Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Watch Out For Rockets

Watch Out For Rockets has been inundating the Austin recording space since 2009's "Let Me Levitate" release, with their high-rock, lo-fi, punkish-pop sound, and have since edged up to the ever-undulating edge of national recognition: Check out the "5 bands to watch" list on Indie Rock Cafe (about half-way down).

Stylistically, they have free range over the genre map; having produced killer tracks in genres from pop to rock to jazz and yep, even a touch 'o country.

That's the bass player, Lucas Urbanski, on the left. Next to him is drummer Richard Galloway, and that's Aaron Rimbey on the far right. The chief songwriter and architect is David T. Jones, the second guy from the right; the fella with the guitar in this pic:
We've already mentioned Jones' involvement with Murdocks, and we've penned an in-depth article about him on Unsigned the Magazine's site (you can check it out here). In short, WOFR has a hardcore blue-collar mentality about their art; cranking out clever, deep, yet accessible releases at a furious pace; as if their time on earth is short. 

Exhibit A: The brilliant "Telepathic War Machine" is released 11/17/10:

Exhibit B: The instant-classic "13 Days of Christmas" is released less than a month later on 12/13/10 (un-mastered, and in incremental installments, granted. But still.):

Notice that these Christmas songs are not merely covers - We're talking fit-to-order compositions on the Christmas theme, done up in Watch Out For Rocket style; clever lyrics, engaging melodies and iconic riffs skewering our culture's Holiday Season conventions. 

Their sound of choice, garage-band-ish lo-fi, makes this possible - They record on a 4-track in Jones' home, embracing the hiss and background ambient noise that most bands eschew. This is why they get slapped with the "punk" moniker, despite the pop-leaning construction of their tracks (which can easily be mistaken for unplugged tape of the Beach Boys).

But it's exactly this scratchy, lo-fi motif that highlights their compositional and performance chops - The human ear will automagically filter out what it deems "noise", thus bringing sharper focus on the melodic organization of what's going through the pipes.
But this isn't just sleight of hand.  Check out "Go Turbo" from the "Shaman Shit" EP to hear some straight-up pop, framed with screeching guitars:

Now the same motif, same EP, but with a different genre:  Check out the folksy, country touch of "Alex Chilton":

We could embed 10 more tracks, but the point is made: The recording process can't hide the lights of one of Austin's most prolific, versatile, and accessible bands. Rumor has it that they start recording their next release in May, in a full-on, crystal-clear, studio setting: We're curious as to why they'd go to a studio, but we're blazing with optimism about what we'll end up with -The aforementioned "Telepathic War Machine" is a tough act to follow, but Jones and Co. have consistently delivered better-than-the-last-one releases since "Let Me Levitate" made it's splash.

Faced with a healthy library of content to pick from, and since we've already embedded their last two releases, we'll end this piece with their latest music vid, of a song from "Beasts with Hearts of Gold", starring the irrepressible Tim Sweeney:

Follow up with Watch Out For Rockets on Facebook, Tumblr, BandCamp, and Home Base.

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