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Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0

Kyle Reid & the Low Swinging Chariots - “When I Was Young”

Every artist should be the star of their own creative life, which makes Kyle Reid’s steps out of the shadows of the many ensembles and supporting roles he has played in Oklahoma bands over the years to front and center on stage feel like a just journey.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Blasting off


Oklahoma, we have no problem. The Rockettops are ready to soar into space from their launchpad at ACM@UCO.

Joshua Boydston February 16th, 2011

The Rockettops with fos and Matt Stansberry Band
7 p.m. Saturday
ACM@UCO Performance Lab, 323 E. Sheridan
acm-uco.com,974-4700
$6

ACM@UCO is not quite 2 years old, but it’s already paying dividends for its students. See The Rockettops, an indie-rock quartet taking what its players have learned and packaging it into a model for other students to follow.

Singer Jordan Smith, bassist Michael Bewley and guitarist Earl Moreno met at the school and formed the band last summer with drummer Mark Quenzer. Despite being together less than a year, The Rockettops are releasing their debut EP, the appropriately titled “Blast Off,” on Saturday at the school’s Performance Lab; each ticketholder gets the CD for free. Peg the quick progress to school spirit.

“We are there for music, and we all have this common focus,” Bewley said. “The idea that we all want to pursue music professionally has really bonded us together.”

For most in the game of rock, it’s all about coming across as doing as little as possible, whether they are working their asses of or not. But the guys of The Rockettops are up front — and proud — of all the work, time and money they’ve put in. They are quite conscious of the demands involved with being a successful band, and The Rockettops are very much interested in being successful.

“Really, bands are small businesses, and sometimes, you need to think of it that way,” Bewley said. “It’s marketing and getting yourself out there and finding a way to get a return on your investment.”

They’ve been conscious of marketing and branding every step of the way, reading up on the theory behind band names and double-checking to make sure URLs would be available for their choice. They’ve paid top dollar for photos, graphics, recording and design in the mind-set that a group should dress for the gig it wants, not the one it has.

“Everything we do, we make it look as though it’s professional,” Moreno said. “We are working toward the next step, and we don’t want to settle for anything less than what we can do, and that’s helped us a lot.”

Bewley added, “If people see us, go look at our website or photos, and it all looks the same caliber as Lady Gaga’s stuff, then we’ve done a good job,” Bewley said.

Really, bands are small businesses.

—Michael Bewley

“I feel like we dress a little crazier, though,” Quenzer said.

The Rockettops play an unabashedly poppy and accessible brand of indie rock that recalls the radiofriendly bands they draw influences from, including Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay and Muse. It’s passionate, uplifting and meant to evoke a feeling that all their work is done in good spirit and faith.

“The bigger we get, the more people we can reach,” Smith said. “We love music, we love making it and we all enjoy positively impacting people’s lives in whatever way. We just want to lift people up, whether it’s through a song’s message or watching us perform. That’s a common goal between all of us.”

 
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