Swear and Shake
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Swear and Shake

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Folk Rock




" A night with Swear and Shake and 3 more emerging NYC bands at The Living Room on 09.24"

Music site Buzzchips.com is presenting a night with emerging NYC bands at The Living Room on Saturday September 24. Apparently the organizers found out about some of these bands using our awesome (and WAAAY under-appreciated) regional web charts - that's actually what they are there for, connecting musicians with other musicians, fans, and show organizers. Anyway, besides Aeroplane Pageant, the bill features artists we never blogged about, including folksters Swear and Shake (in the picture), led by Kari Spieler's gorgeously full voice. On the bill also gritty lo-fi indie pop outfit Little Racer and 80s pop resurrectors Fishdoctor. - The Deli Magazine


Can somebody explain to me how I wound up in Brighton Center two buckets deep into a High Life marathon? Because THAT happened. Good thing the music was good.

Swear and Shake at Porter’s Belly: Boston, we need to have a chat. I get that the “next big thing” of a band needs to pay their dues and play crap venues before they open for huge acts and headline the Paradise, sure. That said: WHY THE HELL WAS A BAND LIKE SWEAR AND SHAKE PLAYING AT A DIVE IN BRIGHTON CENTER? No offense to Porter’s Belly (which is just fine as an establishment, and my hangover thanks you for your bucket o’ High Life for $10 drink special), but these guys need a real show at a real spot. Not a short set after an hour and a half of two dudes acoustically jamming out and taking themselves too seriously. Swear and Shake (which is a band name I fucking love, by the way) opened up for Dig pals Kingsley Flood in Newport about a month ago, so when Nick of the Flood invited me to come check them out last night I knew they’d be stellar. And they were fantastic, and I have a massive, massive girl crush on Kari Spieler as a result. So, venues of the great cities of Boston and Allston and the people’s republic of Cambridge: GETONTHESEGUYSNOW. Kthx. - Digboston.com

"Swear and Shake"

I usually take a few days to assess a bands music; see how much it really impacts me, listen to the lyrics, really take it all in. Well, in this case it took me one day to realize that I was head over heels for this band. It took just one song to feel that way. I’m so extremely excited to feature Swear and Shake and welcome them onto the site. They are from New York and recently released their EP, Extended Play, which has been receiving praises from many. Currently, the band is busy recording their first full-length album and have launched a fundraiser in order to get their music into your hands. I truly believe their music is one of a kind and helping fund someone’s dream is always a worthwhile venture. Please follow this link and donate as little as $1 (that’s less than you spend on a cup of Starbuck’s coffee).

An interview with Swear and Shake is in the works, but since I was so excited about coming across them, I’d like you all to watch their video, The Light. Enjoy. - Sounds that Matter

"Discover 10 Local Bands at B.O.M.B Fest"

Saturday 1:25 - 1:55 p.m. on the Budweiser Stage. This up-and-coming indie folk/rock quartet is now a mainstay on the New York scene, but their roots lie in Greenwich. Their debut EP "Extended Play" was released in late 2010 and quickly garnered raves from Newsday and a host of other area publications. They've already shared the stage with the likes of Alison Krauss and Ray LaMontagne. - The Feast

"A Sunny and Soulful Folk-Rock Shindig"

Sometimes it takes years for a band to find their voice. On their debut EP Extended Play, released late last year, folk-rock newbies Swear and Shake already sound like they've been singing their soulful songs for ages. Singer Kari Spieler is a millennial version of Emmylou Harris, and the rhythm section will have you clapping and stomping along to each song like neo-folkie counterparts Mumford & Sons. You can sense the passion in this band with every note they hit, string they strum and snare they bash. Come to the Knit and let these guys charm your overalls off.

Swear and Shake's set tonight is part of the Knitting Factory's "Neighborhood Rock Revue." Also on the bill are The Beauvilles, Le Blorr, InAshton, Jen Urban & The Box and Viva Mayday. - Beacon Pass

"The Promise - Swear and Shake"

Musical discoveries like these make me want to move to NY. Swear and Shake is blowing up the indie folk/rock scene across the state, and their debut five-song EP Extended Play has earned them comparisons to everyone from Mumford & Sons to Bon Iver. “The Promise” has more of a rock feel than the rest of the album, which is predominantly folk with a soulful flare and mostly features vocalist Kari Spieler, whose breathtaking voice is often compared to June Carter Cash. Not bad. We hear her a bit on “The Promise” (listen for her towards the end), but the star of this particular track is Adam McHeffey, shaping the song both vocally and instrumentally with his harmonica, which let’s be honest, we don’t hear enough of these days. Kollect “The Promise” and download the entire EP (I love “Johnnie” as well) for free on Swear and Shake’s website. - The Indie Kollective

"Purchase Grads Deliver Excellent Ep"

Swear and Shake is a pop-folk quartet born out of the songwriting collaborations of Purchase alumni Adam McHeffey and Kari Spieler. Joined by Shaun Savage on bass and Thomas Elefante on drums, the four piece released their debut EP, simply titled "Extended Play," this past Thanksgiving.

The deep croons and careful guitar plucks of Spieler pull the listener into the intro track "Being and Time." Spieler isn't alone for long, as the band quickly jumps in to bring the pace to an inviting gallop. Spieler's melodies soar with memorable simplicity, as do the well-placed background harmonies.

McHeffey takes the reins on "The Promise," a harmonica-backed waltz that is one of the record's liveliest tunes. Held together by the rhythm section as much as it is by McHeffey's unique inflection, the track bounces along with a feel-good energy throughout. Spieler steps out of the spotlight for the track, but her backing vocals drive McHeffey's earnest delivery even further.

The folky "Johnnie" is a diamond among the EP's catchy gems. A simple declaration of honest love, the track finds Spieler singing "Honey, all your bridges burned/Should you find your boots worn/I will patch your soles/If you swear you'll walk with me." Once again, the interweaving vocals of Spieler and McHeffey make a memorable song unforgettable.

"Extended Play" picks back up with "Truckstop Flower," another McHeffey jam. A bright, midtempo rocker, the song highlights the sunny simplicity that complements Spieler's more folk-influenced approach.

The EP concludes with Spieler's "Bones," a somber, stripped down ballad. Backed by organs, subtle percussion work, and harmonies guaranteed to give goosebumps, Swear and Shake do an expert job at bringing the mini record to a dramatic conclusion.

While still in their early 20s, McHeffey and Spieler exude the confidence and quirk of veteran songwriters. The music is warm and accessible, while the lyrics will stay with listeners long after the disc stops spinning. And while the front man and woman could each entertain on their own, Savage and Elefante provide a rhythmic spine that keeps each song standing tall.

For a five-track EP of this quality, perhaps its one flaw is its brevity. Let's hope Swear and Shake extends their play to a full-length next time around. - The Purchase Brick

"B.O.M.B. Fest 2011: Swear & Shake"

The folk pop quartet Swear & Shake appeared at B.O.M.B. Fest Saturday afternoon, rendering an expansive, majestic, harmony-heavy sound that left crowds all warm and fuzzy.

So, it’s hard to fathom that the group began as a bedroom project with just a pair of acoustic guitars.

“We quickly realized that we wanted the band to have a fuller sound,” said Adam McHeffey, of Greenwich, who co-founded the group with singer Kari Spieler last year at SUNY Purchase College.

To that end, McHeffey recruited two of his childhood friends from Long Island, N.Y., bassist Shaun Savage and drummer Thomas Elefante to lay down a rhythmic foundation. The group has since clicked, exchanging artistic ideas and becoming close friends in the process.

“I was little nervous to open up at first when it came to the writing process,” Spieler said. “Now, we’re all very open with each other.”

The group, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, last year released a self-titled EP, which was recorded, in part, at McHeffey’s Greenwich studio. They plan to release their debut full-length record by the close of the summer. - Culture Cache

"LI Sound: Swear and Shake's 'Johnnie' be good"

dam McHeffey first realized he wanted a band when he wrote the song "Johnnie" from a female perspective.
"I was experimenting with writing from different points of view," the singer-songwriter from Center Moriches explained. "And I liked the song, but when I played it live, it just didn't work. It needed a girl to sing it."
He approached Kari Spieler, a singer-songwriter who was also...
- Newsday

"Swear and Shake EP Release @ Arlene’s"

Sometimes you come across a band that reminds you of something without actually encompassing that thing at all. Thus began our interest in Swear and Shake. Their folksy sound was reminiscent of small bands in smaller dive bars ceaselessly touring through the South. The fact that they met north of the mason/dixon at SUNY Purchase was of little consequence to us.

Just a few listens of their polished tracks and the voice of Kari Spieler hits you. Her voice is strong yet sweet, like a young June Carter Cash, but thankfully its not the workhorse of this quartet. The band dynamic was clearly on display last night at the EP release at Arlene’s Grocery. On “Johnnie,” the percussion explosion in the middle of the track demonstrates that drummer Tom Elefante won’t be leaving Spieler’s vocals unchallenged. Bassist Shaun Savage is also doing his part, adding an undercurrent of energy to “Bones.” Adam McHeffey shares singing duties with Spieler and serves as the utility band member, playing harmonica and joking with the audience, comfortable in all roles. As a new band, their growth may pull them away from the sound that their currently displaying, but to reference their twitter bio, we hope it gets much bigger.

Upcoming shows include The Silent Barn in Bushwick and The Charleston in Williamsburg. - Brooklynbelles.com


"Maple Ridge" - April 2012
"For Better, For Worse" - November 2011
"Swear and Shake Extended Play" - November 2010
"Johnnie" Single - May 2010



In a city that offers endless new sounds, New York-based band Swear and Shake's loyal fan base and earnest talent have driven them on tours across the US and into the focal point of fawning critics. The band's star seems to be continually on the rise, as they play premiere Manhattan and Brooklyn venues and release their fully-Kickstarter-funded LP, Maple Ridge, only a year after their formation. 
Swear and Shake is Kari Spieler (vocals, lyrics, guitar), Adam McHeffey (vocals, lyrics, guitar, banjo, piano), Shaun Savage (electric bass), and Tom Elefante (percussion). The band formed in 2010 after Kari helped Adam record a demo one of his original songs, "Johnnie." From that moment, they knew they were on to something good. Adam recruited longtime friends Shaun and Tom to flesh out the sounds behind Kari's soulful, smoky voice and Adam's catchy folk strumming.
The band was a hit from their first release in November 2010, a five track album aptly titled "Extended Play," which received over 200,000 Creative Commons downloads in North American and Europe. In the first few months, favorite tunes like "Johnnie" and "Bones" started to pop up in covers on YouTube. 
Newsday praised the band, comparing them to indie darlings Mumford & Sons and Bon Iver. New York's The Deli described front lady Kari's pipes as "gorgeously full," and Brooklyn Belles compared her to “a young June Carter Cash." David Malachowski of the Daily Freeman made clear that Swear and Shake is more than fun sounds and pretty faces. “A haunting postcard from a faraway, warmer place, Spieler’s moving, heartfelt delivery takes this to a higher place,” writes Malachowski. “Daring and direct, Swear and Shake points a finger at you, and you can’t help but respond. Well done.” Frost Click called the band’s EP a “treat” and writes, “There's no denying the fact that Swear and Shake know how to make amazing sounds. The quartet has a knack for creating a wonderful balance of emotion, instruments, vocals and lyrics; making you want to listen more and more.”
Writing about their appearance at B.O.M.B. Fest opening for Weezer and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Connecticut's Culture Cache called their sound,  "expansive, majestic, harmony-heavy," and music blog The Indie Kollection wrote, “Musical discoveries like these make me want to move to NY.” Luckily, there's still time to make the move considering blog The Feast called them "a mainstay on the New York scene."
Despite the band's critical acclaim, attending a Swear and Shake show feels like a cozy, crowded room of old friends where a guitar is picked up as the last bottle is poured. Shows at New York institutions like The Living Room, Pete's Candy Store, The Knitting Factory, Arlene's Grocery, and the Bitter End have been raucous and full of laughter and dancing. Music blog Sounds That Matter, who had the band record a video for their site testified, "It took me one day to realize I was head over heels for this band."
Using the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, the band raised $5,250 ($750 over their goal) from over 100 individual donations to make their latest independent record. Swear and Shake used various social media outlets and endearing quirky video updates to get the word out about their Kickstarter campaign (and released a super adorable impromptu celebratory dance video when they reached their goal). Recording was finished in the early fall and the album, including recent fan favorites like "These White Walls," "Marbles," and "Wrecking Ball," will be available in early 2012.