Yellow Paper Planes
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Yellow Paper Planes

Columbus, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Columbus, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Indie




"Song Premiere: Yellow Paper Planes"

Columbus, Ohio’s Yellow Paper Planes are indie but not cutesy. They can be heavy but not aggro. Power pop for punks who like country. Folk music for folks who kind of hate folk music.

Reforming after the dissolution of roots-rockers Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes, drummer for that band, Brandon Woods and front man, Joshua P. James, picked up a new bassist in Peter Mendenhall (Go Analog, Hocking River String Band) and a keys/guitar player in Jeremy Ebert (The Driftwood Motion) and began charting a newly invigorated course in the fall of 2013. A spiral fracture in Woods’ right hand put the skids on progress that was leading them into the studio.

The hiatus allowed YPP to step back and take their time with figuring out where this new project was headed. The band has tightened up their vision with a batch of new songs that further stretch any notion of easy genre classification.

A tumultuous couple of years, both in music and personally have given James new insight into his own demons and triumphs and the writing shows that. In the winter of 2014, YPP headed into the studio to finally record their debut, titled Feather’s Touch. It is available now online through all major digital distribution channels and through the band’s webstore.

Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering “Knock Once” from their latest effort. - GhettoBlaster Magazine

"Track by Track Album Review"

Jeremy Ebert of Yellow Paper Planes was kind enough to send me a copy of YPPs EP, Feathers Touch. To go with it, he sent me some notes from the band's singer Joshua James, giving some context to what the songs are about. I don't recall anyone ever providing info like that before, and it's a nice treat. Thanks, dudes. What's also kind of neat is that this is a throwback to my old "4 song reviews" from way back in the day! Good times.

Knock Once - Guitar reminds me of Beach House a little, but maybe because I was listening to Beach House earlier in the week. MARACA!!! Knock Once is somber and plodding, not in a negative way though. It's like trying to wade through the complicated muck of the past, still hoping there is something worth finding there. The music has a great layering to it, building a neatly complex melody. Everything picks up during a great crescendo to end the song. It's surprising how rare it is to hear a song end with a crescendo, and it's refreshing here.

Double Life -This is one of those songs that reminds you of other songs you've heard in the past. It reminds me of so many songs, and sounds so familiar, that I can't think of anything specific that it reminds me of. It's a good song, with great pacing and change ups throughout. I can picture this being a single.

Good Lovers - Another song that could be a single. It reminds me of the band, Hum, only not terrible and not completely boring. I guess that would make it the opposite of Hum, but it is stylistically similar. The instruments and vocals compliment each other well in this one. I don't know why, but emotionally, this song makes me a little sad. At 1:25 there is something weird that happens to the singer. I think it is a fault in the copy I'm listening to, or he chose to warble at that particular moment and nowhere else in the song.

Ghost - Man, I love fuzzy guitars. This song is a little heavier with a steady beat with killer fuzz and feedback. Harkens back to the glory days of the 90s. Is it okay for me to pick a favorite? Cause this is it. I really dig this one. It's not like Melvins heavy or anything, but maybe a little bit Screaming Trees? I dunno. Whatever it is, it's great. As I was writing this originally, I realized that the end of Ghost is actually the next track, Annex. I'm just going to go with them being the same song in my head, 'cause it's too good of an ending. - Quarantine Media

"Locals: Artist Spotlight"

Joshua James, singer-songwriter for Yellow Paper Planes, discusses the folk-rock quartet’s debut EP, Feather’s Touch, like a contractor leading clients through a massive home remodeling project.

“We stripped everything back to the studs,” said James, 33, who joins bandmates Brandon Woods (drums), Peter Mendenhall (bass) and Jeremy Ebert (keyboard/guitar) for a concert at Tree Bar on Friday, May 29. “I’m a person who can think things into the ground, and I had all this time to think about what we were writing and I wasn’t liking any of it, so we stripped everything back and started to have a deeper discussion about what we wanted [the band] to sound like.”

In the past, Yellow Paper Planes existed as a means for James to flesh out his solo material, but going into recording the frontman wanted to place less emphasis on “strummy acoustic rhythm guitar,” as he termed it, allowing the songs to develop more organically into full-group affairs.

“I didn’t want it to come across like a singer-songwriter backed by a band,” said James, who was born in Bolivar to a welder father and a mother who taught first grade.

Rather, songs like the open-ended “Knock Once,” a prairie vista of shuffling drums and creeping guitar, and the hypnotic “Ghost,” which builds around a buzzing, mossy guitar riff, feel as though they could shift amoeba-like in any direction rather than adhering to a prescribed path.

While Yellow Paper Planes’ music has steadily evolved into a band pursuit, James’ lyrics have grown increasingly personal, with songs born of a recent health scare and the fears and excitements tied to life as a new father. “Trying to cut down on my cursing,” he sings on “Knock Once.” “Fix the things that made me broke so the shape I’m in doesn’t worsen.”

“A lot of those mentions go back to that impending sense of responsibility associated with becoming a father … and it also brings up those fractious moments [following the health scare]. I had some moments where I felt kind of broken for a while,” said James, who received his earliest musical education via campfire sing-alongs alongside his father, an avowed fan of classic country artists like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. “When I was first getting out in front of people I was writing about things that were at arm’s length. Now I’m writing about stuff that’s closer to the vest, and it feels good to get my story out there.” - Columbus Alive

"Sensory Overload: Yellow Paper Planes"

Onstage at Tree Bar on a recent Saturday night, Yellow Paper Planes frontman Joshua P. James reminisced about local musician (and Whiles guitarist) Joe Peppercorn prodding him to play his first-ever gig. Fittingly, the Whiles were headlining on an evening where James continued the rollout for Yellow Paper Planes, formerly Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes.

In the past the three backing musicians functioned in more of a supporting role, helping flesh out James’ solo compositions. But over the months it’s become more of a true collaboration — a distinction noticeable from the opening song, where James ceded the microphone to drummer Brandon Woods, who acquitted himself quite nicely on a high-and-lonesome ballad about trying desperately to find some degree of happiness in a life full of disappointment.

The quartet’s sound still drew heavily on roots-rock and Americana, and acoustic guitar and standup bass featured prominently. But a handful of tunes explored shadier byways, taking unexpected sonic detours rather than hewing to the traditional verse-chorus-verse format. The best of these, a winding, seven-plus minute epic built around the idea of escape (“The more I come down/The more I want to get high”), swung between weary passages and more urgent moments, reaching its peak when the music nearly dropped out altogether and James bellowed “I’m still all alone” like a man in desperate need of human connection.

Many of the most memorable moments were also the quietest, and the musicians displayed a knack for crafting drama from the most subtle instrumental flourishes: a hazy wash of cymbal, a prancing keyboard riff, the metallic scrape of James’ acoustic strings. At times the more upbeat numbers lacked the same attention to detail, though there was a thrilling moment early on where the band locked in and the music picked up momentum until things were rumbling along like an out-of-control steam engine.

The 40-minute performance attracted a small but appreciative crowd that was none too eager to send the crew on its way. “We’ve got two more to play,” offered James as the set wore down. “Three!” shouted someone in the audience. “Let’s compromise and call it two,” countered the singer.

Of course, the band ended up playing three more anyway. Yellow Paper Planes might be a new band (in name at least), but they’ve already learned to give an audience what it wants - Columbus Alive - 2013

"Yellow Paper Planes"

“Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.
If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” – Charlie Parker

Joshua P. James and the gentlemen in the outfit known as The Yellow Paper Planes have lived and grown wise, and they’re here to tell you about it. Pete Mendenhall, Brandon Woods, Jeremy Ebert, and the aforementioned front man have created their own blend of country and folk that is played with a calculated and careful Rock & Roll spirit. Their lyrics and songs are crafted out of years of travelling and learning, and their wisdom and experience comes pouring out of their horns in a way that makes it seem almost effortless. I’ve seen them pack a house, and I’ve seen half the crowd drunkenly dance and swing, while the other half stand watching with their jaws on the floor. I still remember the first time I dug into their debut album “Please, Please” and found myself restarting the album over and over, with each listen giving me an ever-growing joyous feeling of the excitement of finding something fresh and simple, yet deliberate and catchy. Wherever they played, I was there. I often bugged them after shows to pick their brains. They’ll most likely tell you I was relentless, but I couldn’t help it. I was and still am excited to hear them and learn from them as people and musicians. I recently jumped at the opportunity to sit down with the guys to talk about their lineup change, and get a preview of their new sound.

The Yellow Paper Planes originally hail from Lancaster, Ohio, a town described by the guys as a place with “not much to do except play music.” Josh, a local singer-songwriter, formed the original lineup of the band under the moniker “Joshua P. James & The Paper Planes” with Evan Parker (fellow Lancaster resident and former member of Evan Harris & The Driftwood Motion) on upright bass, Brandon Woods on drums, and Josh on lead vocals and guitar. Touring followed shortly, as well as the recording of the previously discussed debut album “Please, Please.” Several shows around town with bands of various genres were able to give them top spots on bills, and much-deserved respect from just about everyone who was able to catch their set. After Evan Parker was called to be a full-time member of The David Mayfield Parade, they recruited Pete Mendenhall of Hocking River String Band to man the upright. More shows followed before things went quiet for a while, and now they have emerged as a four-piece with the addition of Jeremy Eberts (former member of Evan Harris & The Driftwood Motion and current member of Hocking River String Band. See how all that came full circle?) on keyboard.

With a new name and a new member comes a very different sound. When writing new material, Josh described the writing process as “writing songs with a full band in mind, instead of just being able to pull the songs off myself.” What came out is an album’s worth (hint hint) of songs that don’t just start at point A and quickly arrive at point B, but take the winding road and experiment with each other’s individual flourishes to arrive at a place that’s remarkably similar to the original destination, but with a bigger, bolder, multi-faceted sound. Jeremy Eberts’ keyboard parts provide a bright accent to Josh’s genius complex-but-natural vocal and guitar melodies. Eberts fits into the band’s new sound like a glove, taking the time to perfect each note to match the song as a whole. The rhythm section also seems to be finding new and exciting ground, with Mendenhall playing loud funk-inspired bass lines on top of Woods’ calculated but powerful drumming. Sitting in Eberts’ basement watching them tear through songs, I can tell that they’ve been working tirelessly to challenge themselves and provide their current and future audience with something to shout about (or blog about. Do people really shout anymore?) Even while sitting in Eberts’ basement listening to the new songs, I was trying to come up with comparisons and descriptions for what I heard. “It sounds like something meets something. It sounds like if so-and-so had a baby with so-and-so and then that kid formed a band with so-and-so.” I can’t do it, which is a testament to the fact that these guys are creating something truly remarkable and unique. I walked away from hanging out with these guys having learned a lot. Not just about them, but also about myself as a musician. It was an inspiring night. - Columbus Avenue


Yellow Paper Planes:

2015 - Feather's Touch EP - produced by Alex Douglas and Mastered by TJ Lipple

Joshua P. James solo efforts:

2009 - Kisses and Honeycomb EP- self-produced

2010 - As Long As I Am Tall - debut LP - self-produced

Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes:

2012 - Please, Please LP - produced by Jay Alton, mastered by Brian Lucey



From the remains of Columbus, Ohio's alt-country darlings Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes whose debut LP "PLEASE, PLEASE" received radio play on 139 stations nationwide and was widely lauded for its straightforward, no frills attack, emerges the next iteration. Yellow Paper Planes sees James and drummer Brandon Woods putting together a new project with bassist, Pete Mendenhall and auxiliary man, Jeremy Ebert.

GhettoBlaster Magazine says, "Yellow Paper Planes are indie but not cutesy. They can be heavy but not aggro. Power pop for punks who like country. Folk music for folks who kind of hate folk music."

Enduring several setbacks in their infancy (Woods broke his hand badly in the fall of 2013 requiring three pins and a lot of time for recovery, stripping everything back to its studs after a failed attempt in the studio in early 2014..), all four members of Yellow Paper Planes are resolved in realizing the ambitions of this new direction crafting songs that are both patient and dynamic setting a course that is decidedly more modern of influence and expansive in scope.

Yellow Paper Planes released their debut EP in the Spring of 2015. They are currently working on the followup full length due out sometime in 2016.

Band Members