The Plastic Constellations
By: Christine Richmond
Most of us spent ninth grade playing Nintendo and eating Funyuns, but the Plastic Constellations were busy forming a band and honing their fist-pumping brand of rock. They set their sights higher than the school talent show, too: The teens were picked to open for slowcore greats Low as 15-year-olds and completed a full-length LP right around the time they graduated from high school.
It’s been ten years since the Plastic Constellations got started, and they’re still earning their keep with an anthemic fusion of hardcore, emo, and arena rock, and kinetic live shows. The volcanoes, lighting storms, and other natural disasters on the cover of Crusades, their third album, hint at what’s inside: ten fierce songs — all less than four minutes long — imbued with hardship, combat, and, ultimately, redemption. “Sometimes the land tends to crumble and we’re forced to crawl on our fists,” Aaron Mader sings on “Best Things,” a tune that’s flush with frequent tempo shifts and intricate dueling guitar work punctuated by chord bursts, furious drumming, and an abundance of youthful energy.
This intensity carries over to the lyrics — sometimes. “These songs were forged in the fires / They were scorched by the flames,” Mader proclaims on “Ghost in the House,” but “Belly of the Beast” depicts the band as knights in armor preparing to battle a ferocious dragon. If this sounds too Dio-esque, keep in mind that the Plastic Constellations are (mostly) joking around. It’s just that rock music is as exhilarating and fun for them as it was when they were 15.
The Plastic Constellations tour dates:
2/1, Washington, DC (The Black Cat)* 2/2, Chapel Hill, NC (Local 506)*2/3, Athens, GA (Tasty World)*2/4, Atlanta, GA (The Earl)*2/6, St. Augustine, FL (Cafe Eleven)*2/7, Gainesville, FL (The Covered Dish)*2/8, Orlando, FL (The Social)*2/9, Tampa, FL (The Masquerade)*2/10, Tallahassee, FL (The Beta Bar)*2/11, Baton Rouge, LA (Spanish Moon)*2/13, Houston, TX (Walter’s on Washington)*2/14, Denton, TX (Hailey’s)*2/15, Austin, TX (Emo’s [Indoors])*2/16, Lawrence, KS (Replay Lounge)2/17, St. Louis, MO (Lemp Arts)2/18, Iowa City, IA (Gabe’s Oasis)3/10, Milwaukee, WI (Onopa Brewing Company)#3/11, Richmond, IN (Earlham College)3/12, Chicago, IL (Beat Kitchen)3/13, Des Moines, IA (Vaudeville Mews)3/15-3/17, Austin, TX (SXSW festival)3/18, Las Cruces, NM (The Club)3/19, Tucson, AZ (Vaudeville Cabaret)3/20, Phoenix, AZ (Rhythm Room)3/21, Los Angeles, CA (Knitting Factory)3/22, San Francisco, CA (The Elbo Room)3/24, Portland, OR (The Food Hole)3/26, Seattle, WA (The Fun House)4/21, Northfield, MN (The Cave)(* w/ The Hold Steady)(# w/ Thunderbirds are Now & Rahim)