It seems weird that I need to write a piece previewing this festival, this is the label that brought you Teeth of The Sea, Pigs x7, Hey Colossus, Goat and Gnod. Not to mention Gnoomes and a litany of other great bands. For those who may not know all of these bands, allow me to introduce you to The Best Label in The World: Rocket Recordings via its spectacular roster of insanely brilliant bands.
The most well-known Rocket Recordings band is Goat; a mysterious band in disguise whose mystique and hit songs ‘Run To Your Mama’ and ‘Talk To God’ catapulted them into the stratosphere at the turn of their sophomore album. If you like pop-twinged psychedelic folk music, this is the band for you.
If you like Goat but, don’t know many other Rocket Recordings artists you might like Josefin Öhrn and The Liberation, Flowers Must Die or Julie’s Haircut. These artists kind of stride the same musical landscape on Rocket that Goat do and as is typically the case with a band on Rocket, they’re fucking great. I would also highly recommend Gnoomes whose album Tschak was one of the best releases last year and it nicely straddles the more industrial kraut influenced psyche of Rocket’s roster whilst remaining delightfully melodic and not too heavy for those who are into the brighter side of psyche.
I’m a big proponent of gnarly night owl psyche myself and the first band that I’d say are unmissable heading in that direction are one of Rocket’s longest tenured bands Teeth of The Sea. Teeth of The Sea along with Gnod are the bands that got me into the label in the first place and I’d say that both of them have a track record of consistently and ceaselessly excellent releases. Teeth of The Sea would likely appeal to those of you who aren’t quite ready to cross the line into the netherworld but, at the same time they have an equal measure of blissful electronic music that often feels like a soundtrack to futuristic utopias; whirling machinery and vibrant metropolises adorned in lights and wrapped in a digital blanket of dazzling electronics. And on their other side, it’s almost Philip K Dick-esque dystopian and gnarly as fuck. ‘All My Venom’ is one of the dingiest tracks I heard in 2016 and it features astounding guitar work and masterful use of brass instruments as is essentially a trademark of the group. Teeth of The Sea have transported listeners through a variety of temporal settings over the years but, what has always remained is a solid, inherent character or identity and a maintained standard of greatness throughout.
If we’re gonna get into the dark and dingy, the night owl hymnal, in relation to this festival, then we must discuss the likes of Gum Takes Tooth and Shit and Shine; I would imagine a lot of our readers know Gum Takes Tooth but, if you’re unaware of Shit and Shine, I would add that name to your list of ones to watch. These are the bands for your late night listening, these are the bands for your comedown, these are the bands for when you’re wrecked. When the demon rises in you, dear reader, jam these suckers into your aural orifice like a course of leeches. If you find a frenzy, though, the next set of bands I want to posit to you, are the ones that I actually want to watch live the most because it’s going to be fucking wild.
Hey Colossus released two of the best albums of the year in 2016 with Radio Static High and In Black and Gold (I personally prefer the latter, though it’s tough to choose), whilst I was disappointed with their latest offering, I feel like it’s place in the more jangly side of psyche would excite fans of the bands I discussed earlier in this preview. With that said, I am highly anticipating seeing them live, surprisingly, for the first time. I know we’re gonna get to see loads of great songs from their back catalogue and I’m certain that they’re even more explosive live, which excites me with regards to the latest record.
On the thread of incendiary live bands look no further than Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs I’ve seen them twice now and both gigs were absolutely incredible. Their mix of showmanship, comedy and chaos manifest in Matt Baty’s wild antics are simultaneously so mind-blowing that it’s a little bit overwhelming and so funny it hurts. Both times I saw them was at The Lexington as well, funny enough, although the second time I got paid to watch because I work there now so, that’s cool. I digress. The second time, I was fortunate enough to hear some new material and if you already know the band, let me assure it fucking holds up. Don’t be the person who misses this band, you’ll never live it down.
For me the most vital band in the country and perhaps the world is GNOD. I see them as essential artists, whose creativity and productivity is actually somewhat ineffable in how utterly marvellous it is. They evolve constantly and yet each new sound is magnificent. They’ve pulled off 4-Day Residencies at Roadburn playing a different set every night. They’ve released one of the only great triple albums in history with Infinity Machines, spawning tracks such as ‘Control Systems’ and ‘White Privileged Wank’ in the process. They’ve released two albums last year one with the greatest title of any LP of my lifetime with Just Say No To The Psycho Right Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine that give us not only the song of the year and the album of the year but, also the t-shirt of the year as well and in addition to this they released their inaugural collaboration with Radar Men From The Moon; Temple Ov BBV which was fucking great as well. And now, for the first time ever, they will be playing a set of their greatest hits at Rocket 20 which I’m really hoping will contain ‘Tron’, ‘Genocider’, ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ and all tracks previously mentioned in this paragraph. The festival will technically feature multiple Gnod performances including an electronic set from Ayn Sof and their Temple Ov BBV collaboration set and that alone is worth the price of the weekend pass. If for whatever reason you don’t know Gnod yet, get involved, you’ll be glad you did.
This is the most unmissable festival of the year; get down to The Garage March 9th-11th and celebrate 20 Years of The Best Record Label in The World: Rocket Recordings alongside some great bands and the good folks at Baba Yaga’s Hut.