Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#868 in the Series) is Nomad Planets, You’re Never Alone Until You Panic
This is a piece that I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time. What’s taken so long? That’s an easy one. I love this album so much that I never thought I could do it justice with words. I still don’t think I’ll be able to but I had to make sure that you knew about. You can hear the album its entirety below so even if I slobber and make zero sense at least you can just blow me off and just give it a listen. I also want to thank Mark Mybeck for giving us permission to post the tracks from the album for your enjoyment. You’ll find them below.
The Nomad Planets are based out of Northwest Indiana. The same area that I got my start into the music business when I was a writer for Night Rock News Magazine. That was 1982 and in those days we were constantly getting new releases, promo kits, demos etc. sent our way from not only national acts, but acts from the area as well. There was always something about the local stuff though. You could always tell that it wasn’t national level quality. The locals were trying but in most cases they weren’t there just yet.
My how have times changed. I first heard about this project thought facebook. No surprise there. I guess I was still prejudiced about local acts as I was quite honestly, expecting it to be OK, but nothing special. I wasn’t familiar with them at all. I should have been since this was not their first album but that one’s on me.
It didn’t take me long to see that this was indeed something different. Even the pictures that I saw had a different look to them. There was a professionalism that was shining through already.
The music however… it all really has to come down to the music doesn’t it? Well of course. I dislike trying to give comparisons to a band’s sound. I find it easier and more beneficial to say that if you like “so and so” then there’s a good chance that you’ll like this. In the case for Nomad Planets let’s say that if you like straight forward Midwest root-rockers such as the Wilco, BoDeans, Fire Town, Heartsfield, Mellencamp, The Spanic Boys, etc. then this is for you. Fan’s of The Band would be interested in them as well. If for no other reason that they have good taste.
The most radio-friendly song on You’re Never Alone Until You Panic is “So Good So Far.” This Americana rocker provides an interesting twist on the “boy meets girl” theme. This time our drunken Casanova meets a stranger, a pretty one at that, and finds himself handcuffed to a radiator. “..Small talk starts with “howdy mister” / his knuckles drag along her spine / she tells a joke just above a whisper / they laugh as their fingers intertwine /so good so far /when his skin’s against her skin he remembers how to breathe again / then his eyes begin to open as the room begins to spin / meet the great communicator / coming to at six o five / handcuffed to the radiator / wondering if he’ll make it home alive / so good so far.”
To this day there are two songs that have stayed with me the longest. The first of those being “Life Lingers” which has a sound and feel like it’s directly out of the Levon Helm songbook. It’s complete with fiddle, simple acoustic guitar, a couple harmonies and a nice story line. Mark’s vocals are at their finest on this track.
The other song that just won’t go away is the “The Flood Song.” It’s inspired by the story of Hardy Jackson. He lost his wife Tonette during Hurricane Katrina. I asked Mark about writing this touching piece. “The first verse is my fictional imagining of the beginnings of their relationship.The second verse describes my take on the tragedy during the storm and the third verse is specific to New Orleans during the hurricane. Gretna, by the way, is the town that would not allow people trying to leave New Orleans to cross into their town; they forced them back by gunpoint.”
Oh, you want more rockers? Check out “Underground.” I could swear that I’m hearing Jon Lord’s B3 on that one.
Albums consisting of nothing but cover tunes are all the rage these days, most of them seeing a band pullout 10 favorites and doing nothing but just replaying them note for note. The Nomad Planets include one cover track here which they completely “make their own.” This one track on its own is better than a full album of cover tunes. Here they take Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and give a cool giddyup- Americana tempo that makes it fit perfectly within these originals. Speaking of covering.. other bands should cover Nomad Planet’s originals! One more thing.. if at all possible. Try at least once to sit down and listen to this in one setting all the way through. There’s a flow to the album that makes every song sound better when you approach it with that plan.
I’m really hoping that they release more albums and soon. I don’t think these guys even realize how good they are or will be. This is one of my favorite albums of the decade. Yes, I said that. I hope you listen to it below because it and they really deserve your attention. I also suggest that you look at the links below on where to purchase this project. The hard copy is really a superb package so I’d lean it that direction. You get full lyrical continent which adds extra life to the songs. Keep in mind that the free listen below is not permanent. Support these guys won’t you?!
“The Planets” are Mark Mybeck, Phil Rapchak, John Carpenter and Drew Enselman. Some notable guests include cellist Alison Chesley and violist Inger Petersen Carle (Poi Dog Pondering), drummers Dan Massey (Robbie Fulks/Jon Langford) and Terry Boylan (Big Guitars From Memphis/EricLambert), fiddle player Ken Stone (Chicago Bluegrass Band) along with local musicians Walter Brach and Collin Magdziarz..The album was produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by John Carpenter at Thunderclap Recording in lovely Hammond, Indiana. It was released on The Fairbanks Label. Below photo of Mark Mybeck by Gavin Echterling and of Phil Rapchak by Wes Bushby. Live photo by Aaron Brown.
If you’re anywhere in the Chicagoland area try and see the band at one of their numerous shows that they’ll be playing. “Like” their facebook page to stay abreast as to where they’ll be appearing. Don’t forget to “like” ours as well.
— Larry Carta, Chicago, Illinois, USA
- Here You Are
- So Good So Far
- The Flood Song
- Life Lingers
- Wherever The Wind Blows
- Wish You Were Here
- Walking In Quicksand
- The Liberty Trail
- The Modern Ones
- Mark Mybeck –Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
- Phil Rapchak – Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
- John Carpenter – Guitars, Vocals, Bass
- Drew Enselman – Drums
- Terry Boylan – Drums
- Walter Brach – Piano, Organ, Accordion
- Inger Peterson Carle – Violin
- Alison Chesley – Cello
- Collin Magdziarz – Keyboards
- Dan Massey – Drums
- Mike McGrath – Trumpet
- Carl Meyers – Cowbell
- Mike Mikalunas – Woodblock
- Kenny Stone – Violin
- Nomad Planets facebook, Website, Twitter, Reverbnation
- To Purchase via Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby
- Thunderclap Recording facebook, Website