A Farewell To Rockets, the fifth album from Iowa’s North of Grand, marks the end of an era and the beginning of another. The band’s Brolester Records debut is a tribute of sorts to the Rocket Transfer Warehouse, the brick building NOG called home for a decade before being booted - so the structure in downtown Des Moines could be converted into condos. Rockets is also NOG’s first recording as a quartet. The addition of lead guitarist Matt Wellendorf has transformed the band from a somewhat simple, punk-pop trio into a fully-realized rock n roll machine.
Rockets was recorded at Cosgrove Audio in Kansas City, MO with producer Chris Cosgrove, who cut his teeth working with Steve Albini in Chicago and at Ocean Way Recorders in Los Angeles – where he assisted on the Foo Fighters’ Colour and the Shape. The new NOG album was mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at the legendary Turtle Tone Studios in New York. Rockets displays North of Grand's knack for writing catchy, guitar-driven rock n roll, littered with powerful hooks and memorable lyrics. The nine songs, clocking in under 28 minutes, feature fist-in-the-air choruses, blistering solos and Thin Lizzy-esque dueling guitars backed by a straight forward, hard-hitting rhythm section.
In 2010, the publication Boston Phoenix named North of Grand the “Best Band in Iowa.” In both 2009 and 2008, listeners to KCCQ Radio, 105.1 FM in Ames, selected North of Grand as the "Best Local Band.“ North of Grand formed in March 2003. The band includes original members Sean Wilson (vocals, guitar), Dan Ketelsen (bass) and Pat Curtis (drums, backing vocals). Matt Wellendorf (lead guitar) joined the band in 2009. Since their first gig in April of 2003, North of Grand has played nearly 500 shows in 25 states. The name "North of Grand" comes from the blue collar neighborhood in Des Moines (just north of Grand Avenue) where the band members live and party.