentless rhythm only pausing for shrill cries of “How absurd! How obscene!” in its trashy post-punk bliss. Shut the Door successfully recreates that infamous ‘wall of sound’ with layers of gorgeous harmonies, reverb-heavy guitars and slap-delay bass. Sit still child? Not a chance. [Alan Souter]
- The Skinny


"My mum can't believe I'm in a band after spending years telling me I couldn't sing, says Jennifer Paley of Astral Planes"

HER American drawl makes her one of Scotland's most distinctive singers ... but Jennifer Paley's mum used to tell her to shut up.

And the band she fronts, Astral Planes, are the most exciting outfit to come out of Scotland since Glasvegas.

New Jersey-born Jen is their secret weapon as they try to become the first new group from north of the border to crack the charts in four years.

The Glasgow band mix surf guitars with Joy Division rhythms and Jen sounds like a cross between Nancy Sinatra and the bratty younger sister of Karen O.

But she admitted: "I was never told I could be a singer. In fact, my mum, Helene, used to tell me to stop singing.

"She came over to see us play for the first time last month. She couldn't believe it was me singing.

"She thought the tunes were doctored and it was auto-tuned. She had no idea I could actually sing."

As they prepare to perform at RockNess tomorrow alongside headliners Leftfield, Ian Brown and Plan B and for the release of debut mini-album, Sit Still Child, on Monday, Astral Planes will soon be a name on everyone's lips.

They used to be called Paper Planes and have released two singles, Doris Day and Disconnected I Know.

But with so many other bands called Paper Planes and M.I.A's song Paper Planes, the group decided to rename themselves after a Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers track, Astral Plane.

Jen said: "We wanted planes or paper in the title and were thinking of names when the guitarist Christopher and I were listening to Astral Plane and it clicked for both of us."

Jen met the band, Christopher Haddow on guitar, Fraser McFadzean on bass and Craig O'Brien on drums on a night out two years ago after their old group had broken up.

Jen had moved from an art college outside Philadelphia to study at Glasgow School of Art and the guys asked her if she could sing.

She claimed she could - "although it was a complete lie" - and found herself in a studio.

She said: "It's a big a joke that I can't sing any body else's songs but my own. It was horrible the first few times, but they saw something and kept me on."

Jen was also petried of getting up in front of people. She said: "At school and art college, I couldn't read my presentations aloud. I'd plead with the tutor to let me off because I'd freak out."

After rehearsing she did her first secret show at The Beat Club in front of a few friends.

"They didn't know what was going to happen," Jen admitted in an accent veering from US to Scottish. "I was very frightened and thought I'd just cry."

But five shows later, she was up in front of 3000 people at Glasgow's Carling Academy. She said: "I'm 100 per cent more confident now."

Jen, whose sultry looks have been likened to Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry, is paying the bills by working in a bar and selling her paintings.

She graduated two years ago and was awarded the Royal Glasgow Institute Award for her degree show. Jen is on a working visa and in a few months will have to get another one.

She said: "I had a visa called Fresh Talent Working in Scotland. But it's non-existent now. I think I was one of the last people to get it. I hope I can stay."

So do we.
- The Daily Record


"Jennif'er's hoping to take off with Astral Planes"

She was only supposed to live in Glasgow for six months.

But four and a half years on, Jennifer Paley is still here, as the singer with one of Scotland’s best new bands, Astral Planes.

The New Jersey-born front woman and her surf-punk outfit are at King Tut’s on Saturday, as part of the venue’s on-going Summer Nights jamboree.

But gigging, and being compared to Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O, are a world away from what Jennifer had originally come over for.

“I was only supposed to be here for six months studying at the School Of Art, but liked it so much I put through a transfer, as I couldn’t see myself going back to America, and I still don’t – much to my mother‘s dismay!” she says, with a twang that now has a slight Scottish edge to it.

“Glasgow’s been great, I love it. There’s so much going on, and so many venues to play in There’s also so much great art, which is why I came here originally. It’s the right place to be. I graduated from the School of Art a couple of years ago, and although I’ve still been painting, the music has taken over.

“Everyone’s a lot friendlier than they are in New York or Philadelphia, and so it’s a different kind of big city.”

Now she and her bandmates are on the verge of becoming the next Scottish success story. They’ve been gigging for the past couple of years under the name Paper Planes, but chose to change the name to avoid getting confused with M.I.A’s hit single, and also a mildly successful Australian heavy metal band.

They decided to switch to Astral Planes as it’s a song by one of their favourite bands, The Modern Lovers, while they recently released their first EP, Sit Still Child, a bewitching combination that touches on everything from the Velvet Underground to Joy Division to down and dirty country.

In short, they’re exactly the sort of band the Summer Nights event at Tut’s is trying to promote. Every night until July 31 the venue are putting on bills crammed full of up and coming Scottish talent, with four acts a night, of all musical genres, playing.

Astral Planes have already got a stellar live record, having recently played both T In The Park and Rock Ness, and Jennifer feels the band are now clicking.

“We just seem to be getting better and better, to the stage where we seem to know exactly what the other person is going to do and when, so we can play off each other.”

It wasn’t always as comfortable, as Jennifer had never actually sung in public before taking on the lead vocalist role with the band –although she didn’t tell the other band members that!

“We came together a couple of years ago. The boys were in another band and they were out one night and their singer had decided to go. They’d always wanted a girl singer so they turned to me and asked if I could sing, and I said yes, even though I hadn‘t actually sung before outside of the shower and my car.

“The first gig we ever did was a secret gig, as I wasn’t exactly sure how I’d react to being onstage! We did it in front of a couple of friends, and the other bands we were playing with, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. So I grew in confidence, and now I’m completely used to it! At first though, it was incredibly nerve-wracking.”

Their confidence has understandably grown, to the extent that they were wowing festival crowds last month at T. That was an experience Jennifer enjoyed, even if her favourite footwear didn’t survive the Balado bash…

“The festivals have been fun, when the weather’s right!” she laughs. “Although, when you’re in a tent it does mean you get extra folk coming to see you, as they’re looking for shelter.

“We’ve actually just been confirmed for doing Belladrum too, although I don’t feel like camping again. We did it at T and it was horrible, it was so wet at the campsite and it just ruined my favourite pair of shoes!”

After Tut’s on Saturday, the band are already looking ahead, and Jennifer has plenty of targets in her sights.

“We made the EP to test the waters for how good an album we could make. We’d been writing over the past couple of years, and felt that those six were the best that worked together, so that’s what we went with.

“Before the end of the year, I’d hope we can get some more songs recorded, and release some more things and maybe play some bigger shows. I really want to see the world and play music while doing so.”
- The Evening Times


Discography

'Doris Day'. Limited edition 7" vinyl and download - 12/10/09
AA-side - 'The Sway / Disconnected I Know'. Limited edition 7" vinyl and download - 01/03/10.
'Sit Still Child'. 6 track E.P & Download - 14/06/10

Photos

Bio

ONE part American, three parts Scottish, Astral Planes came together in January ’09. Born out of a mutual respect of the late 70s New York Punk scene, 60s pop, garage, surf, rockabilly, new wave and all things rock n roll, they have released 2 critically acclaimed 7” singles and an E.P, toured Scotland and its major festivals, had Radio play from BBC6 Music, BBC Radio 1, Radio Clyde, XFM, BBC Ulster, BBC Radio Scotland, Virgin Radio France and assorted other Indie stations in Japan, America, and Australia. They have been the special guests of choice for Gang of Four, The Horrors, Phoenix, Wild Beasts, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Mystery Jets and have sold out several of their own headline shows.
As well as being an award winning artist, front-woman Jennifer Paley is frequently featured in articles in the Scottish press as one of the most exciting performers in the country; she was recently named one of The Herald’s top 5 women of 2010. Her sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, New Jersey-tinged delivery has been compared to the likes of Debbie Harry, Patti Smith and Chrissy Hynde, Karen O and Mary Weiss.
With a loyal following, comprising of both fans and critics, a constantly evolving back catalogue, and a blistering live show, Astral Planes are ready to take things further.