By Cynthia Gross
This reading of Alchemical Records content provides a multimedia experience for our audience while increasing the accessibility of our content to persons with hearing loss, low vision, dyslexia, physical or motor disabilities, or are on the autism spectrum.
D.C.-based punk rock band Smokin’ on Planes is set to release their latest single, “Oblivion,” on January 12. Alchemical Records is excited to premiere the song ahead of its official release. With its driving electric energy and melodic timbre, “Oblivion” gives listeners a window into the unfiltered emotions of the song’s protagonist who is battling disillusionment in the face of a world that never slows down. It’s okay to not be okay, and there’s something intrinsically cathartic in admitting that.
Nick Galasso, songwriter and guitarist for Smokin’ on Planes, notes “Oblivion” was inspired by the passing of a dear friend, who he describes as “the love of my life,” as well as a subsequent move with his partner from D.C. to Delaware during the height of the pandemic.
“I think the double whammy of losing my good friend and the move really threw me for a loop,” he explains. “The song tries to capture the feeling of the dark in-between places. The word ‘oblivion’ really captures much of my emotional state these days. I feel like I’m everywhere and nowhere at the same time.”
“Here we are / Aliens in this place / It’s so hard / To recognize your face,” Galasso and guest vocalist Brittany Bennett of Little Synth Band sing in the song’s chorus. The upbeat nature of the musical composition juxtaposed with the bleak subject matter create a tension that effectively captures the sentiment of disconnect and disassociation. Raucous guitars and an up-tempo rhythm section provide a welcome dose of light-heartedness that feels buoyant.
Fans of the Go-Go’s, Elvis Costello, and Dinosaur Jr. will identify with Smokin’ on Planes’ versatile, spirited sound and timeless exploration of themes surrounding the human existence.
“On a darken road / Far from civilization / The wretched future pulls us forward,” Galasso sings in the opening line of “Oblivion.” Despite the inevitable uncertain future for world-weary travelers, Smokin’ on Planes’ outlook looks decidedly bright.
With its new lineup, Smokin’ on Planes has experienced what Galasso describes as a “rebirth” and the band’s best season ever. In addition to Nick Galasso, the band consists of lead guitarist Allen Mosenkis, bassist Ben Dennisen, and drummer Ryan Damico.
“I was stubbornly committed to the ‘power trio’ for a while,” admits Galasso. “And while I love a great three-piece, this just works so much better. The guys in the band are also just excellent human beings, and they bring their own strengths that complement what we’re trying to do.”
And we quite agree. If “Oblivion” is any indication, Smokin’ on Planes has demonstrated its ability to both set and deliver on high expectations, and they’re just getting started. Stay tuned for Smokin’ on Planes’ exciting collection of upcoming releases, and go see them live at a show near you.
This track has been added to our Alchemical Weekly YouTube Playlist.
Cynthia Gross is a freelance writer and award-winning spiritual pop artist based in Maryland. With more than a decade of experience as an executive ghostwriter, she understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.
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Soft Punch, aka Rye Thomas, of Washington D.C. released his debut album, Above Water on September 15th, after years of working on it.
The album is a labor of love that Soft Punch, the stage name of Rye Thomas, has been working on for years since the diagnosis of his chronic illness. It takes you through the highs and lows, mourning the freedom lost, and celebrating the things that he is grateful for in his day to day life. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him about his process of writing the album.
The titles of albums are the first thing that an artist sees. That, and the artist’s name. When I first heard the name ‘Soft Punch’, I was intrigued. It was gentle but intentional. “I don’t know if I had a specific ‘A-ha, Lightbulb’ moment, but I was interested in words that sound good together and have multiple meanings,” Thomas said. “It’s a gentle hit, and a nonalcoholic punch. It’s the image of something harsh and something soft is interesting to me. I think I lucked out.”