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Not A Bad First Day For The Rocket Summer's Of Men And Angels...

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In the upcoming issue of the

Observer

, I spend some time with Grapevine native Bryce Avary, better known to most as the guy behind

The Rocket Summer

. And, as you'll see in the piece, it's a slightly different Avary we're seeing this time around: He's older, wiser, and, maybe most surprising of all, not really as chipper as you'd expect.

His new album, Of Men and Angels, out today, reflects as much with its epic arena-ready sound. It's still plenty poppy--lead singe "You Gotta Believe," as seen in the above video, certainly showcases this--but it's a little less happy-go-lucky than his previous output. As Avary explains in our interview, getting this record ready for release was a pretty frustrating task, thanks to everything from writing a record to follow-up the disappointing sales of 2007's Do You Feel? to waiting a year for his Island/Def Jam label to get around to releasing his new work. And, yeah, he was a little worried about where it would all lead.

Today, it seems, most of his worries were for naught: As this post is being written, Avary's newest disc, his fourth full-length and second on a major label, sits at No. 4 on the iTunes download chart. Not too shabby a start, I'd say.

Whether it stays there is the question, though--and we'll no doubt let you know how the record does as the week goes on, when we return to the topic in anticipation of his Friday night CD release show at the Granada. Why return? Well, because, though it didn't make it in the paper write-up, Avary has some interesting thoughts worth sharing on all the mall-punk acts around the region that look up to him like some sort of hero. After all, he was the first to break out of that oh-so-interesting regional scene...

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