“To start again, we’re the lucky ones” opens “Shelter,” the first track on The Swimmers’ People Are Soft, and with it rings the sound of the band reinventing itself. On November 3, 2009, MAD Dragon Records (ADA) is proud to release the sophomore album from this Philadelphia quartet—a staggering, vulnerable recording that distinguishes itself as a debut in its own right.
Following the success of 2008’s Fighting Trees—The Swimmers’ first release on MAD Dragon, which garnered rave reviews from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Magnet, The Tripwire and Time Out Chicago—Steve and Krista Yutzy-Burkey, Scott French and Rick Sieber decided to make a clean break, setting to build a home studio from the ground up and record a new album entirely themselves. The hard-won result features intensely personal songwriting couched in distorted synthesizer hooks, crushing electric guitars and dark reverb swells. “It was a very focused and isolated time in the studio, and much of the grit was in the mixing process. Scott and I traded off, each further refining and affecting the songs,” says lead singer/songwriter Steve.
From “A Hundred Hearts”—Scott’s insatiably catchy group chorus about the often competing pulls of the human heart—to “Drug Party”—a dream sequence of social disconnection set in the immediacy of overblown distorted guitars and brash snare hits—to “What This World Is Coming To”— a diffuse, tender verse that collapses into quirky keyboard lines, handclaps and epic choruses—a picture begins to form of the fractured and sentimental characters in the intricate melodies. Adding the apocalyptic electro-pop of the Krista-sung “Give Me the Sun, “Nervous Wreck’s” triumphant chorus (“sing without and hold together”), and the nostalgic spoken lyric of “Try To Settle In,” these songs finally converge to flesh out the full meaning of the album’s title in their isolation and comfort, allure and fragility, resignation and transcendence: PEOPLE ARE SOFT.
Steve Yutzy-Burkey [guitars, vocals]
Rick Sieber [bass, vocals]
Krista Yutzy-Burkey [keyboards, vocals]
Scott French [drums, vocals]
The Swimmers 'People Are Soft' [to be released Nov. 2009 on Mad Dragon Records]
2. Give Me The Sun
3. A Hundred Hearts
4. Drug Party
5. What This World Is Coming To
6. Save Me [From the Brightness]
7. Nervous Wreck
8. To The Bells
9. Anything Together
10. Dresses Don't Fit
11. Try To Settle In
The Swimmers 'Fighting Trees' [released March 2008, Mad Dragon Records]
1. It’s Time They Knew
3. We Love to Build
4. Miles From Our Fears
6. All the New Sounds
7. Pocket Full of Gold
8. St. Cecilia
10. Your Escape
12. Fighting Trees
1. Rich Girl [Hall & Oates]
2. Tonight the Lights
3. The Ocean Lifts Her Dress
4. Home [demo]
5. Moving [demo]
A Philly band skips a couple of grades on its way to graduation
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When the Swimmers started in 2005 they skipped a couple grades in a band’s usual life. “We started r...When the Swimmers started in 2005 they skipped a couple grades in a band’s usual life. “We started recording first,” says frontman Steve Yutzy-Burkey. “I thought the way to get taken seriously was to have a record before you play live shows, to start from a higher level. It sort of worked in the beginning.”
The Swimmers streamed their first album, Fighting Trees, through their website as they shopped it to labels. They eventually settled on Philadelphia-based, Drexel-run MAD Dragon, and Trees was officially released in March of last year.
As they prep for their sophomore album, Yutzy-Burkey says the band is again going about things differently.
“We’re planning on self-releasing it, so I’d like to just put it up immediately and stop this waiting around for labels and ‘record releases’ and other things. I just want to finish it and get it out and start working on the next thing,” he says.
The new material, which Yutzy-Burkey hopes to release in April, is a departure from the upbeat, poppy harmonies that characterized Fighting Trees.
“I sort of hope that half the people that liked the last record don’t like the next one, just because I don’t want it to sound the same,” he explains. “I feel the last record was kind of safe in a lot of ways and we’re just trying to get away from that and not be as held back by trying to make a polished studio record.”
Part of not playing it safe means fooling around with electronics. “We’re working to a nice integration of electronic and computer-generated sonics with live stuff now,” says Yutzy-Burkey. “We started playing with a track, and doing more interesting sounds that can’t be reproduced by four people on a stage.”
Sun., March 14, 9pm.
With Rosewood Thieves + Swivel Chairs.
M Room, 15 W. Girard Ave.
Next Philly Indie-Pop-Rawk Superstars
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The great thing about The Swimmers is the way they can hook in a crowd. Those bright staccato organ ...The great thing about The Swimmers is the way they can hook in a crowd. Those bright staccato organ lines, jangly guitars and classic mod hooks all work to that end, but secret weapon of a frontman Steve Yutzy-Burkey .. late of One Star Hotel .. has the ability to pace everything just right. The Swimmers' slow songs pack more punch than most bands' fast. (www.theswimmers.com) ..John Vettese
Ten Artists to Watch
(the Swimmers) transcend comparisons and stake their own modest parcel of indie- pop bliss.
The Swimmers To Kick Off NYC Residency
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Their debut LP, Fighting Trees, is a great collection of sunny pop songs that we've been totally dig...Their debut LP, Fighting Trees, is a great collection of sunny pop songs that we've been totally digging lately...make sure you catch their month-long Sunday night residency at Pianos. Chip Adams.
Testing the Waters: The Swimmers
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Philly based pop quartet, The Swimmers are one of the most impressive, unsigned national acts I've h...Philly based pop quartet, The Swimmers are one of the most impressive, unsigned national acts I've heard in '07. Their album Fighting Trees is a solid blend of the alt-folk leanings they used to stress combined with their new found pop sensibility.
The Swimmers have everything it takes to be the next big thing.
1. Its Time They Knew
2. St. Cecilia
3. We Love to Build
6. In The Park [unreleased]
7. All the New Sounds
8. To the Bells [unreleased]
9. Star [David Bowie]
11. Rich Girl [Hall & Oates]
There are no upcoming dates at this time.