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The best kept secret in music


"Rockets/Portraits Split EP"

Some albums just make me want to write for pages and pages. They are just packed with so much energy and excitement I could go on for hours explaining and dissecting each track and sound. Some albums on the other hand, I don’t want to write about. It doesn’t mean they are bad or boring (well sometimes it does), but in this case I simply just get too caught up in the music and as I find my self obliviously wandering through catchy courses and delicate chords, I don’t want to stop, open a word doc, and explain. But now I am, so here it is…

First let me introduce you to Rockets!. Rockets! are a local band and fuck am I glad to say that! Barrie’s indie scene is close to inexistent, hardcore and punk bands are in mass production, while real well done experimental music seems to be lacking. But that’s not even the point; the point is that these guys rule! Indie pop cuts with long scanty intersections, bubbly melodies, with random hooks, ditzy little guitar riffs that make your heart flutter, -all these aspects collide into nearly epic three minute songs that you wish would never end. Rockets! vocalist, Johno permeates urgent yelps with imagery laden lyrics while second front man, Emmett, adds distinctive and griping back up vocals, sensuous harmonica influence, overtop fast and busy guitar solos. The bass lines are unique and dance able (see “You’d Think Magicians Would Do it”) while the drums take on their own tones and rhythms. Although at times it seems each instrument is playing its own song, if you step back and see it coming together your eyes may water a bit, and your stomach tighten. It’s that good. It’s the type of art music that is not only appealing to the ears but makes any musician listening loathe the three young musicians due to intense jealousy of their talents.

Drummer Zac steps up for a few bold drum fills, but can usually be found shimmering in the background. Rockets! forge themselves a path of their own and don’t really make it easy for critics, when it comes to comparisons. Crashing off-kilter bridges adorn on “MTV Gary Get in Da Pool” while Death Cabish melodies embrace angry bass lines and fancy vocals on “Bacon Bacon (Leaving the Attic.)” It might be a little harder for someone not familiar with new and challenging music to open up to these fun loving tunes but with time, you’ll be smiling, toe tapping, and wondering why we don’t hear music this beautiful and pure very often.

But Rockets! are only half of this album, and to say they are the better half would be out ruling the fact that both the bands on this split, Rockets! and Portraits, put together extremely well done and tight tracks! Portraits has a lot of similar qualities as Rockets! but with a more rock based approach, they seamlessly churn out memorable well put together cuts. Vocalist, Mike Leriche has a comfortable, yet almost generic, sounding voice that sometimes falls in and out of tone and lacks in maintaining pitch, but really that is not a big deal. It would be a big deal if they didn’t know how to write melodies as contagious and uplifting as the ones on “This River” or if drummer, Gary Hampton, didn’t know how to rock his kit with sparkling enhancements to the sturdy instrumentals, but they do, so the fact that the vocals aren’t on their highest rung really doesn’t even provoke much thought. With an inept ability to write clean indie rock, not to mention the stunning production quality on most tracks, Portraits are a band that should be better promoted as their sound is fun and accessible, more so than their album partners, Rockets!

Rockets! sticks to random melodies and instrumentals coming in at all angles, while Protraits keep their sound more focused and make it easier to sing along to! Both bands are amazing in their own right and to see two of the finest locals come together on one album is something no one should miss out on!

Stu and Sam, two robotic characters, are there to narrate the album from track to track and if doesn’t sound rad enough, then I really don’t know what will. I do know that we will see much more from these young musicians in the future as their talents won’t go unnoticed among the masses of Canadian indie lovers..

For something I didn’t really feel like writing about, I sure had a lot to say!

- Sari Delmar (September 06) - Audio Blood Magazine (

"Show Review: DD/MM/YYYY, Rockets! and more in Innisfil, Oct.7th/06"

Sometimes I feel that the words the English language provides us have too many limits. They don’t allow enough feeling to be expressed and I sometimes feel that I say too many great things about too many great bands, and I live in fear of the moment that when something extraordinarily brilliant does take place that I won’t be able to adequately describe it with my words for you, because I say so many bands are “amazing.” How will I be able to depict to you when a band is so fucking insane that they go over and above the words I have been equipped with to write, when they just leave me tripping over my fingers as I type?

Am I confusing you? Because this is a very confusing situation. It really is, and so, I will do with saying that on Saturday, October 7th in a little town on the outskirts of Barrie, Ontario, known as Innisfil, I experienced one of these moments. One of the moments where I knew that no matter how hard I would try to describe it on paper later, it would not serve it justice! I would say that is where music steps in; to take over and fill in the gaps that words just can’t fill themselves. But since I am not a musician or songwriter, I will do my best to explain, but know, some things just can’t be explained until you see them yourself and this feeling and rush is one of them.

Portraits started the show off. The Lion’s Hall is a small building with wooden floors and curtained windows. When it is still light out outside, it is light inside the Lion’s Hall. I am very sorry to admit I didn’t arrive in time to catch Portraits set, I had to work, I know, bad excuse, but I got there as fast as I could. If the broken tambourine particles getting kicked around of the floor can show for anything, they were definitely hinting that I missed out on a great energetic set. Later I was relieved to hear that despite recent rumoring, “We’re not done yet. We’re going to do more recording and play more shows,” Mike, the front man, confirmed about the future of his band. Portraits just recently recorded a split EP with Rockets! which proves their melodic indie rock jams are nothing to be swept aside. They’ve got talent, and unfortunately, I’ve got a shitty job.

The first band I got to see once I arrived was The Germans. There was a fair sized audience made up of the other bands playing, their girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, best friends and a sense of community lurked the room. Despite the sketchy band name, The Germans know their indie rock and they know it well. Juicy chant-able choruses and enraging harmonies were bound together with intense drum smashing. It’s too bad I didn’t hear of the Germans before now as I would have liked to study up on some lyrics pre-show. Singing along would have really pumped me up! It was a nice treat to have them hit up this end of town and I’m sure with some more promotion we will be seeing them around the Canadian indie scene again, hopefully with a new band name!

Next up was one of the two bands I came for (although I knew I would enjoy all of them), Rockets!. The reason I love these cats is very simple, I’ll break it down: (1) Amazing tunes that grab from all areas of the musical spectrum and (2) every show they play will never be the same, yet all of them will be completely erratic and fun. Whether it’s dressing in matching wool sweaters (which inevitably wound up on the ground after the first few songs) or handing out cupcakes at their merch table, Rockets! really like to throw surprise after surprise at audience members. The crowd danced and sung along to the refreshing ‘indie’ (what does indie mean anyways?) and the bland Lion’s Hall I entered at the beginning of the night was starting to change shape and become an extremely great home to amazing music and a very supportive community. When the boys busted out, “The Love of Magic” with its catchy-as-fuck guitar riff and ambitious harmonica parts it hit me: these guys need to be heard. They need to be appreciated. I’ve gotten this feeling from watching other bands before, not too many others, but I do recall watching the Matches back in March and having this revelation, and I remember watching the Meligrove Band in May and feeling this way. Both of those bands are doing pretty sweet so I hope Rockets! can get out there because their talents should NOT be overlooked and any opportunity I get to spread the word of their greatness I will because I genuinely believe it when I say, this band know their shit and can do great things for the world. “Win Hoffman the Iceman” shows that bassist Emmett can shred his vocal chords in a hardcore manner and the guys can break down just as good as they can chill out. Fucking phenomenal.

Many kids in the crowd (which was slowly growing in size) were pretty stoked that the Sourkeys were coming to town. I however, didn’t know much about these cats and when I checked out their Myspace page was only mildly impressed. Perhaps it was that Rockets!, The Germans, and Portraits set the bar too high, but I didn’t find the Sourkeys jaw-dropping in the least bit. Their tunes were well done and the vocals unique and intriguing but something about their whole performance was, well, awkward. The crowd still danced and tambourine-d around and everyone continued on enjoying themselves. I mean, every band that graced that little floor level stage doesn’t have to blow your face off do they? No. Man, expectations suck. I should stop making them.

Well whatever expectations one may have had for the headlining act DD/MM/YYYY (which I did have some, but they were valid because I saw them play in June) they most definitely blew them through the roof. Fuck, I tell ya, bands like DD/MM/YYYY have no right to be making trips to Innisfil on a weekend! We are not worthy of such talent! Electronic madness, trippy vocals, bass pounding, drums dashing, guitars stunning all exploded at once and expelled in a huge vibrant column of noise and pure fucking music. The songs streamed together and each was more explosive than the last. Their set was the most intense and captivating of the night. It was an honor to have them play and it was absolutely beautiful.

There is no need for big clubs, expensive sound systems, or trendy lights when the truth is, real untainted music lies right in our backyards. The purest form of music doesn’t need riches to adorn it, it just simply is what it is. Simply passion-filled and eternally captivating, there is no limits on what sort of worldly issues or problems bands like DD/MM/YYYY or Rockets! can solve. I will once again return to my beginning statement, that the English language does not provide me with the words to express something this brilliant to you. So, I apologize, but to fill that gap, please listen to this music and catch these bands live the first chance you get. No matter what I say here, you can’t experience a night like this until you do, and when you do, you’ll know exactly what to say: Nothing. Music like this speaks for itself.

- Sari Delmar (October 06) - Audio Blood Magazine (


Rockets!/Portraits Split EP (August 2006)
*Full length coming soon!


Feeling a bit camera shy


Rockets! first started one Saturday night at a party where Johno, Emmett, and Zac spent the whole night away from the drunken teenagers discussing music, key changes, how sweet Bear vs. Shark is, or the mad beauty guitar parts in Nighttime Anytime. After that the three decided to jam, and after one jam they decided that it was fun, and worth doing again. So they did it again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

Half of their charm is what music their fresh youth minds allow them to emit, and the other half, the fact they have the singular quality to lift a listener right out of their skin, shake them around, and place them back down gently. The three well-known members have been heading the scene for a while in previous acts, as Johno played in the now deceased Back In The Attic, Emmett turned heads with Tokyo Showdown (also now defunct), and Zac, in the still very alive, Eight Eleven. In the tight music community situated on the outskirts of Barrie, Ontario, Rockets! are nothing less than a super group. The busy musicians played their first show with Rockets! in May 2006 and stunned many of the locals with their newfound love for writing completely different and off-the-wall music. They kept on jamming and playing shows and have just recently recorded a Split CD with indie rockers, Portraits. The Split CD has been released for free download off their Myspace page, and has been receiving a vibrant response. They have played shows with the infamous DD/MM/YYYY, The Sourkeys, The Racket, and many other bands creating an anomaly of divergent art, trying to do something that could, in all honesty, change everything you thought you knew about music.