Rocket Shop 1/18/2012: Les Racquet

lesracquet Words by Nick Kramer. Photo by James Lockridge.

Ken Murphy and Pat Carroll —two thirds of indie-prog-pop outfit Les Racquet — dropped in on the Radiator for the second half of Rocket Shop. The pair introduced tunes from their latest EP ‘Be Water My Friend,' which just dropped on New Year's Day. Les Racquet (pronounced less racket as in "less racket more music") took the title for the new six-song set from a Bruce Lee interview quotation. The nod to the kung fu film legend seems a fittingly irreverent overlay to a collection filled with hook-laden harmonies, power-pop bounce, and proggy riffing. ‘Be Water My Friend' took one weekend to record down at Drift Design Studios in Somerville, MA working with lead engineer Mike Conway. According to Pat, the recording was, "really super smooth since the guys at Drift Design are all close friends of ours." While putting together the EP, the boys filmed the entire recording process and look forward to releasing some video of the sessions in the near future.

Among the tracks from ‘Be Water My Friend' that Ken and Pat chose to play on air was lead single "Oh Yeah", a tune that Ken assures, "is the pop hit," while Pat boasts, "this is going to be stuck in your head for weeks to come." The song begins with Pat's croon and a simple up-strum that builds to a bold and brash sing-along chorus, criss-crossed with soaring '70s guitar. Songs such as "Oh Yeah" exemplify how, as Pat maintains, "we span genre and age-group." The tune is a pitch-perfect mixture of punk swagger, power-pop ear-candy, and ‘70s anthem prog that will appeal to anyone who likes rock and roll. As proof, Ken adds that, "My mom really likes one."

Name-checking prog-rock standard-bearers such as King Crimson and Yes, Les Racquet are not afraid to admit their ‘70s-leaning influences. The band has a knack for catchy riffs and pop hooks, and seeks to bring, "big dynamics," and, "songs with lots of movements," to their art. Currently on tour in their purple Chrysler Town and Country ("we do not have the Disney package so there's no DVD player," laughs Ken) Les Racquet are living Pat's assessment that, "with grass-roots bands, it's just about sweat equity."

Following their free show at Nectar's on Wednesday the 18th, the band heads down to their current home base in Brooklyn for a big time showcase at the Knitting Factory. The following night they will be playing a launch party celebrating their spread in the first issue of Brooklyn culture mag Relapse Magazine, edited by friend of the band Ian Frisch. From there, Les Racquet will embark on, "one more loop of the northeast," before heading down south for another run of shows. Despite the ordered appearance of their tour schedule, Pat notes that, "It's all do it yourself. We're going through other bands to get gigs."

For tour dates, videos, and all things Les Racquet, check out ‘Be Water My Friend' is available for download at

Rocket Shop Playlist: Les Racquet, "I'm Not Trying" Vermont Symphony Orchestra, "A Child's Reliquary" Vermont Symphony Orchestra, "Final Movement of the Ludwig Concerto" Vermont Symphony Orchestra, "Con Moto (With Motion)" Vermont Symphony Orchestra, "Masquerade" Les Racquet, "Chimney Pete" Les Racquet, "Oh Yeah!" Les Racquet, "Bruce Li" Rocket Shop playlists are logged with RadioActivity.