Friday, November 6, 2009

"People Are Soft" - The Swimmers

The Swimmers (band)
photo by Jenna Stoltzfus Stamm installation by Janell Olah

This week Philadelphia quartet The Swimmers release their second record, entitled "People Are Soft" on Mad Dragon Records. If you liked 2007's Fighting Trees, then you will love this record. I say that because what I loved about FT was primarily the songwriting of Steve Yutzy-Burkey, which is just as Eels-Depeche-Mode-love-child as before, but I think with a few more "hits" than last time. Though not a noticeable departure sonically, the process behind creating this group of songs was quite different. Here's what Steve had to say about it:

"This was our first shot at tracking and mixing a full record. I had previously always felt like I tried to do too much, and we needed someone else to do basic tracks and mix the record so there was a buffer there to make sure it sounded good. But this one we did PURELY to sound interesting to OURSELVES."

The Swimmers on a rooftop in Philly

Not only that, but the work was all done in The Swimmers' own studio. When I asked him why he went that route, he answered thus: "Money, control and no time limits. Mostly I wanted to get set up in a sustainable way to keep making records in the coming years, so I built a studio at our house."

The production is definitely as strong if not stronger than 2007's Fighting Trees; you can definitely hear that more attention has been paid to the tracks, that the band was willing to try new things. While my favorite track on the record reminds me a little of classic Wilco (What This World Is Coming To - below), the single "A Hundred Hearts" rests on a beautiful, delayed synth xylophone part that could be The Cure or Depeche Mode. Of course, almost no one agrees with me on either of these comparisons. But I think it is interesting.

Steve: "We always push to have each song and each record be its own thing and not limit ourselves to a specific sound or approach that has worked in the past."

The CD Release in Philly is tonight (November 6th) at Kung Fu Necktie [a new venue near Front & Girard, Fishtown/N. Liberties] with The Capitol Years. They will be here in the city tomorrow, November 7th at Piano's. Get Tickets!!

"Shelter" by The Swimmers download mp3 (from The Swimmers)

The Swimmers on MySpace

Buy The Swimmers' records!!

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