When writing about a band like Rocket Paloma, it’s easy to rely on rocket-themed puns and wordplay (see above headline). But calling the Milwaukee group’s self-titled debut EP “explosive” is useful, because, well, it is. Going further, describing the four-song Rocket Paloma as something of a “second stage” is useful, too, as it illustrates just how quickly the young band has changed, and points to the heights it could easily reach.

“I will make my mark and I won’t retreat / Not even if I’m blown to pieces,” growls singer Joanna (Joey) Kerner on red-blooded opener “Charlie Foxtrot.” The full-bodied, unabashedly rock sound the band so effortlessly channels is light years removed from the sweet, poppy folk of its roots. Kerner began Rocket Paloma as a solo act soon after taking a composition class at Cardinal Stritch, using her self-described “choir geek” tendencies to craft a charming-but-tentative acoustic singer-songwriter EP. But as Kerner’s sound developed, so did her ambitions: with the piece-by-piece additions of Jack Beyler on guitar, Jonathan Blohm on bass, and Bob Schaab on drums, Rocket Paloma became a full-fledged rock concern.

That makeover is on full display on “Zig Zag,” originally a plucky acoustic ditty filled with country-tinged violins and banjos, now transformed into a driving rocker. Beyond that and the terrific “Charlie Foxtrot,” “Rx And Shine” gets as jagged and jittery as its title, and the sprawling and manic “Critic’s Choice” shows off Kerner’s gifts as both a songwriter and a take-no-shit classic rock vocalist. It all adds up to a brief-but-fiery ride, and a countdown of things hopefully to come.

Rocket Paloma will celebrate the release its EP Saturday, March 25 at Linneman’s. Faux Fiction, Timothy Charles And The Blind Fiction, and DJ Seedy will play in support. The show is $5 at the door, or $8 with a copy of the EP. Listen to that EP in its entirety now, only at Milwaukee Record.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.