New Music Tuesday: The Rocket Summer

Even though Ryan Seacrest wasn’t blaring it all over Top 40 radio, The Rocket Summer’s “So Much Love” was one of my favorite songs of 2007. At the time I had no idea it was just one guy—a long-haired whippersnapper named Stephen Bryce Avary—handling all the all instruments, but it was catchy as hell, really energetic, and overwhelmingly positive. I thought to myself, “This is great stuff,” and the track got an exclusive spot on my Shuffle for pretty much the rest of the year.

The Rocket SummerBut then I forgot about it. You know how it is—songs that aren’t force-fed to you via repetitive radio play can sometimes get lost in the shuffle (so to speak), and with the amount of music I personally listen to, it was just sorta bound to happen. It won’t be the last time I forget about a group, but it also won’t be the last time a new album reminds me that I really, really like them.

So it goes with The Rocket Summer, whose new album, “Of Men and Angels,” brings a lot of the same things to the table I enjoyed so fervently with “So Much Love.” Avary’s grown up quite a bit in the last few years though (evidenced by cutting off several inches of his blonde mop and adding a Jack-from-“Lost” five o’clock shadow to his previously clean-shaven mug), and the new music shows how solid a grasp he’s gotten on writing tunes that’ are going to relate with fans.

The video for “You Gotta Believe,” for example, draws on fans’ webcam videos, used throughout the video. FS’s favorite cuts from the album include the slow-then-fast “Hills and Valleys,” as well as “I Need a Break” and “Hey!” The whole record, however, is very upbeat and playful, both musically and lyrically. Avary’s voice is one of those powerful, high-toned wails that comes off really strong despite not being anything even remotely close to classically trained, and the fact that he plays every single instrument you hear on the album just adds that much credibility to the guy.

As it turns out, I love The Rocket Summer, and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to forget about him this time. I’ve also gone back and re-added “So Much Love” to the ol’ playlist. It’s a damn fine song, as are the fifteen new ones on “Of Men and Angels.” So screw Ryan Seacrest. You don’t need him to tell you what good music is.

That’s what Fresh Scouts is for.

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The Rocket Summer - Of Men and Angels

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About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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