Justin Lacy and the Swimming Machine

Justin Lacy and the Swimming Machine

 Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

"Under a blanket of sprawling instrumentation on their debut album, “Overgrown,” energetically gripping sounds of Americana, as if led by a Spanish Armada, rouse jazzy-blues tonalities in a maniacal rock-carnival showdown unlike any heard yet in Wilmington—maybe even NC." - Encore Magazine


In Cold Blood, the first track off of gutter folk band Justin Lacy & The Swimming Machines debut full-length album, Overgrown, opens with a distant drone: a whirling susurration of angelic voices and robotic beeps, buzzes, and chirps that steadily intensifies until it breaks, leaving nothing but a lingering resonance, from which a trio of  whistle (Adam Powell), cello (Chris Johns) and acoustic guitar (Lacy) arises. As the whistling climbs higher, strings, bells, electric guitar (David Easton) and a choir of singers (Sophie Amelkin, Whitney Lanier, Heather Bobeck) emerge, neatly orchestrated into a Spaghetti Western symphony, growing, then lulling down before propelling off into a bumpkin, breakneck ho-down steered by improvised fiddle (Christa Faison) and bebop trumpet (Aaron Lane), and anchored by vibrant upright bass (Jacob David Hurley), heavy drums (Keith Butler Jr.) and raucous saxophone riffs (AJ Reynolds).

In 2012, Lacy and his revolving troop of talented Wilmington, N.C. musicians set out to capture the distinct over-the-top and organic sound conjured up at numerous shows performed since their 2010 inception, infusing minimal and folky moments with symphonic orchestration to create a theatrical and seamless 13-track narrative that, according to Grant Golden of The Bottom String and WKNC 88.1 FM Raleigh, "takes the listener on an aural journey that boats nightmarishly dark overtones juxtaposed with bright brass lines and dance-invoking swing."

"The Swimming Machine can simultaneously invigorate the listener with their energy that seems to pour from the speakers and captivate them with their seamlessly woven layers of fuzzed out guitar, upright bass, brass, and woodwind," Golden writes. "Tracks like Cellophane are perfect representations of this feat, this song is bursting with life and bouncing melodies that perfectly counteract the abrasive grit of Lacy's vocals."

In 2013, JLATSM released an EP of seasonal music titled "This One's For Tina."  The life-session EP features the Swimming Machine's current lineup - Lacy, Lane, Butler, Reynolds, Faison, Lanier, guitarist Michael Buckley and bassist Sam Candio - as well as Wilmington singer/songwriter/pianist Dylan Linehan.  In 2014, JLATSM is touring regionally, scoring short films, and gathering new material for upcoming releases.  



Written By: Justin Lacy

Is it bright out there,
In the tendrils of shade
All your hair’s entangled
In your kudzu crown
It’s all vining and blooming

And when we hit calm it was soaking in miles of moonlight
Settled in orchards and vineyards in acres of rows
And over all the fields
Hung satellites
Each inviting us to bathe
And settle in the soil
Over each, another moon
That we couldn’t choose

And when we hit love I just coddled and loved it away
Settled and tied to a bed twin-sized alone
By ambitious vine
I heard awful laughter
Felt their flashlights rise
Seeking and destroying

It’s a massacre
Of every hue
A million moons
Remain to settle
Over all the farms
And over all their fields
A noxious weed
Remains to settle


Unnamed, Unpaved EP (2011)

Overgrown (2012)

This One's For Tina (2013) 

Set List

The Swimming Machine performs original material, with the occasional cover or two.