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ROOKIE Album cover art
2020
| BS 723
$10.95

ROOKIE

DEBUT ALBUM FROM CHICAGO ROCK-N-ROLLERS ROOKIE

Deluxe LP is limited edition 180g gold flecked vinyl LP. Standard is 180g black. Pressed locally at Smashed Plastic. Includes digital download.

Bundle with exclusive t-shirt HERE!

ROOKIE’s modern take on timeless American rock ‘n’ roll pulls from all corners of the sonic map; it’s familiar but fresh, lived-in but blown-out. It’s the ‘70s/’80s pop-rock sheen of recent tour-mates Cheap Trick; 3-minute precision songwriting of Big Star; loose Neil Young Americana; and the hazey, psych-flavored boogie of The Allman Brothers and Thin Lizzy.

Full Description

ROOKIE is six matching jumpsuit-clad, shaggy-haired friends from Chicago who play rock-n-roll that’s more at home next to their parents’ battered LPs than on their friends’ streaming playlists. The band’s self-titled debut full-length album deftly reformats the classic rock landscape with blowtorch hooks, enthralling harmonies, evocative touches of cosmic country, and distinctively indie-minded songwriting.

ROOKIE’s modern take on timeless American rock ‘n’ roll pulls from all corners of the sonic map; it’s familiar but fresh, lived-in but blown-out. It’s the ‘70s/’80s pop-rock sheen of recent tour-mates Cheap Trick; 3-minute precision songwriting of Big Star; loose Neil Young Americana; and the hazey, psych-flavored boogie of The Allman Brothers and Thin Lizzy. Though barely able to comfortably fit on most stages, once they’re plugged in and smooshed together, it’s a potent blend of power chords, blistering leads, and performance prowess beyond their years.

Like local peers Twin Peaks, Whitney, and Post Animal, ROOKIE emerged from an idealistic grassroots, Midwestern, youth community-centric, DIY scene. House shows and divey all-ages venues were the preeminent performance spaces and rock-n-roll was once again king. There is an all-inclusive and carefree essence surrounding the band, as well as their audience, reminiscent of the wide-eyed drive and sense of purpose of an underdog sports team or—more appropriately, given their coveralls—a Formula 1 pit crew. 

That cooperative vibe is most clear in their balanced attack, each of the six members bringing a signature part of the layered sound from song to song. “Hold On Tight” bashes down the door with a deceptively simple AC-to-the-DC riff, but the three-headed guitar monster attack of Dimitri Panoutsos, Christopher Devlin, and Max Loebman takes the standby arena rock formula to wild new places. In “Sunglasses,” Loebman’s lead vocals evince an ethereally sunny pop disposition, which he later strips down to great effect, just his upper register and acoustic guitar, for the stark “Elementary Blues.” Throughout the album’s 12 tracks, the rhythm section of Joe Bordenaro on drums, Kevin Decker on bass, and Justin Bell on keys establishes a groove-meets-power foundation. On several songs, including “I Can’t Have You But I Want You,” Bordenaro sings lead as well, while the rest of the group piles on with a rowdy gang chorus. 

The band of 20-somethings created their broad-yet-intimate sound not long after forming in 2017 from the remnants of under the radar local outfits Joe Bordenaro & the Late Bloomers, Yoko and the Oh Nos, and Max and the Mild Ones. The budding project soon became the subject of excited whispers around town. In 2018, the group released two singles (“One Way Ticket” and “Let’s Get It Right”) and a 7” single (“I Can’t Have You But I Want You” and “The Move”) for nascent Chicago studio/imprint Treehouse Records. These recordings raised the whispers to the level of folklore.

Short Description
  • What a burst of good time rock-n-roll. Pour me a beer... no, make it a pitcher!

    — Sound Opinions
  • "What I'm hearing is a band... that has a lot of savvy when it comes to writing songs. Good arrangements, solid melodies.... This is not a one-trick-pony kind of band."
    — Sound Opinions
  • Allusions to Southern Rock a la Marshal Tucker and the Allmans

    — The Firenote
  • It’s taken about four decades, but someone in Chicago finally opened up the time capsule that’s been housing the six-piece shaggy-haired band Rookie. And once they finally aired out from forty years of stale Schlitz beer farts and Winston smoke, they started work on their debut, a dozen mostly great tracks slathered in classic guitar rock and power pop.

    — Glide Magazine
  • Recalls the late-’70s prime of the band that gave the world “Surrender,” as filtered through the sensibility of Summerteeth-era Wilco

    — Uproxx
  • What the group has pieced together here is nothing short of amazing.

    — Ghetto Blaster
  • They unleash a marvelous rock and roll stew that takes in the very best of southern rock, Britpop and all points in between to create a launch pad for teenage parties the world over

    — Rocking Magpie
  • Gives the feeling of lounging on a well-worn couch in the basement and cracking open a cold one as you watch a group of your buddies mess around and have a blast.

    — No Depression
  • Their blend of lo-fi vocals, slappy hooks, and grungy guitar playing is a potent recipe for pure rock and roll that feels youthful even as it nods to another era.

    — No Depression
  • It will remind you of a golden era in rock and roll.

    — American Songwriter

Track List

  1. Hold On Tight
  2. I Can't Have You But I Want You
  3. Sunglasses
  4. Side of the Road
  5. Fake Grass
  6. Elementary Blues
  7. Introduction II
  8. One Way Ticket
  9. Let's Get It Right
  10. Michigan
  11. Miss United States
  12. E Jam

Listen

On Tour

Apr
26
2020

@ U Street Music Hall
Washington, District of Columbia

Apr
28
2020

@ Great Scott
Boston, Massachusetts

Apr
29
2020

@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, New York

Apr
30
2020

@ Johnny Brenda's
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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