Rocket Miner
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Rocket Miner

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Post-rock

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Elegy is an album full of contrasts, a work that tightly represents the immense strength of a kind of post-rock that is not tied down to a narrative or to the mechanics of loud and quiet. As its title indicates, it flows like verse, drawing the listener into the moment, creating emotionally charged set-pieces that do not last too long for fear of losing focus. As if it was a minimalist or ambient album, every distortion counts, every little shift in volume drives the music wildly into different states of dramatic sentiment. This is a lament born from a passion for life, a dirge woven from sunlight, a torrential meditation in which the limits of living are played out as uplifting melodies brimming with delay, an echo that appears to remain forever at the same time it appears to dissipate ephemerally.

In descriptions of the band a comparison to Russian Circles has been made, but perhaps a more apt association would be to the likes of Caspian, in the sense that this is post-rock entirely ‘for the heart’, a series of explorations of feeling that do not simplify moods or cling to the clichés of the loud-quiet style as many other bands in the genre tend to do. It is in this way that Rocket Miner avoid the now repetitive raw transition from melodic to noisy, preferring the middle-ground of riffs that evoke an intensity that is not necessarily that of an oceanic emotion. This is much more controlled, and therefore, from a certain point of view, open to a much more powerful kind of expression, the kind that does not paralyze in ecstatic catharsis but moves to the passivity of remembrance, an acceleration of the heart-rate while standing perfectly still as we come to understand the poetic quality of pure feeling, the great creativity of doing nothing other than introspection.

In tracks like “Jejune” there are also subtle hints of bands like Maserati or even The Mercury Program, affirming the expansion of a genre that has been, for a while now, derided for its tendency to repeat itself. Albums like this point at a certain development that cares little for the impatience of novelty-hunters, positioning itself in the thick of a style that never becomes old, that no matter how cruel the demands for its change in direction are, it keeps its youthful sentimentality close, the promise of a feeling so enormous, so personally true that it cannot be contained in any prison of language. This is, then, an Elegy through and through, an exercise in the expression of something as endless as are life and death, their imprint deeply intertwined in every passing moment.

In the end, this is an album for post-rockers; if you’ve ever liked the genre, this is sure to reignite some of that intensity we were all so a part of once, bursting with tremolo emotions that encompassed our whole world. (David Murrieta) - A Closer Listen


Whenever we get post-rock submissions I'm afraid. I'm afraid the shit is going to either ruin the next two weeks of my life because I'll be addicted to it, or it will be so fucking terrible that I'll rue the day and possibly the week I was introduced to it. Rueing is some bitch shit bros. Thankfully Rocker Miner sound fucking phenomenal and it's quite possible that the next few weeks of me life will be Rocket Mined bro. Freal, the drums in this band sound six stories tall and the ethereal ball swangs these fuckers be swangin sound like little individual fight scenes in the motion picture that is my life bro. I'm constantly havin' these fight scenes bro, but they're mostly just topless pillow fights with me and the syffalboyz. MMMMMMental picturemmmmmmmmmm. THWAP. GIGGLE. AWESOME BAND. - SYFFAL


Rocket Miner had been all but declared dead until recently. With nothing but a collection of demos and an EP album both released in 2011, ‘Elegy’ came out of seemingly nowhere. It almost feels like it’s their first album, but let it never be said it feels like an amateur album. I don’t personally know of their musical experience, but they sound like they’ve been doing this for quite some time.

There isn’t any other word for this album except ‘solid.’ The composition isn’t anything that’s breaking new ground, but it’s a very sturdy sense of structure. If they were engineers instead of musicians, they wouldn’t be building exotic skyscrapers. Instead, they would be building bridges that would withstand thousands upon thousands of trucks. Like I said, Solid. But what else would you expect from a band that sounds like Russian Circles’ offspring?

I enjoy my post-rock the same way Frasier enjoys fancy restaurants. He wants it perfect except that one small flaw to hang onto and obsess over. Elegy’s one flaw is how small the band members sound by themselves. When there’s only one instrument playing, it sounds very weak. Of course it sounds better when everyone joins in, but the solo bits are extremely lacking.

What they lack in solos, they make up for with shining examples of each member’s strengths. For example, ‘Jejune’ is a wonderfully sublime track with a bass sound that rumbles in my very soul. I could listen to this track every day of my life and I’d still get excited over the bass. I only wish it were 15 minutes long.

Lastly, a small celebration should be had for this album. While the last track is the longest piece of the album, it doesn’t belong under the ‘crescendo-core’ genre. As I’ve stated in my earlier reviews, ending an album with one large and loud hurrah annoys me to no end. It’s musical masturbation, plain and simple. This single fact makes this album better than most, in my eyes.

All in all, I really enjoy this album a lot, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I. - postrockstar


Coming from the same city that’s home to two post-metal heavy hitters, Russian Circles and Pelican, Chicago’s Rocket Miner have carved a decidedly non-metal niche for themselves within the scene. Their new record, Elegy, is drenched in a shoegazy aesthetic. Solid, but honest production, heavy fuzz, and spindly, clean guitars offer something a little on the lighter side of the genre. I should emphasize, though: a little. This album still rips, and it is by no means quiet.

Perfect examples of this are “And They Can Never Truly Die”, “Captures (The Day)” and the hardest hitting track on the record, “War Room”. From start to finish, the track just absolutely pummels you with sound. All of this cacophony is followed by “Jejune”; a plodding, contemplative track that leads into “Memories Are All We Have Left”. A lone guitar melody starts the track before being joined by drums and a bass line reminiscent of Mogwai’s “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home” before bringing the fuzz. It ends with a clean guitar riff that just oozes a sincere 90’s nostalgia and melancholy. A sudden drum hit is the wake up call that starts “Catalyst”, which foreshadows what it easily the most impressive drumming on the record.

While I loved the heavier tracks on this record as well, the next track has surprisingly become my favorite on the record. “Ember” doesn’t break away from the typical soft-to-loud dynamic, so much as it flips it on its head and turns it around. And it works incredibly well. After the fuzz from the first half of the song breaks, it becomes a quiet, almost emotionally ambiguous tune. Along with clean guitars, the track contains a young girl’s voice as well as her briefly playing a harmonica, all drenched in reverb and far away from the listener. Ranging from bittersweet, to reminiscent, to playful, to absolutely heartbreaking, Rocket Miner manage to use such a wide brush that they’ve painted a track that will almost certainly mean something vastly different to each listener. The album wraps up with “Bemoan”, which ends somewhat abruptly and unresolved, which is fitting, really, for a closing statement to an album called Elegy.

Where Rocket Miner really stand out, not only from their hometown contemporaries, but in the genre as a whole, is their ability to write songs that don’t adhere to some of post-rock’s more tried and true characteristics. Elegy is an album that abstains from typical crescendocore cliches and needless repetition of ideas that don’t offer any real progress. Everything on this album feels like it is meant to be where it is. And it all sounds really, really good. - Postinthename


This past Sunday, the Durfette and I skipped our typical Sunday night routine of looking forward to watching Game of Thrones and then actually watching Game of Thrones to venture out to Chicago's Beat Kitchen to catch the jazz/metal/something stylings of Trioscapes. For those unfamiliar, Trioscapes is a project consisting of bassist Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me), tenor saxaphonist Walter Fancourt (Casual Curious, Brand New Life), and drummer Matt Lynch (Eyns). The band's debut album Separate Realities is one of the Durfette's favorite metal-ish records, so when I saw the band would be in our neck of the woods, getting tickets was a no-brainer.

I had never been to the Beat Kitchen, and it turned out to be a perfect venue for the show. The bar in front served up some frosty pints of Great Lakes Brewing's Rye of the Tiger, while the music venue in back was small enough to feel intimate, yet large enough to not make the crowd resemble a packed sardine can. The Durfette and I decided to get there early to catch the opening band, which was a very wise choice.

Rocket Miner is a band from Brutalitopia's native Chicago, and after seeing them live, I am filled with shame at not discovering them earlier. The band plays a style of instrumental post-rock/shoegaze, which makes it easy to lump them in with fellow Chicago bands Russian Circles and Pelican, along with a touch of Explosions in the Sky. I have no idea what five or six songs they played, but I was hooked from their opening number, as light guitar melodies danced and played below crushing riffs, backed by the intense drumming of Matt Biancardi (who at one point went so hard he knocked over a piece of his kit). I honestly can't remember the last time an opening band knocked me off my feet like this; Rocket Miner is definitely on their way to being something huge, so do yourself a favor and jump on the train now by listening to their new full-length Elegy, embedded below, and then picking it up for yourself here.

After Rocket Miner, I was definitely feeling amped and ready for Trioscapes, although I will admit to having some small doubts as to whether they could trump their openers. An hour later, after their set, I was reminded of that all too familiar lesson as always: I am a fool. Opening with a new song from their upcoming album, Trioscapes absolutely killed it. Briggs' bass grooved in and out of Fancourt's fluttery sax, while Lynch kept everything grounded with rock solid drumming. I don't listen to a lot of jazz, but I know enough to know that timing is exceptionally important, and Trioscapes timing was flawless. In addition to the unnamed new song, the band played two more off their new record: the title track "Digital Dream Sequence," and "Hysteria." Both songs sound like a continuation of what the band did on Separate Realities, blending jazz, metal, and experimental music in a way that makes it nearly impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. Because of this show, Digital Dream Sequence has skyrocketed up my list of anticipated albums for the year. Check out a live video of their track "Curse of the Ninth" below.

This was one of the more enjoyable concerts I've seen recently, and I think it's very possible that I've never seen two more talented bands play to fewer people; I doubt there were fifty people inside the venue. I fully expect that the next time I venture out to see either band, that number will have grown, so if you get the opportunity to see Trioscapes on tour or Rocket Miner in Chicago (and hopefully on tour at some point), seize the opportunity. You won't be disappointed. - Brutalitopia


Editors notes. If readers get confused about whether a newspaper or band is being discussed the following rule should clear it up. The band Rocket Miner has no dash in the name while the newspaper Rocket-Miner does.

Forsaking vocals and relying on their instrumental prowess Chicago musicians Chip Wortel, Larry Hyrn, Chris Ruffolo, Johnny Kullman and Nick Biscardi form the band Rocket Miner.

For Southwest Wyoming residents this can cause a second take.

Who would name a rock band after a newspaper?

It turns out that the band and the newspaper both came up with their names independently.

During its early history Rock Springs Wyoming had two newspapers: the Sunday Rock Springs Miner and the Daily Rock Springs Rocket.

The two papers merged to create the Daily Rocket-Miner, a name that was later shortened to the Rocket-Miner during a 2008 redesign that brought the paper into its current incarnation.

Serving Southwest Wyoming, the Rocket-Miner newspaper covers government issues, crimes, cultural events, education, and any other topic of interest to the readership while employing 45 people in the community in jobs ranging from journalism to advertising, printing, and delivery.

The band Rocket Miner's name comes from a more informal process.

BAND

Rocket Miner founders Wortel and Hyrn came together to create a new band. The duo knew each other since their high school days. Biscardi and Kullman joined the group after answering want ads. Guitarist Ruffolo added the final element when he joined in January 2011.

Wortel and Hyrn were both mulling over names for their creation. Wortel's ideas were based on the word Rocket, while Hyrn had started toying with ideas based on the word Miner. Rather than try to convert each other, they put the concepts together and chose the name Rocket Miner.

"From the standpoint of the name having some meaning, we feel it captures some of imagery/motifs our sound fits with. Plus it sounds pretty cool, too. Isn't looking/sounding cool the reason people become rock stars in the first place?" Biscardi said.

Rocket Miner's sound is as eclectic as its members, who draw their inspiration from a variety of genres and groups.

"We're all products of different musical styles/scenes. Some of us come from radio rock, some from more punk and hard core, but it's certainly fun to play with a group of guys as eclectic as this. When we're writing together, it really opens the rest of us up to something we may not have ever considered. It's amazing when someone you feel in line with approaches a song from a totally different angle," according to Biscardi.

Wortel describes the Rocket's sound this way "Well first of all music today has many main genres and then a sub genre of that genre and a sub genre of that genre. So our main genre is rock, and the sub genre of that is indie rock and the sub genre of that is experimental rock or … (most bands in this genre hate to use it) ... AKA Post-Rock. Basically since we're a instrument rock band it leaves the door wide open for song structures, on basic fundamentals or intricacy, instead of the typical verse chorus verse song structure. We're able to focus strictly on the instruments while layering with tons of effect pedals."

The group is putting out an album titled "Songs For An October Sky" on Oct. 4 and its first tour is scheduled for Oct. 6-8. "It's just a short, 'weekend warrior' trip, but it'll be good to see how the five of us travel together. We've not gotten out of Chicago to flex our travel muscles yet. Just three cities (Chicago, Saint Louis, Columbus Ohio) are scheduled, but we'll be hitting the road with label mates and some good friends of ours in Old Worlds from Columbus. Nick produced a few songs with them over the summer for a split EP they did with our label Jacuzzi Suit. It'll be difficult to plan a real extensive tour schedule since we all have jobs/school and wives/lives here in Chicago, but it's definitely in the back of our minds to try and travel some more. Hopefully we survive this first one."

The band is a labor of love, according to Biscardi. "Rocket Miner is in no way a means to financial end. In a sense, it's felt like a full-time job for the better part of a year now, what with gigging and writing and all the behind-the-scenes activities, but you've got to go out and live it for a long while (sometimes even longer than that) before you start to see any kind of monetary return."

Rocket Miner's members seem to be happy with their status as an instrumental group.

"The new EP is called 'Songs For An October Sky' is due out October 4, 2011 on Jacuzzi Suit. We hope to get started on writing a full-length album when we return from that small/quick tour, and continue to work our asses off gigging at home in the meantime. We love to meet cool people, we'll play a show with anyone, but please don't tell us we "could really use a singer, dude." Biscardi concluded. - The Rocket-Miner


Editors notes. If readers get confused about whether a newspaper or band is being discussed the following rule should clear it up. The band Rocket Miner has no dash in the name while the newspaper Rocket-Miner does.

Forsaking vocals and relying on their instrumental prowess Chicago musicians Chip Wortel, Larry Hyrn, Chris Ruffolo, Johnny Kullman and Nick Biscardi form the band Rocket Miner.

For Southwest Wyoming residents this can cause a second take.

Who would name a rock band after a newspaper?

It turns out that the band and the newspaper both came up with their names independently.

During its early history Rock Springs Wyoming had two newspapers: the Sunday Rock Springs Miner and the Daily Rock Springs Rocket.

The two papers merged to create the Daily Rocket-Miner, a name that was later shortened to the Rocket-Miner during a 2008 redesign that brought the paper into its current incarnation.

Serving Southwest Wyoming, the Rocket-Miner newspaper covers government issues, crimes, cultural events, education, and any other topic of interest to the readership while employing 45 people in the community in jobs ranging from journalism to advertising, printing, and delivery.

The band Rocket Miner's name comes from a more informal process.

BAND

Rocket Miner founders Wortel and Hyrn came together to create a new band. The duo knew each other since their high school days. Biscardi and Kullman joined the group after answering want ads. Guitarist Ruffolo added the final element when he joined in January 2011.

Wortel and Hyrn were both mulling over names for their creation. Wortel's ideas were based on the word Rocket, while Hyrn had started toying with ideas based on the word Miner. Rather than try to convert each other, they put the concepts together and chose the name Rocket Miner.

"From the standpoint of the name having some meaning, we feel it captures some of imagery/motifs our sound fits with. Plus it sounds pretty cool, too. Isn't looking/sounding cool the reason people become rock stars in the first place?" Biscardi said.

Rocket Miner's sound is as eclectic as its members, who draw their inspiration from a variety of genres and groups.

"We're all products of different musical styles/scenes. Some of us come from radio rock, some from more punk and hard core, but it's certainly fun to play with a group of guys as eclectic as this. When we're writing together, it really opens the rest of us up to something we may not have ever considered. It's amazing when someone you feel in line with approaches a song from a totally different angle," according to Biscardi.

Wortel describes the Rocket's sound this way "Well first of all music today has many main genres and then a sub genre of that genre and a sub genre of that genre. So our main genre is rock, and the sub genre of that is indie rock and the sub genre of that is experimental rock or … (most bands in this genre hate to use it) ... AKA Post-Rock. Basically since we're a instrument rock band it leaves the door wide open for song structures, on basic fundamentals or intricacy, instead of the typical verse chorus verse song structure. We're able to focus strictly on the instruments while layering with tons of effect pedals."

The group is putting out an album titled "Songs For An October Sky" on Oct. 4 and its first tour is scheduled for Oct. 6-8. "It's just a short, 'weekend warrior' trip, but it'll be good to see how the five of us travel together. We've not gotten out of Chicago to flex our travel muscles yet. Just three cities (Chicago, Saint Louis, Columbus Ohio) are scheduled, but we'll be hitting the road with label mates and some good friends of ours in Old Worlds from Columbus. Nick produced a few songs with them over the summer for a split EP they did with our label Jacuzzi Suit. It'll be difficult to plan a real extensive tour schedule since we all have jobs/school and wives/lives here in Chicago, but it's definitely in the back of our minds to try and travel some more. Hopefully we survive this first one."

The band is a labor of love, according to Biscardi. "Rocket Miner is in no way a means to financial end. In a sense, it's felt like a full-time job for the better part of a year now, what with gigging and writing and all the behind-the-scenes activities, but you've got to go out and live it for a long while (sometimes even longer than that) before you start to see any kind of monetary return."

Rocket Miner's members seem to be happy with their status as an instrumental group.

"The new EP is called 'Songs For An October Sky' is due out October 4, 2011 on Jacuzzi Suit. We hope to get started on writing a full-length album when we return from that small/quick tour, and continue to work our asses off gigging at home in the meantime. We love to meet cool people, we'll play a show with anyone, but please don't tell us we "could really use a singer, dude." Biscardi concluded. - The Rocket-Miner


It's rare that you find a debut EP quite so tremendous as Rocket Miner's Songs for an October Sky. Many bands, if breaking into the world with a shorter recording, use the space as a playing ground for the first tentative incarnations of their sound. But not this post-rock ensemble. They aren't out to dabble. They're out to wreck you with marrow-rattling resonance.

As far as post-rock goes, Rocket Miner's is a distinctly tight breed. We get some Mogwai-like dynamics--you know, the good Mogwai, before they started mucking about with this cheery, synthy, clever business, back when they were too busy pounding you in the ear with riffs the size of monuments. Think "Like Herod" and how it lulls you into a false calm only to blast you out of it as soon as you feel safe. Rocket Miner achieves and retains that edge, that ease of shift. They'll just as soon cradle you in sheets of gentle ambiance as they will tear you apart with monstrous guitar swells.

This EP, brief (in post-rock terms) as it may be, simply does not let up. Except for one 47-second interlude--something of an odd break between acts that sounds like an intercepted alien radio signal--October Sky suspends a continuous sense of jaw-grinding urgency. Like early Godspeed, Rocket Miner entertain a military flair. The drums keep a marching tempo on the snare, a sound maybe extracted from our collective memories of dour civil war scenes. But unlike Godspeed of any vintage, Rocket Miner aren't interested in creating enormous avant-garde sweeps. There are no samples, no thickly-spoken bad prose over the opening movements. The record concerns itself only with texture and songcraft--and it breaks ground in both.

Every full song on the EP demonstrates a secure command on sound control. Guitars and synths mesh together to paint warm and lonely scenery. October Sky never ceases to be sonically rich, from its ribbed backdrop riffs to its fiery leads. And the melodies inside those textures are often almost unbearably lovely as they alternate between mournful and aggressive modes.

If you find yourself missing the adrenaline rush of Young Team-era Mogwai, Songs for an October Sky will do well to fill that void and then some. It's a thoroughly intense journey packed into an EP's length, all rendered with audiophilic attention to tone and detail. The EP is out now on Jacuzzi Suit Records and can be purchased (for a pay-what-you-will deal) from Rocket Miner's Bandcamp. - Windy City Rock


It's rare that you find a debut EP quite so tremendous as Rocket Miner's Songs for an October Sky. Many bands, if breaking into the world with a shorter recording, use the space as a playing ground for the first tentative incarnations of their sound. But not this post-rock ensemble. They aren't out to dabble. They're out to wreck you with marrow-rattling resonance.

As far as post-rock goes, Rocket Miner's is a distinctly tight breed. We get some Mogwai-like dynamics--you know, the good Mogwai, before they started mucking about with this cheery, synthy, clever business, back when they were too busy pounding you in the ear with riffs the size of monuments. Think "Like Herod" and how it lulls you into a false calm only to blast you out of it as soon as you feel safe. Rocket Miner achieves and retains that edge, that ease of shift. They'll just as soon cradle you in sheets of gentle ambiance as they will tear you apart with monstrous guitar swells.

This EP, brief (in post-rock terms) as it may be, simply does not let up. Except for one 47-second interlude--something of an odd break between acts that sounds like an intercepted alien radio signal--October Sky suspends a continuous sense of jaw-grinding urgency. Like early Godspeed, Rocket Miner entertain a military flair. The drums keep a marching tempo on the snare, a sound maybe extracted from our collective memories of dour civil war scenes. But unlike Godspeed of any vintage, Rocket Miner aren't interested in creating enormous avant-garde sweeps. There are no samples, no thickly-spoken bad prose over the opening movements. The record concerns itself only with texture and songcraft--and it breaks ground in both.

Every full song on the EP demonstrates a secure command on sound control. Guitars and synths mesh together to paint warm and lonely scenery. October Sky never ceases to be sonically rich, from its ribbed backdrop riffs to its fiery leads. And the melodies inside those textures are often almost unbearably lovely as they alternate between mournful and aggressive modes.

If you find yourself missing the adrenaline rush of Young Team-era Mogwai, Songs for an October Sky will do well to fill that void and then some. It's a thoroughly intense journey packed into an EP's length, all rendered with audiophilic attention to tone and detail. The EP is out now on Jacuzzi Suit Records and can be purchased (for a pay-what-you-will deal) from Rocket Miner's Bandcamp. - Windy City Rock


Discography

(2011) "Songs For An October Sky" [EP]

Photos

Bio

Coming from the same city that’s home to two post-metal heavy hitters, Russian Circles and Pelican, Chicago’s Rocket Miner have carved a decidedly non-metal niche for themselves within the scene. Where Rocket Miner really stand out, not only from their hometown contemporaries, but in the genre as a whole, is their ability to write songs that don’t adhere to some of post-rock’s more tried and truecharacteristics. But while Russian Circles and Pelican take darker turns and incorporate metal-esque riffing, Rocket Miner's songs tend to blossom in slow-motion, like flowers blooming, giving plenty of time to allow the sweeping grandeur to earn its reward.

Band Members