Entries tagged with: Swervedriver
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Swervedriver @ Mercury Lounge 3/30/2015
Veteran UK shoegaze outfit Swervedriver are in the midst of their three NYC show run which, in turn, is part of their tour supporting their first album since the '90s. They played the late show at Mercury Lounge last night (3/30) which got off to a bit of a late start for them (11:20 or so), especially for a Monday, but the crowd stayed there till they finished around 1 AM. The band, which on this tour includes Mick Quinn of Supergrass on bass, sounded good though frontman Adam Franklin admitted they hadn't bothered with a soundcheck.
The set features all but one song from the very good I Wasn't Born to Lose You, which fit right in with old favorites like "Never Lose That Feeling," "Son of a Mustang Ford" and "Rave Down." Like 1998's 99th Dream, it's a pretty mellow affair and the set could've used a few more of their early burners, especially given the hour, and I would've liked more from 1995's underrated Ejector Seat Reservation (we only got "The Birds") but very good show all the same.
The Mercury Lounge show, like the whole tour, was opened by LA's Gateway Drugs who make psych in the post-VU, BJM style. Not bad -- their drummer was great and they finished strong with a cover of The Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction." Pictures of both bands from the Merc show are in this post.
Swervedriver's NYC run (which included Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday) wraps up tonight (3/31) at Saint Vitus. Tickets are still available.
photos by Tim Griffin, words by Andrew Sacher
Rat Fist / Pianos Become The Teeth / Single Mothers
The three 2015 BrooklynVegan SXSW day parties at Red 7 continued on Friday (3/20), once again bringing a handful of bands to the venue's two stages from noon to 6 PM. This one was co-presented with Invisible Oranges.
Unfortunately, Walter Schreifels' band Vanishing Life had to cancel at the last minute due to illness, so Creepoid were moved from the outside stage to the inside stage and the show got a slightly later start. But other than that (and some rain), day 2 went off without a hitch.
Philly's Creepoid, who since ran into some legal trouble, started the day on a psychedelic note, with hazy smoke machines filling the room and their bass and their swirly logo (emblazoned on their bass drum) lit up from inside the drum. It was the perfect setting for their rocking shoegaze. After them it was Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band. The band's currently a power trio, and while Kevin's equally (or better) known for acoustic singer/songwriter stuff, they stuck mostly to their harder material which was a great fit for the day's bill. After them was The Velvet Teen, the shapeshifting rock band who are about to release their first full length in nine years on Topshelf. They played mostly stuff off that album, and the new songs sound good: like a mix of their indie rock early years and the artier tendencies they took on later on.
After Velvet Teen, the inside stage went officially into heavy mode with Canadian punks Single Mothers. They were in beast mode as usual and got a good amount of the crowd rowdy as well, with a handful of people up front shouting along. Then came their Canadian neighbors KEN mode who have a new bassist and a new album on the way that they previewed a handful of songs from. The new stuff has them sounding a little less metallic and a little more AmRep noise rock. It sounded great. They were followed by Power Trip, who recall a handful of early thrash and crossover bands but sound way too urgent to come off as retro. Like they tend to do, they had the whole room turned into a total madhouse. Wrapping up the inside stage was United Nations, one of Geoff Rickly's current bands. Their album makes a joke out of punk rock (while also being a killer punk album), and they did the same at their show, pairing their crushing set with stage banter that sarcastically poked fun at things like McDonald's' presence at SXSW. And for one song, Geoff broke out his old mask.
Meanwhile, the outside stage began around 12:30 with Rat Fist, a trio featuring members of No Age and Pissed Jeans who played a solid set indebted to garage and early punk. They were followed by Swedish post-punks Makthaverskan, who are currently on their first US tour and were one of the bands we were very excited to finally check out. They sounded great, and their singer's excitable stage presence was fun to watch too. Then came their Run for Cover labelmates Pity Sex, whose hard-hitting shoegaze sounded as good as ever. Up next was Pianos Become the Teeth (who share a rhythm section with United Nations), who played an intense set pulling almost entirely from their newest album, the post-hardcore band's first without screaming. Then the day ended with two veterans: first Mac McCaughan of Superchunk who previewed his upcoming debut solo album, and then shoegazers Swervedriver who just put out their first album since 1998 that (perhaps thanks to bands like Pity Sex and Creepoid) doesn't sound dated at all.
Thanks to our sponsors Dropkloud, Esurance (who let 30 people skip the line each day) and MailChimp for helping make the party possible. If you unlocked our party playlsts on your phone with the DropKloud app, you can go listen to them now. If you're still in Austin, you can still unlock them when at Red 7 with the app installed on your phone. Thanks also to Sailor Jerry for helping keep our artists relaxed.
Pictures from Thursday HERE. Saturday coming shortly. More from Friday below...
photo: Mew at Webster Hall in 2009 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
photo: Power Trip at BV-RBSS in 2014 (more by Ryan Muir)
The three FREE BrooklynVegan SXSW day parties at Red 7 in Austin begin TODAY (Thursday, 3/19). We're taking over both stages of the 6th & Red River venue from noon-6pm and doing it again Friday (3/20) and Saturday (3/21) too. You can RSVP for all three days. If you're in Austin, hope to see you there!
Over the course of the three days there's sets from Mew, The Pop Group, Swervedriver, Frank Turner, Ceremony, Iceage, Screaming Females, METZ, Speedy Ortiz, Power Trip, United Nations, Pianos Become the Teeth, Superchunk's Mac McCaughan, The Octopus Project, Broncho, Frog Eyes, Girlpool, Mitski, Chastity Belt, Alex G, Yumi Zouma, KEN mode, Kevin Devine, The Velvet Teen, Pity Sex, Makthaverskan and more.
Check out the flyers and set times for all three days, below...
by Bill Pearis
Swervedriver are in the midst of their current tour for I Wasn't Born to Lose You, the band's first album in 17 years. The record pretty much picks right up from where they left off with 99th Dream, still loud, but settling in for more mellow grooves and ringing guitars than the overdriven road of their early Creation singles. (AKA the mode they've been in since 1995's Ejector Seat Reservation.) You can stream the album via Spotify below.
They'll be in NYC at the end of the month, playing March 27 at Music Hall of Williamsburg and March 30 at Mercury Lounge. Both shows are with Gateway Drugs and tickets are still available, though Ticketmaster says "not many left" for both shows. They've just added a third NYC show, playing Saint Vitus on March 31 with Gateway Drugs again. Tickets for Vitus are on sale now.
All tour dates (including SXSW appearances) are listed, along with the album stream, below...
We're happy to announce that we're returning to Red 7 for three FREE BrooklynVegan SXSW day parties this year on the Thursday (3/19), Friday (3/20) and Saturday (3/21) of SXSW. RSVP in one spot for all three days.
We'll be taking over the 7th & Red River venue's two stages from noon-6pm each day, Thursday's lineup is HERE. Saturday's lineup will be announced soon, here's the Invisible Oranges co-presented Friday lineup!
FRIDAY, MARCH 20 @ Red 7 (FREE)Please RSVP for all three days.
12:30 Vanishing Life (featuring Walter Schreifels & mems of Trail of Dead)
01:15 Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band
02:00 The Velvet Teen
02:45 Single Mothers
03:30 KEN Mode
04:15 Power Trip
05:15 United Nations (featuring Geoff Rickly)
12:45 Rat Fist (No Age/Pissed Jeans)
02:15 Pity Sex
03:10 Pianos Become the Teeth
04:05 Mac McCaughan (of Superchunk)
The Friday inside show begins with Walter Schreifels' (of Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Rival Schools, etc) new band with two Trail of Dead members, Vanishing Life, followed by a full-band set by long-running singer/songwriter Kevin Devine (who's in the midst of a series of splits with Nada Surf's Matthew Caws, Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves and more). Then comes The Velvet Teen, who just announced their first LP since 2006 on Topshelf Records. After that, the inside stage gets heavier, with snotty Canadian punks Single Mothers, sludgey post-hardcore band KEN mode, crossover thrashers Power Trip, and finally the screamo band of former Thursday singer Geoff Rickly, United Nations.
Outside, the day begins with Philly shoegazers Creepoid (who have a new LP coming), followed by Rat Fist, the new-ish punk band with No Age and Pissed Jeans members. Then it's Swedish post-punks Makthaverskan, their shoegazey Run for Cover labelmates Pity Sex, and atmospheric post-hardcore band Pianos Become the Teeth (who also have members in United Nations). The day wraps up with two veterans: Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan (who has his debut solo LP on the way) and reunited shoegazers Swervedriver.
This year we're proud to be partnering with DropKloud, a new app that is launching just in time for SXSW. Recently acquired by TuneCore, DropKloud uses GPS technology to allow people to unlock exclusive music content in specific geo-targeted locations. You'll be able to try it out at our parties at Red 7 where we'll have special content from the artists playing our shows. Once you unlock it, you can listen later. Stay tuned for more details, but meanwhile get that app on your phone via Google Play or iTunes.
Thank you also to esurance who will provide expedited access to our shows to some people who are following @Esurance on twitter each day, and to MailChimp who powers the daily BrooklynVegan newsletter you'll get on if you RSVP for our shows.
Listen to some of the bands playing, below...
In addition to Austin Psych Fest's Levitation Festival in Austin, they're doing another US fest: Levitation Chicago, which happens this weekend (3/13-14) with The Pop Group, Destruction Unit, Viet Cong, Swervedriver, Atlas Sound and more.
Ahead of this weekend's festival, psych rock producer Al Lover made another of his mixtapes for the fest. It includes songs by all the artists on the lineup, as well as his redux of Lumerians' "Hook For An Eye," exclusive to this mix. The mix premieres in this post and can be streamed below.
There are also Levitation festivals in France and Vancouver, the latter of which just announced its lineup. APF is also putting on two SXSW shows with help from Sailor Jerry. Lineups and more info for those, below.
by Bill Pearis
Shoegaze greats Swervedriver have released a second song from their new album I Wasn't Born To Lose You, titled "Autodidact," which sounds like classic soaring, roaring Swervedriver. Stream it below. The band will be touring soon in support of the album, and they'll be in NYC on March 27 at Music Hall of Williamsburg with tourmates Gateway Drugs and tickets are still available. If you'd like to see Swervedriver somewhere a little more cozy, they've just added a second NYC show at Mercury Lounge on March 30 with no opener listed. Tickets for that show go on AmEx presale today (2/4) at noon with the regular on-sale starting Friday (2/6) at noon. The band have also released a second song from Updated dates are listed, along with a stream of "Autodidact" and "Setting Sun" from the new album, below.
Gateway Drugs, meanwhile, will release their debut album, Magick Spells, on March 3 via Cobraside. Their brand of overdriven psych rock should make for a good fit with Swervedriver. See for yourself by streaming "Fridays Are for Suckers," with their full list of dates (a few without Swervedriver as well), below.
by Bill Pearis
As mentioned, shoegaze vets Swervedriver are releasing their first new album since the '90s. Details are now out: it's titled I Wasn't Born To Lose You and will be out March 3 via Cobraside. That's the cover art above and you can stream "Setting Sun" from it below. While pretty mellow, it's undeniably Swervedriver, from the guitar leads to the distinctive harmonies. Check it out
It's a good year for fans of classic shoegaze. Swervedriver's Creation Records labelmates Ride are back in action too and playing Coachella. All Swervedriver tour dates are listed, along with the new song stream and album tracklist, below...
The Cribs at MHOW in 2012 (more by Guy Eppel)
A ton of artists were already announced for SXSW 2015 (March 17-22), and now the second artist announcement has come with several more including Twin Shadow, The Cribs, Swervedriver, Gang of Four, KEN mode, Weyes Blood, Wild Throne, Elvis Depressedly, SURVIVE, Juan Wauters, San Fermin, Lydia Ainsworth, The Blind Shake, Ex-Cult, Ikonika, King Tuff, Pujol, The Velvet Teen, The Zombies, Zookeeper, Yumi Zouma and tons more.
Full round 2 list below...
Swervedriver @ MHOW, 2012 (more by Dana [distortion] Yavin)
UK heavy shoegazers Swervedriver are still working on their first new album since the late '90s. While we haven't heard any new updates, something is stirring as Swervedriver have announced a 2015 tour centered around an appearance at SXSW. Those dates include NYC at Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 27 with Gateway Drugs opening. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (11/21) at noon with an AmEx presale beginning at noon on Wednesday (11/19). The band last toured in 2012. All dates are listed below.
While we wait for new music from Swervedriver, frontman Adam Franklin took on a project called "All Happening Now," where he re-recorded some of Swervedriver, Toshack Highway and Magnetic Morning's songs (plus a few covers). It was part of a fundraiser for Adam Franklin & the Bolts of Melody 2013 album, Black Horses, and can be streamed in three parts below.
by Bill Pearis
OG '90s shoegazers Swervedriver have been back in action since 2008 or so. My first-ever post on BV was about them and when they played Music Hall of Williamsburg that year, I wrote:
"Swervedriver came out and just killed it. Like the last ten years never happened. Jaw-droppingly, why-aren't-you-still-a-band-and-making-records good. And maybe it's just the decade that's passed, but they almost seemed better than I remembered."As to the "why aren't you still making records" part, they now are. The band are currently recording their first album since 1998's 99th Dream. Today (12/9) they released their first new single in 15 years. It's called "Deep Wound" (you may have seen them play it on Fallon when they toured last year) and it's got the overdriven guitars and soaring melodies the band are known for. It's good. The cover art, above, looks like their early Creation EPs too. You can stream it -- and the "Dub Wound" b-side that was mixed by Ride's Mark Gardener (!) -- below.
BEAUTIFUL NOISE is an in-depth exploration of a music movement in the late 20th century, a fascinating period when some innovative musicians mixed guitar noise into conventional pop song structures while maintaining a philosophy of letting the music speak for itself.Legendary shoegaze/dream pop bands My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and The Jesus and Mary Chain are subject of new documentary, Beautiful Noise, who have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money for the film to be distributed in film festivals and released on DVD/Blu-Ray (via Pitchfork). In addition to those three bands, the film will feature interviews with/appearances by members of other shoegaze pioneers like Ride, Slowdive, Lush, Curve, Swervedriver, Medicine, Pale Saints, and more, plus appearances by Wayne Coyne, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, and Robert Smith, and performance videos (and some interviews) with current bands like Sigur Ros, M83, A Place to Bury Strangers, Grouper, Serena Maneesh, and others. The Kickstarter campaign has reached just over $17,000 of its $75,000 goal as of this post, and is open until December 15. More info and rewards details at the documentary's Kickstarter project page.
Although many of the people interviewed are notoriously press shy they have opened up about their music and experiences from over 20 years ago; how they defied the rules and became sonic innovators that have inspired so many.
Currently the documentary is in the final stages for worldwide release, and we need your help to raise the $75,000 to pay for limited run licensing and finishing costs to distribute in Film Festivals and on DVD/Blu-Ray.
This documentary will finally be released only if the fans of this music believe in this project and contribute.
This comes shortly after the news that My Bloody Valentine plans to release an album by the end of the year.
Campaign video below...
photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin
Swervedriver @ Bowery Ballroom
"...Simply put, from the first note of opening stunner "Last Train to Satansville" (from 1993's Mezcal Head), Swervedriver dominated. A sonic tour de force dominated by vocalist/guitarist Adam Franklin and tour fill-in drummer Mikey Jones (who did a TREMENDOUS job filling in for Graham Bonnar, who played with them last year but couldn't play on this tour) and augmented nicely by guitarist Jimmy Hartridge and bassist Steve George, most of this show saw Swervedriver stick to the raw, guttural, heavy punch of its first two Lps (1991's Raise and the aforementioned Mezcal Head). In addition to absolutely smashing versions of Raise-era singles like "Sandblasted," "Son of Mustang Ford" and Rave Down", we also got deep cuts like "Deep Seat," "Pile Up" and even the B-side "Scrawl and Scream". Mezcal Head was represented by a pile-driving version of "Never Lose That Feeling" along with "Girl on a Motorbike" (the first song played in the encore) and set closer "Duel". There were only several songs played from later albums (the best of which was a stunning version of Ejector Seat Reservation's "Son of Jaguar E") and "The Birds" (the finest song in their catalog, at least in this writer's estimation) didn't work quite as well as some of the other, earlier, fiercer material..." [The Big Takeover]Swervedriver and Heaven have now completed their short tour that brought them to Bowery Ballroom on 3/31. Here are some pictures from that NYC show. More of them (including the headliner's setlist), below...
As mentioned, Swervedriver play a headlining show at Bowery Ballroom in NYC tonight (3/31). Tickets are still on sale, and since we last spoke, NYC trio Heaven (whose members have been or are in The Comas, Dean and Britta, Ambulance LTD, The Big Sleep, Adam Franklin's band, Snowden, and Fan-Tan), was added as opener for this show and others.
A full list of dates and video from Swerverdriver's 3/26 appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, below...
Swervedriver at Bowery Ballroom, 2008 (more by Chris LaPutt)
Swervedriver began playing shows again this year when they went on an Australian tour, a European tour, and short North American tour, which took place this past June. An entire tour for 2012 hasn't been announced yet, but the band are beginning to announce some shows including one in NYC on March 31 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets go on sale Friday (12/9) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (12/7) at noon.
UPDATE: More dates announced.
All known (two) dates and some videos from their Irving Plaza show in June below...
Swervedriver's Adam Franklin & The Bolts of Melody are spending the tail end of Septmeber and into October on the road. Tonight finds them not only smack in the middle of their East Coast jaunt, but also at Mercury Lounge in NYC (9/30). Tickets are still available.
Hopewell will support tonight at Merc, and will also play Saint Vitus on 10/19 with Weird Owl, The Main Street Gospel, Nordic Nomadic, and Dead Stars. Tickets are on sale.
All Adam Franklin dates and some video is below.
Swervedriver at MHoW (more by Chris La Putt)
After returning for some dates in 2008 and playing various shows since (including an Australian tour earlier this year), Swervedriver will again return to play a pair of U.S. dates. The NYC show is at Irving Plaza on 6/16 and LA gets the Echoplex in LA on 6/19. Tickets are on sale for both (at the links). No word on whether that will expand into a proper tour.
UPDATE: Toronto and Chicago dates added.
Check out a couple of videos and all dates below...
by Bill Pearis
Australia's shimmering psych-pop band, The Church, are staying busy in their 29th year of existence with a flurry of new releases, a couple of solo projects, and a U.S. summer tour, including a stop at Irving Plaza on July 8 (tickets are on sale).
The band, which still features the founding core of singer/bassist Steve Kilbey, and guitarists Marty Wilson Piper and Peter Koppes (plus drummer Tim Powles who's been with the band since 1994), are set to release their 23rd album, Untitled #23, this month in Australia and will get a U.S. release on May 12. Additionally, The Chuch recently scored a short film, Shriek: An Afterword, based on the novel of the same name. Its soundtrack, Shriek: Excerpts from the Soundtrack, dropped in January, and was the first release on The Church's own Unorthodox Records. Both the new album and the soundtrack also spawned EPs. If that wasn't enough, Kilbey released his seventh solo album, Painkiller, last year and Marty Wilson-Piper just released his sixth solo album, Nightjar.
Opening for The Church on their upcoming U.S tour will be Swervedriver/Magnetic Morning singer Adam Franklin who just released his second solo album, Spent Bullets, on Second Motion Records who are also releasing The Church's Untitled #23.
Full U.S. tour dates, plus some classic Church videos, after the jump...
Photos by Tim Griffin
[Swervedriver's] Adam Franklin: Most of the earlier tunes were [Interpol's] Sam [Fogarino]'s, and mostly started with simple guitar lines, to which I would then place chord sequences beneath or counter-melodies on top. Sam also gave me a nine-minute Mellotron jam, which I cut and arranged into a verse/chorus/verse arrangement. I also wrote the lyrics and vocal melodies. Although 90 percent of the lyrics are mine, probably 50 percent of the titles are Sam's, due to the fact that he tends to name his demos. This makes it interesting for me, because the lyrical threads follow paths suggested by the titles. After we established a sound aesthetic, I began bringing in some song ideas to which Sam would add keyboards, guitars, atmospherics, rhythmic patterns.Both of those quotes are from an interview Adam gave to Wired. More pictures from last week's show at Southpaw below....
Adam Franklin: The live show should be fun. Myself and Sam essentially inhabit the engine room of a kick-ass live unit. The band sounds out-of-this-world after a week or two of rehearsal. Bolts of Melody's Josh Stoddard is on bass; Blasco, who has previously played live with Interpol and Secret Machines is on guitar, melodica and psychedelic banjo; and The Album Leaf's Jimmy LaValle is on keyboards. He was an obvious choice, as Sam and I have both known him separately for some time.
by Bill Pearis
Before blogs, before the internet as we know it, Jack Rabid was writing up all the shows he attended, the records he listened to, and interviewing his favorite bands. Since 1980 he's been publishing The Big Takeover which started as a Xeroxed 'zine but is now a legit glossy mag, thick as a phone book, and even more crammed with reviews and meaty interviews with some of the biggest indie/alt bands and artists on the planet. The passion (and the encyclopedic knowledge of the staff) makes it such an awesome read to this day.
In addition to The Big Takeover, Jack is also a great drummer. Having played in a number of bands over the years (early '80s punks Even Worse, and more recently Last Burning Embers), he might be best known as one-third of '90s-era trio Springhouse. While lumped in with the then UK dreampop scene (Ride, MBV, etc), Springhouse (Mitch Friedland on treated classical acoustic, and bassist Larry Heinemann) was closer to early-'80s groups like The Sound, The Comsat Angels and The Chameleons, the latter of whom they opened for on their 2002 reunion tour.
Springhouse released two very good, if under-heard, albums on Caroline in the '90s and have been slowly working on a third that will finally see the light of day in October. As Jack wrote on Bigtakeover.com:
"From Now to OK, which we've been working on for the better part of 10 years, is finally finished and will be released in October...on limited edition, 550 copies deluxe Bruce Licher-designed letterpress multi-layered foldout CD art package and free internet digital download, Radiohead-style (i.e. pay what you want!). Then we hit the road!"That tour is a "Big Takeover Presents" triple bill. Headlining are Magnetic Morning (previously known as The Setting Suns), the "supergroup" (my term) of Swervedriver's Adam Franklin, Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino and Jimmy LaValle of the Album Leaf. I saw them at their debut show back in December and despite a then-dearth of material (they've only got a six-song EP out so far, including three versions of one song and a cover) Magnetic Morning had it together, as you'd expect from a group of pros like this. They've been holed away in the studio all summer so I imagine we'll really find out what MM are all about in October.
Opening the Big Takeover tour is Washington DC's Julie Ocean, which is fronted by two veterans of the '90s DC/Arlington indie scene: Jim Spellman was in Velocity Girl and The High-Back Chairs (and is now a producer for CNN where he recently got Tasered on purpose); and Terry Banks was in Tree Fort Angst, The Saturday People and Glo-Worm. Julie Ocean's debut, Long Gone and Nearly There, is ridiculously catchy power pop.
Adam Franklin has also been keeping busy with his old band Swervedriver and Magnetic Morning's dates are part of a much bigger fall tour. All scheduled stops, and a video, are below...
by BrooklynVegan Mike
"There isn't any artistic integrity in just getting the band back together
and playing the old songs."
Neil Halstead, as a co-founder of Slowdive, was one of the architects of shoegazer, a genre that has seen a revival as of late with the reformation of My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver. In 1995, most of Slowdive morphed into Mojave 3 and has since been making beautiful countrified dream-pop. Halstead also mellows things out more on his solo records. His sophomore release Oh! Mighty Engine dropped last week on Jack Johnson's label Brushfire Records. He is also currently on tour with Jack. (yeah, we know).
This Sunday he opens the third day of the All Points West festival in Jersey City - the same day Jack closes. You can also catch Neil one day earlier at the Surf Lodge in Montauk. We caught up with Neil after he opened the second day of the Osheaga Festival in Montreal on Monday. We discussed tour mate Jack Johnson, a Slowdive reunion, and the re-emergence of shoegazer.
You've played a lot of festivals in your twenty year career. How does it feel to open a festival?
Neil: It's a dubious honor, isn't it? [laughs]. I would trade in the honor for a few more people. But the people were really nice. Very sweet. We enjoyed it.
You've been opening for Jack Johnson on his tour. How has that been?...
photos by Chris La Putt
Swervedriver played Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn last night (June 12, 2008). It was their second of two NYC reunion shows. The first was one night earlier at Bowery Ballroom. Bill went to that first show...
...Swervedriver came out and just killed it. Like the last ten years never happened. Jaw-droppingly, why-aren't-you-still-a-band-and-making-records good. And maybe it's just the decade that's passed, but they almost seemed better than I remembered. Swervedriver's sound hasn't dated I don't think -- it's the sound of vapor trails off hot desert pavement, or after-burners on a spaceship. On songs like the slow-burn "Duress" it felt like gravity lost its grip on us just a little bit. The band was clearly into it as much as the crowd. Adam Franklin is a cool dude, looking more like Geoffrey Wright having long-since shaved off his signature dreads, and didn't say more than ten word to the crowd the whole show but he had a smile on his face every time he did....More pictures from the Brooklyn show below...
by Bill Pearis
editor's note: Metal, comedy and 'dance' all have their own semi-regular BV feature writers. Those topics are getting a level of focus that I wished I could give to "indie rock" (that somewhat meaningless term, but it helps sometimes to categorize). That's why I contacted Bill...
Bill says: BV approached me about writing an indie rock column because I "repeatedly go to see The Young Knives and are excited about Versus reuniting." Which is to say I like unpopular bands and am, like, James Murphy old. This will likely take on more shape as the weeks go on, but for now here's a bunch of notable shows happening over the next five days.
editor's note part two: Bill forgot to mention the part where I said he is just as excited about the old (knowledgeable) as he is about the new (not jaded). OK, here we go....
Amazing Baby (tour dates at the end)
Firstly are the two Swervedriver reunion shows - tonight at Bowery Ballroom and tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The '90s shoegaze scene has had a bit of a resurgence, with a slew of new bands inspired by its hazy, voluminous sound, including Dirty on Purpose (who open for them tonight), Deerhunter, Silversun Pickups, and every other band from Sweden. Obviously the big story this year are the upcoming My Bloody Valentine shows, but Swervedriver's shows are no less relevant or justified.
They may never have released anything as universally-praised and influential as Loveless, or as catchy as Ride's Going Blank Again, but Swervedriver rocked the hardest of any of the shoegaze bands and probably had the most consistent body of work. Unfortunately, of their four great albums, only 1995's Ejector Seat Reservation remains in print - though the good, if expensive, import Juggernaut Rides is a good introduction to the band. I've also got a few mp3's over at Sound Bites if you're interested, and Swervedriver's site has live MP3s for every song from every album, free to download.
Swervedriver were never the type to jump around the stage or make rock star poses (the shoegaze scene, after all, got its name because the bands tended to pay more attention to their many effects pedals than to "putting on a show") and frontman Adam Franklin isn't much for stage banter, but they were always a seriously good live band and reports from earlier dates on this tour (The Finest Kiss has a nice writeup and photos from the Seattle stop) show this, thankfully, hasn't changed.
Tickets for tonights' Bowery show are still available (June 11, 2008).
Local support for both nights are well chosen. Dirty on Purpose are obviously big fans - their newish EP for RCRD LBL is really good. Longwave open at Music Hall of Williamsburg. After getting the heave-ho from RCA, the band are currently working on a new album, and a few of the tracks are up on their MySpace and sound promising. Opening both shows are Glasgow's Terra Diablo who are actually managed by Swervedriver drummer, Jez.
The other big event this week is the NYC Popfest, now in its second year. The four-day event, at a handful of clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is a must for lovers of chickfactor magazine, Sarah records, twee, jangle, and the generally lighter side of indie. (Also known as indiepop.) They've brought in bands from all over, including Massachusetts (Pants Yell!, Hands and Knees), the UK (The Hermit Crabs, The Foxgloves), two from Sweden (Love is All, Oh! Custer), plenty from here in NYC (Pains of Being Pure of Heart, My Teenage Stride, Ladybug Transistor, The Besties) and elsewhere.
The lineup also includes three legends of the indiepop scene. Glasgow's The Orchids (pictured), whose single "I've Got a Habit" was the second-ever release on the legendary Sarah records; Australia's The Cannanes (aka "the world's most 'indie' band) who've been making music since 1984; and Seattle's Tullycraft who were part of the US scene in the '90s.
The two bands I'm most excited to see are Scotland's The Hermit Crabs, who bear more than a passing resemblance to fellow Glaswegians Camera Obscura; and Finland's Cats on Fire whose album, The Province Complains, is one of the better indiepop albums of the last couple years. Plus, they're from Finland - a country that doesn't send a lot of bands our way.
Of course, the hot ticket for Popfest is Love is All's appearance Thursday night at Cake Shop. I'm not sure why the organizers put the weekend's biggest draw in a place the size of a closet, but I'm sure for those 20 people in the first three rows will really enjoy it. For everyone else, you'll be able to say "they sounded great!" The show is sold out... if you've got tickets get there early and enjoy the other bands (including fellow Swedes Oh! Custer and NYC's The Secret History).
by Asa E
DOWNLOAD: Swervedriver - Mars (Tramps, 07.16.1997) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Swervedriver - Cars Converge On Paris (Maxwells, 10.31.1998) (MP3)
Swervedriver @ Coachella 2008 (more by Ryan Muir)
As previously, previously, and previously noted, legendary shoegazers Swervedriver are back. Their recent performance at Coachella was an 'artistic triumph,' according to the LA Times, which makes their upcoming dates (see below) all the more enticing. In the following interview, singer/guitarist Adam Franklin relates his desert island pedals as well as his distaste for the MySpace "shoegaze" category.
When I listen to Raise, I hear a lot of Dinosaur Jr. worship going on. You guys really work the guitar effects (wah pedals especially) and your vocals are buried. Any accuracy to this perception? And why is your singing so low in the mix?
Adam Franklin: Dinosaur were a big influence around the time of You're Living All Over Me and Bug, for sure. I don't really know why the vocals were so low but I certainly wasn't that confident with the vocals at the time plus it was also perhaps a prevailing stylistic trend at the time.
Did you receive any vocal training between Raise and Mezcal Head? The your voice is mixed much better and it carries a lot of melody as well.
Actually, I did have one singing lesson that may have been around that time. She was an opera singer and she had a picture of her with Pavarotti on her piano and she had at one time given lessons to Johnny Rotten. At the start of the lesson she got me to reach for my lowest and highest notes and then said "right. I guarantee that in an hour you will be singing 2 notes higher and 3 lower - and she was right.
More interview, as well as tour dates, below...