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Sw!ms - Ride of the Blueberry Winter (Cover Artwork)

Sw!ms

Sw!ms: Ride of the Blueberry WinterRide of the Blueberry Winter (2006)
Prison Jazz

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The second I popped this CD in my player, I knew I was in for a treat. With Farfisa organ, a bouncy beat and a vocal melody that grabbed me instantly, "C'moff It" had 'feel-good record' printed all over it. And boy, I love feelin' good; I'm no emo kid. The Sw!ms combine sixties psychedelic pop with .


The second I popped this CD in my player, I knew I was in for a treat. With Farfisa organ, a bouncy beat and a vocal melody that grabbed me instantly, "C'moff It" had 'feel-good record' printed all over it. And boy, I love feelin' good; I'm no emo kid. The Sw!ms combine sixties psychedelic pop with more current indie rock stylings and bizarre lyrics to create a memorable and fun-as-hell record. It must have been meant to be -- they are from the town the American version of "The Office" takes place in, and I love that show! (Name that town and state!)

Fans of atypical pop groups like Architecture in Helsinki, Belle & Sebastian, the Unicorns, Saturday Looks Good to Me, and Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer will definitely dig this, even though the Sw!ms don't sound exactly like any of them; it's more a likeness in attitude. The vocal melodies occasionally reminded me of the Shins, though I couldn't quite put my finger on why other than they make me happy in the same way. Fans of the nerdy comedy of Napoleon Dynamite will also be attracted to this group for they reference delightfully dorky topics like archery, mythical beasts, video games, and lava. Plus, singer/guitarist Brian Langan could pass for a chubby Napoleon.

The album is full of great moments. "Blood in the Lanai" has a verse reprise that sounds like it's sung by the Muppets. "Be My Lava Valkyrie" is an interlude straight out of the 1920s. "Clean Escape" takes a twangy turn complete with slide guitar. Closer "Upstate Milkmaid" has a roaring ending complete with a Revolver-style guitar solo which may or may not really be backwards.

But it's not all fun and games; the record takes a more serious turn halfway through, when violent cello screeching ushers in "Yub Yub" sung by (recently departed) drummer Claire Connelly. It is followed by "Knitting and Knitting," the slowest and longest track on the disc, which starts acoustic and cello-driven, to eventually build up into a frenzy of fuzzy guitars and crashing drums, giving more of a Death Cab vibe. Later, an Animal Collective-style intro of garbled vocal effects and synth noise counts down into the band's "single" (they made a weird video for it), "Vermillion Archer." This is a song that could possibly typify a band that goes all over the pop map, with loud organ, crunchy `60s guitars tones, an uptempo beat and irresistible vocals. Another more typical track for them would be the superb "Depth Charge."

Though the seemingly simple hooks of the keys and vocals may fool you into thinking this band isn't serious, they are -- seriously good. Bursting with sonic ideas, Ride of the Blueberry Winter has 16 tracks, not to mention a bunch of little interludes in between, and while they are mostly melodic, no track could be confused for another. Fast song or slow song, their energy level is always high, showing that they love what they do. I can't remember the last time I was this blown away by something I was sent that I had never even heard of before. Looking for a good time? Call the Sw!ms.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 26, 2006)

Swims are based in Scranton but two are from Wilkes Barre and two are from Scranton. One member of the band, Phillip Price, is of the previously mentioned and fabulous An Albatross and Bedford. And I must say that their are other fabulous things on Prison Jazz like a brand new Okay Paddy record and an Ergs! record and the Green Chair and other stuff, but I must also make the disclaimer that I own the label.

rkl (March 26, 2006)

Sw!ms - Ride of the Blueberry Winter
Posted by Anonymous on 2006-03-21 01:05:56

I actually have never seen the show the Office, but I really want to. I plan on borrowing my friend's dvds. But, my relatives were excited to tell me that their town (Scranton, Pennsylvania) is where it takes place. I win. Anywho, i should also check this band out.
the office was set in england. the us shows are just adaptations of the scripts.

skanknsmile (March 23, 2006)

im broke as all hell from sxsw, can anyone tell me if they have this or not, perhaps soulseek, hmmm.

slsk: iamjetblack

xote (March 23, 2006)

Although I might eat this shit up it's starting to get played out from what I got from the review

andrew13 (March 23, 2006)

Jan 7th there was a $3 local punk show at the venue. a bunch of nazi's from allentown and nj came up and ended up starting a fight in the parking lot, in whihc 3 people got stabbed... my best friend was at the show and she called me that night telling me about it... after that, it was all over the local news and papers, and on Jan 19th the Toasters played there. this was the last show, cause the next day the city sent over a building inspector and they shut it down because it didn't have a handicap toilet, the door opened inwards, and the sprinkler system didn't work. which i would have been find about their reasoning, if the place hadn't been open for 8 years and passed inspection every other time fine. the city claimed it didn't target the place, but it was obvious they did. at the same time, the backstage in kingston, right across the river, got hit by building inspectors too and shut down. both are finally reopened now, but it's been a long semester out here with no good shows since the beginning of january.

Anonymous (March 23, 2006)

andrew13,

can you give us the story about the venue? i'm on a bunch of band's mailing lists and i got like 5 emails (bigwig, new mexican disaster squad, none more black, etc.) in a two day span saying that shows had to be switched. just curious. especially when i hear people on this site mention neo-Nazis. it is pennsylvania. i'm from new york and am just surprised / ineterested.

thanks.

Anonymous (March 23, 2006)

To the Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and what-have-you area kids, are their any skateparks around?

Anonymous (March 23, 2006)

Rob zombie yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhh gorggggg gorggggg

Anonymous (March 22, 2006)

Saturday, March 25th
Grand Reopening Weekend!
THE SW!MS
THE BIG GREEN
LIVINGSTON
@ Cafe Metropolis
94 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre PA
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
$5 at the door - All ages
Email mattfz@yahoo.com for info
www.cafemetropolis.com and www.myspace.com/cafemetro

Friday, May 5th
THE SW!MS (Prison Jazz Records)
THE MISHAPS
SETTLE
@ Cafe Metropolis
94 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre PA
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
$7 at the door - All ages
Email mattfz@yahoo.com for info
www.cafemetropolis.com and www.myspace.com/cafemetro

andrew13 (March 22, 2006)

Where are these shows? Was that at that den of scandal and ill-repute, Cafe Metropolis? Isn't that place closed because of neo-Nazis? Thinking about driving there to visit relatives and the NMB show last month, but then they got shut down, but it was never clarified.

the one and only. they're playing there saturday... it's reopening officially friday... hopefully those nazi fucks burn in hell to for what they did...

Anonymous (March 22, 2006)

their wilkes-barre shows are fucking crazy... i saw they with an albatross last fall down here, and the place was packed completely full, every siingle person in the crowd was dancing to the sw!ms, then an albatross came out and people went nuts again and halfway through the AA set about half the crowd started getting naked... weirdest show moment ever... lol...

Where are these shows? Was that at that den of scandal and ill-repute, Cafe Metropolis? Isn't that place closed because of neo-Nazis? Thinking about driving there to visit relatives and the NMB show last month, but then they got shut down, but it was never clarified.

ryanbolger (March 21, 2006)

i was intrigued by the mention of architecture in helsinki, but then the whole napoleon dynamite thing was a complete turn off. i stopped reading there. weak, i know.

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

I liked the mp3s I heard from this band, as well as the ones from the A-Sides. I'm going to order some stuff from this label. Any other good bands on Prison Jazz aside from the Sw!ms and the A-Sides?

-Chinatown

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

hmmm

Scruffy (March 21, 2006)

Is this enough alcohol to get 15 people drunk?

andrew13 (March 21, 2006)

my score went away... i agree though, 9/10

andrew13 (March 21, 2006)

great review... and to the person below, the members are from Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, and Scranton... their wilkes-barre shows are fucking crazy... i saw they with an albatross last fall down here, and the place was packed completely full, every siingle person in the crowd was dancing to the sw!ms, then an albatross came out and people went nuts again and halfway through the AA set about half the crowd started getting naked... weirdest show moment ever... lol...

this is a great cd, deffinatly pick it up and see them if they play near you. only track i didn't really like was Knitting and Knitting, but other than that it's amazing from beginning to end...

danperrone (March 21, 2006)

i'm gonna grab this one in mid-april

if i listen to it now, the purpose will be totally defeated

great review

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

This is a great album with plenty of '60s pop rock injected into it. I guess you have to be in the right kind of mood to enjoy this but it sure makes me smile when I get a chance to listen to Sw!ms.

Ramo

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

This band is pretty alright. I thought they were from Wilkes-Barre, not Scranton, PA.

Bedford was good shit.

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

this is good. an albatross is better.

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

I actually have never seen the show the Office, but I really want to. I plan on borrowing my friend's dvds. But, my relatives were excited to tell me that their town (Scranton, Pennsylvania) is where it takes place. I win. Anywho, i should also check this band out.

Anonymous (March 21, 2006)

theres an instrumental band in the bay area called swims that is awesome

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