Swarming Branch

Swarming Branch

 Columbus, Ohio, USA
BandFolkGlam Rock

Swarming Branch spans a wide dynamic range, running the gamut from manic to depressive, not unlike the microcosmic "Tonight's the Night" by Neil Young and Crazy Horse or the eponymous third album by the Velvet Underground.

Biography

Swarming Branch is a band engaged in three seemingly disparate pursuits: elaborating folk music’s four-chord strum with complex extensions and substitutions, winking at the theater of glam rock from dive bar stages around the country without causing the cynics to spray beer out of their nostrils, and inviting the droning, unbridled tendencies of modal jazz to gradually displace rock and roll’s typical pentatonic shapes. You could say they aspire to become the modern Midwestern Steely Dan, even if they’ve only demonstrated a portion of the elder group’s range thus far.

The band's name is a reference to both the nature of its membership, which is intentionally and perpetually in flux, and its sound, which features densely worded slant rhyme over intertwining, capricious, often improvised melodies. And while the group is based in Columbus, OH, it’s likely that none of its contributors are inside the 614 area code at this moment. Songwriter Andrew Graham installs art exhibitions between spells of working with Swarming Branch. And if times are lean, he just might hang new drywall in your dining room.  Drummer Lon Leary, the only other permanent fixture of the group, splits time between waiting tables in North Carolina’s High Country and camping out in his late-80’s Toyota Van. Though pianist Dane Terry has graced every Swarming Branch recording thus far with his extraterrestrial keyboard stylings, he has seldom appeared live with the group since relocating to New York, where his 2015 musical theatre production Bird In The House earned him the prestigious Ethyl Eichelberger Award.

 On Surreal Number, Swarming Branch’s newest LP on SofaBurn Records, the group has temporarily suspended some of its formal experimentation to create a straightforward collection of ten songs. The album was conceived with the help of a Los Angeles team comprised of engineer Drew Fischer and producer Rob Barbato  (Drinks, Kevin Morby, Peaking Lights, et al) and shows the Branch finding a thicker, synthesized, and more neatly arranged sound while keeping a playful yet assertive spirit that makes every song seem both unlikely and inevitable.

Lyrics

This Sistine Twist

Written By: Andrew Graham

I've got a bead on the line that runs from my heart to Virginia.
But make no mistake, I've got some knots tied inside of me, too.
And I have sudden surprises on a plan that was strong to begin with.
And I have two good eyes but I still can't see what you mean.

And now you've got your blue jeans on.
Oh, like it means something.
And you're insisting on the twist as if
your twist could be the next big thing.
And the beat goes on.
And you're a dervish now.
And I'm beginning to admit that all this twisting could be turning me.

I've got my mind in a hive and my crystals are lined up so sweetly.
I have unbearable jive sewn up inside of my sleeves.
I have a mountain behind me and my footsteps fall proudly beneath me.
And I have so many good words but I still can't say what I mean.

And now you've got your blue jeans on.
Oh, like it means something.
And you're insisting on the twist as if
you're dancing on the Sistine ceiling.
And the beat goes on.
And you're a chaplain now.
And I'm beginning to admit that all this twisting could be turning me
into someone you can count on, like a
1,1,2 - I'm counting out the Sistine twist with you.
It's such a thick boogie, but we can beat it 'til the light shines through.
Oh 3,5,8 - don't you worry if you get home late.
Just keep it going. Keep it going.
Twist it 'til it comes unscrewed.

And now you've got your blue jeans on.
Oh, like it means something.
And you're insisting on the twist as if
you're dancing on the sistine ceiling.
And the beat goes on.
And it's perfect now.
And I'm beginning to admit that all this twisting could be turning me.

That Constant Country Thirst

Written By: Andrew Graham

By no great mistake of my own
I came to be thrown, like a bough, to the fire.
On a great blazing bandstand
I pranced with the hickory choir.
They said "you can wear what you're wearing
or you can dress fine.
No one but no one around here draws a line
between breathing in the smoke of chintz
and of the finest brocade.
It all tastes the same."

There's no hope in the future.
There's no shame in the past.
There's just this constant country thirst
bringing me back
and forth
and back.

So before you go off saying
there's no balm in Gilead fit for your peerless heart,
you've got to have the desire to sing live in the choir,
to be harnessed, and bobtailed, and shod, boys.
May the lines of the stave always carry your weight.
May your time always hold sway.
And may all of your futures speciate into a beautiful bouquet.

There's no hope in the future.
There's no shame in the past.
There's just this constant country thirst
bringing me back
to the Hall of Fame
bring me back.

I'm able now
to see the sun come
without thinking that it's coming for me.

After the fire gives in to the tricks of the wind, leaving only the embers,
you won't have a passage back in or a way to remember the songs that you sang.
And after you find
the traces too heavy to hold,
unplug the fences and let your defenseless dogs roam.

There's no hope in the future.
There's no shame in the past.
There's just this constant country thirst
bringing me back
and forth
and back.

Take it Easy on Kathy, At Least She Can Dance

Written By: Andrew Graham

Q: What are the lyrics to "Take it Easy on
Kathy, At least She Can Dance"?
A: Well listen, I don't want to reason with you
I don't want to try
I just want to show you Kathy,
I want to show you my -
Oh, my blueprints for my dreamboots
Check 'em out, check 'em out
And my brand new sofa bed
Let's fold it out, let's fold it out
And we can get to know the difference
From a margin and an edge
All your coos are going to pull me
'Til I'm standing for your pledge

I'm going to get you, Kathy

She says "I'm glad you found your calling
I've just been listening to my B-sides
But yeah, I'm glad you found your calling
Can a calling just be chasing?"

And then she says
"Go, but careful what you catch
You'll have to eat it next
and you can't take the taste of game."
And I say
"No, I'll drag it through your door
I'll leave it on the floor
To pretend I can't be tamed."
She says "I'm glad you found your calling."

And now it's coming from the back
and to the fore
and now it's coming from the side
and changing course
and now it's coming from the field
into the ground
and she says
"Andrew, it's too late to check the sound."

Well, I think I missed my cue there
I was supposed to say "A sidekick"
But yeah, I think I lost my sidekick
and now I'll have to do the legwork

It's so hard to take it easy

Discography

Swarming Branch:                                                                                                               May 2017 - Surreal Number LP/CD/digital                                                                                April 2017 - "21st Century Attention Span" single                                                                      2013 - "Rock and Roll #61" 10" single                                                                              2013 - Classic Glass LP                                                                                                     2010 - Andrew Graham's Good Word LP

Albums by Andrew Graham w/ RTFO Bandwagon:
2009 - Dums Will Survive LP                                                                                                2009 - "Like A Dan Shearer Over Troubled Water" Cassette                                             2008 - New Jack 7" EP                                                                                                        2007 - Flagships CD

Andrew Graham Solo Albums:
2004 - Green Beans & Pink Lemonade CD
2004 - Dead Melodies CD