Swearin' - What a Dump [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


What a Dump [EP] (2014)

Salinas Records

While it's been available on Bandcamp for years (and cassette, if you could find it), Swearin's debut EP What a Dump has only just recently received a wider physical release, courtesy of Salinas Records. Housing six tracks on a single—sided 12—inch, Dump captures Swearin' in their infancy. It's lo—fi even by the band's grainy standards (Besides "Subterranean," I can't find the clam—flamming bass guitar). But the band's knack for hooks was still very much present in this early form.

While last year's Surfing Strange favors more of an alt—rock approach, Dump is almost pop—punk in its approach. Or at least pop—punk disguised as indie rock. Think Discount's Ataxia's Alright Tonight or the Promise Ring's 30° Everywhere. Brevity is the soul of Swearin' here, as four of the six songs clock in under two minutes, and the longest track is still only two—and—a—half minutes long.

Swearin' evolved towards more surreal lyrics, but here the band focuses more on snapshots of exhaustion. Failing relationships, overwhelming responsibilities. They also sing about coffee a lot. Allison Crutchfield's wordplay spills out, showing a future knack for impressionism. And the band knows its away around a group harmony.

It's weird assigning so much historical context to something that originally came out in 2011, but Swearin' really has evolved since What a Dump came out. But for all the changes, Dump is still stuffed with winners. "Crashing" is all crashing drums and noodling guitars. "Subterranean" hints at the Pixies/Breeders sound the band drifted towards. "Irrational" is a snarling opener, and on and on and on. Dump was a good introduction to Swearin' in 2011, and that remains true in 2014.