The Swellers
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The Swellers

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"4/5 Stars (Punknews.org)"

Influences are fairly easy to recognize in the work of younger musicians. Often, the inspired will borrow from their current peers, and the final result is all-too-often the standard carbon copy after carbon copy. With the Swellers, a band with some members that are still teenagers, a new path is being forged upon a genre that dominated when most in the group were still in elementary school.

My Everest, the debut LP from the Swellers, is the perfect album for anyone that grew up listening to punk in the mid-1990s. Their brand of highly energetic, technically proficient and amazingly melodic pop-punk will bring to mind the earlier days of bands like No Use for a Name, Lagwagon and Pulley. Skatepunk my friends, yet fresh and modern. My Everest is the perfect summer album, one you can throw on in your car, and go drive around on a warm sunny day without skipping a single song. Granted, there isn't much diversity in the tracks, but is that so bad? The band has found their niche, and is continuing to carve the hell out of it with smooth vocals accompanied by blazing guitars and a nearly flawless rhythm section. Plus, the guitar solos are well-placed and come off without the slightest sense of "cheesiness."

The album's best tracks showcase the Swellers in top form, such as "The Flood" and its breakneck pace yet perfectly balanced melodies. Then you have the highly anthemic gem on the record, "Bottles," a song belonging on any summer mix tape, and deserving of heavy repeat action on your stereo. The album's closer, "The Way Back Home," leaves the listener only wanting more. It's one of the more experimental tracks on the album, but the sequencing of it works out perfectly. Changes in varying paces and a build-up into the final minute with an increasing tempo gives the songs an almost epic feeling. It's good to see some bands closing out albums with songs that rock, which only serves to leave the listener wanting to play the album again.

The only suggestion to the band would be to work on the music’s diversity, particularly the vocals, for future efforts. This isn't to say that there is necessarily anything wrong with what is presented on My Everest. For the genre, it's a fantastic effort all around, but for a band so young and with so much talent, it will be interesting to see if the they stay on the same path musically, or try something new. Regardless, with My Everest, the boys have a very firm place to start and I can only imagine they are going to get a lot better, garner more attention, and create even better albums. My Everest is a solid release and highly recommended.

4/5 Stars

-Chris Moran - Punknews.org


"My Everest Review (pastepunk.com)"

Coming of age in the late 90's meant a heavy dose of pre-Drive Thru era pop punk. Punk-O-Rama was your audible tomb, Warped Tour was your summer camp and the guys singing still sounded like guys. It would seem though that times change and nothing gold can stay. Pop-punk got more poppy and less punk, skate culture got left in the dust and singers began taking vocal cues from TRL. Holdover bands that soldiered on ended up merely re-releasing new iterations of their classic mid-90's efforts. Aside from a dedicated few, most fans moved on. Leave it to the punk scene however to throw you a curve ball every so often.

My Everest, the sophomore effort from Flint, MI’s THE SWELLERS, stands to be the album that firmly bridges mid-90's pop punk with the few unpussified aspects of modern day pop punk. By combining the intensity, speed and hooks of groups like NO USE FOR A NAME and HORACE PINKER with the metal inspired guitar work of A WILHELM SCREAM and SMOKE OR FIRE the band finds a musical middle ground that suggests that the Pete Wentz's of the world are no longer the only ones making definitive statements about what pop punk is.

The greatest testament to the infectious nature of the album was it took nearly two hours to make it through the thirty-seven minute album. The second track, “Bottles”, is an audio-roadblock that will stop listeners dead in their tracks. The song is reminiscent of COOTER-era AUTOPILOT OFF in that it is insatiably hooky without a hint of saccharine. It kicks off with a driving four-four beat and immediately jumps into a chorus that continuously beckons for just one more play. You will loose yourself in it for days. You will spend the next week telling every one of your friends “you need to hear this song.”

THE SWELLERS always manage to edit themselves enough that their A WILHELM SCREAM inspired guitar flourishes never seem ripped off, their songwriting and harmonies are unanimously solid and yet they have a vocalist that sounds like a man. They in essence have the total package. Given the current state of pop punk, tagging them as a pop punk band could be viewed as a disservice, but everyone that grew up on early Punk-O-Rama compilations will get it. My Everest will undoubtedly become an org-core classic.

-Mark Jourdian - Pastepunk.com


"8.75/10 (Absolutepunk.net)"

For many, the high temperatures and blaring rays of sunlight of the summer solstice mean a couple things: parties, water and pop-punk music. I know for me, many summers meant I would be riding around town, windows down, stereo turned all the way up, blasting blink-182 or New Found Glory. As long as it got the girls in the car with us or down to the bonfire, we didn't care.

As seasons change and my age has taken me out of my carefree teenage years, I find summer lacking the same energy as it once did. While I still enjoy cranking up Enema of the State and Ocean Avenue on a crisp, clear sunny day, I find that my real energy comes from straight-up punk rock.

Bands like Millencolin, Lagwagon, Rise Against, Much The Same...they get me revved up and turned on for summertime action, like kicking over gasoline tins into fire pits, off-roading on construction sites and belly-flopping into a crowded pool of children. If it takes my mind off the fact that my back is glued to the leather couch in my living room due to the heat, then the music has done its job.

2007 has now given me even more reason to be stoked for the summer: The Swellers' fantastic new album, My Everest, which I think is safe to say, one of my top favorite releases in the punk rock genre and easily one of 2007's very best achievements in fast-paced, high-energy punk music. It goes down like a nice spoonful of Midtown, A Wilhelm Scream and early Alkaline Trio. The foursome from Flint, Michigan are young and heavily influenced by bands highly-acclaimed not only by the AP.net majority, but by people who just like their alternative rock infused with a dash of pop and skate-punk/hardcore.

The twelve tracks on the disc are blazed through with incredible ferocity and demonstrate the multi-faceted skill of these soon-to-be-famous punks. Celebrating the DIY culture and their hometown roots, they come off as very blue-collar and relatable to the casual listener, which is what has helped their influences become praised. For example, the firing opener, "Vehicle City," is about the band's hometown, and the changes it has undergone in terms of just growing up and trying to get out (something I am sure many can relate to).

The pummeling tune "The Flood" has a manic drumbeat that keeps the song flourishing, in a song talking about destruction and adapting to new surroundings. My favorite cut, "The Is My Everest" is packs a punch well-worth the price of the album, climaxing into a punk rock anthem for everyone, with a deep-throat, gut-twisting guitar riff all the way through. Really, in all honesty, every track plays like an anthem speaking to a generation under scrutiny, as in such tunes like "Clean Slate" and the high-octane "What's At Stake". My Everest doesn't really ever take a breath from being a kick in the teeth (although "Keep Looking Where Your Eyes Are Looking Now" is a two-minute acoustic number). Even during the 5 minute 22 second finale, "The Way Back Home," which incorporates anthemic hardcore with an epic build-up, the band doesn't ever stop to be artsy - they light some dynamite and throw it in your ear canal to keep you awake and interested.

Nick Diener is also a great vocalist, taking the same rough-vocal cue from Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) and Nuno Pereira (A Wilhelm Scream), with soaring emotion in his voice and sounding incredibly impassioned in his delivery. His brother, Jonathan, keeps up the rhythm by tearing apart the skins, while Lance Nelson and Garrett Burgett pile up the rest of the pieces, only to knock them over with earthquake-like riffs.

Matching the pop-hook sensibilities of Midtown, the vocal style of A Wilhelm Scream and the grinding thrash sound of Lagwagon or Much The Same, The Swellers are destined to have the torch passed down to them as the country's new-found punk rock heroes to all misfits, mischiefs and people looking for some energy not in the form of an aluminum can.

Forget drinking Red Bull - The Swellers' My Everest will give you wings all throughout summer and then some.

Vocals 9.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 9
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 8.75
Final Verdict: 87%
- Absolutepunk.net


"Mountainous Melodicore (Alternative Press)"

With Over It attempting to tread mainstream waters and Much The Same calling it quits, things are looking grim for fans of technical, mid-'90s-influenced skate punk. But alongside acts like Ryan's Hope, The Swellers look to quell those fears a bit. Drawing from No Use For A Name's pleading pop elements and A Wilhelm Scream's rugged harmonies and blast-off briskness, The Swellers also manage to capture that youthful, cheeky exuberance of their predecessors on My Everest. They do throw in a few tricks amid all the double-time thrashings, with the soft acoustic number “Keep Looking Where Your Eyes Are Looking Now”, a punchy Drive-Thru-style pop-punk chorus on “Rain Check” and the more restrained tempos and slick melodic hooks of “Clean Slate”. Granted The Swellers do rip out a few pages from the EpiFat playbook, but they're followed with an intriguing candor that may have depreciated on some of their influences.

3/5 Stars

-Brian Shultz - Alternative Press Magazine


"Great Review in AMP"

In every way, My Everest is a more mature effort than Beginning of the End Again for The Swellers, and this is definitely a good thing. A major influence from Nitro-style punk acts (A Wilhelm Scream, Much the Same) is still evident in the sound, mixed with a bit of mainstream rock, but the band expands upon it with stronger songwriting than ever before. It's great, melodic punk, but it's also diverse. In one album, the band will kick your ass with a great opener, "Vehicle City," show off Dragonforce style with a badass guitar solo in "The Flood," surprise you with a key change in "This Is My Everest," get a bit mellow with "Keep Looking Where Your Eyes Are Looking Now," touch upon personal, emotional subject matter with "Skoots," and come full circle again with "The Way Back Home." It all adds up to a diverse album that sticks to its punk roots while trying out some new stuff and getting a hell of a lot better. My Everest is the album that proves The Swellers should be taken as a serious band, and it's just a great listen. [WMJ]
(Search and Rescue / www.searchandrescuerecords.com) - AMP Magazine


Discography

*Ups and Downsizing*

Label: Fueled By Ramen
Producer: Mark Michalik
Recorded at Sentient Studios (Chicago, IL)
Mastering at Sterling Sound by Ted Jenson
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Distro: Warner

*My Everest*

Label: Search And Rescue Records
Producer: Mark Michalik
Recorded at Sentient Studios (Chicago, IL)
Mastering at West West Side by Alan Douches
Release Date: June 5, 2007
Distro: Lumberjack Mordam Group

Track Listing:
1. Vehicle City
2. Bottles
3. The Flood
4. My Everest
5. Clean Slate
6. Surrounded
7. What's At Stake
8. Rain Check
9. Keep Looking Where Your Eyes Are Looking Now
10. Skoots
11. Conscience, Meet Common Sense
12. The Way Back Home

*Beginning Of The End Again*

Label: Search And Rescue Records
Producer: Mark Michalik
Recorded and Mastered at Sentient Studios (Flint, MI)
Release Date: Aug 2, 2005
Distro: Lumberjack Mordam Group

Track Listing:
1. Tunnel Vision
2. The Inside
3. Run
4. They All Float Down Here
5. By A Thread
6. Immunity
7. Over And Out

Photos

Bio

From the perpetually down-on-its-luck, blue collar, rustbelt factory town of Flint, Michigan, comes new Fueled By Ramen signees The Swellers, a punk band that knows a thing or two about making hard, no-nonsense, but infinitely catchy music.

Following in the footsteps of other hard- Flintites who've made their name on the world stage—film provocateur Michael Moore, ’70s hard rock pioneers Grand Funk Railroad, ’80s grindcore/death-metal pioneers Repulsion, and the late rapper M.C. Breed—The Swellers have forged a hard-edged, yet accessible style of punk over the better part of a decade, the last three of which have been spent touring non-stop with the likes of Less Than Jake, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, A Wilhelm Scream and Streetlight Manifesto, among numerous others.

Now, with their Fueled By Ramen debut Ups and Downsizing the Flint-area four-piece manages to expound on the rollercoaster of life they’ve experienced on the road and in that perpetual hard-luck area just north of Detroit while expanding the poppy punk sound they've been honing since their mid-teens.

In true punk tradition, Ups and Downsizing is the outraged cry of a band that has seen its world on the precipice. It’s also the sound of a band that sees hope in the most hopeless of situations.

"Our last album My Everest was pretty pessimistic. It kind of had a negative view, it was a bummer but the music was uplifting," explains singer-guitarist Nick Diener, referring to their critically acclaimed first album, released in 2007. “This new one I'd say is expanded musically and lyrically. It’s got a certain ‘looking-up’ kind of feel to it. Here’s where it is now, it’ll just get better, but you’ve got to work for it.”

The title song was inspired by what’s been going on in Michigan long before the recession hit the rest of the country—dwindling jobs, people moving out of the state, a bleak future—and how it hit Diener and his drummer brother, Jonathan, at home after their father was laid off from an automotive-related job.

“My dad was working at two steel plants, working half a week in Detroit, then driving two hours to go to Grand Rapids and work there. He was working more than he should have, but he was still doing it,” says Jonathan.

Until the pink slip came. “We thought, ‘That’s us for once, not some random person at GM.’” Nick describes it as a kind of diaspora in the band’s home state. Many friends and family members have been pushed out of state for a multitude of reasons. Though the Diener brothers decided to stay in Michigan, their parents moved to North Carolina after dad landed a new job there. “It’s about ups and downs, taking off and moving somewhere else because you lost your job. Our parents, everyone’s parents, friends, and family in our state have had it rough. It’s hard to deal with but that's life,” Nick says. “It’s cool. Toward the end of the song you get the vibe that if you look at our parents’ example, they are much happier where they are now."

First single 'Fire Away,' with its catchy chorus of “abandon ship/fend for yourself/you’ve got that sinking feeling/and nothing else,” is about commitment and the loss and sense of betrayal that comes when someone close jumps overboard.

Even more powerful is 'Feet First,' a song about suicide inspired by the documentary The Bridge, which chronicles several suicide attempts from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The song’s title comes from the story of one jumper changed his mind on the way down and hit the water feet first, the safest way to hit the water. That jumper is alive and is now an advocate for anti-suicide. “It’s one of the most powerful songs on the record,” says Nick.

The Dieners started The Swellers as a trio in 2002. The group molded its sound—a cross between classic punk and ’90s rock—at the Vehicle City’s local music incubator, the legendary Flint Local 432, an all-ages, volunteer-supported club that also produced the band Chiodos.

After cutting their teeth at “The Local” for a few years, the band hit the road to support their first release, a 2005 EP entitled Beginning of The End Again on Ann Arbor label, Search and Rescue Records. The trek has not let up for more than a few weeks at a time, and yet the band still found time to write, record, and release My Everest.

“I think that was probably the best choice we ever made,” Jonathan says, noting that touring full-time not only made them better performers and writers, but afforded them eye-opening experiences they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

“We saw a pickup truck flip over and stopped to help the guy out, waited for EMS to come. We don’t know if he ever lived,” the drummer says. “We’ve played everywhere in the United States, and on top of that we’re meeting other bands in every city, making new friends every day, and living a bare minimum lifestyle. If the venue has peanut butter and jelly it’s the best day of your life.

“We signed to Fueled By Ramen because of our r