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Backup Plans


Bolstered by Andy Thompson’s (Taylor Swift, Dan Wilson, Jeremy Messersmith) skilled production, “Backup Plans” exhibits a maturing band exploring their craft in between the nine-to-fives. While still unmistakably The Usual Things, “Backup Plans” breaks new ground with lush keyboard backdrops, string arrangements, and horn sections—hell, there’s even French horn solo hiding in there somewhere.

Finding the balance between their musical ambitions and the day-to-day hustle means capturing inspirations where they appear. For singer / songwriter Aaron Shekey, this meant embracing his backup plan—a startup building apps for musicians. “This entire record was written using Hum, an app I’ve created for collecting songwriting ideas. Every iteration of every song. Cover-to-cover.” He continues, “Hum has changed the band’s songwriting process... allowing us to explore new ideas, both sonically and lyrically.”

Bringing fully-formed ideas to the studio allowed the five-piece to record live, warts and all, in a new process for the band. Drummer Layne Knutson explains, “We found an energy on these songs we weren’t always able to capture in our other records, the five us in the same room feeding off each other.” Guitarist Dan Braak adds, “We’ve finally matched our live show.”

  1. The Inbetweens
  2. Beginner's Luck
  3. Sweet, Sweet Crazy Love
  4. Tumblin'
  5. Plans
  6. How Their Life Goes
  7. Lilacs
  8. The Ground
  9. Wherever She Pleases
  10. Coffee & Cold Showers