Release Date: Oct 14, 2016
Record label: Fueled By Ramen
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk, Punk-Pop
Always start with the single. That’s a good tip with a new artist like SWMRS, a throwback punk band with Black Flag DNA and members who may or may not have listened to Japandroids. On Drive North – the single and the name of their debut album – SMWRS strip most of the pretentiousness of punk rock down to its core elements: They hate Los Angeles.
Having switched its handle from Emily's Army to SWMRS, this Oakland, California-based band has changed up its sound as well. The tried-and-true Northern California punk revival attack that dominated the band's work as Emily's Army has given way to a cooler sound, more indebted to indie rock and electronics. Drive North was produced by Zac Carper of the band FIDLAR, and he's helped SWMRS rework their approach.
SWMRS is no accident. After two straight-shot punk albums as Emily's Army, the rebranded Oakland quartet debuts as SWMRS on Drive North, produced by Fidlar frontman Zac Carper and counting Billie Joe Armstrong's son Joey on drums. Fusing Japandroids' ferocity and Black Flag's cacophony, the band gamely sticks to genre basics: wheelbarrow bass ("Uncool"), youthful abandonment ("Harry Dean"), and distortion ("BRB").