Tag Archives: The Vaselines

Praise from Tony Are: “Living Through 2012: My Year in Music” (Rule of Thumb)

Cover_PicCheck out the full article: Living Through 2012: My Year in Music  “Somebody has to say this, so I guess I will — Schwervon! Is one of America’s best bands. Fickle popular taste and the current state of the music industry may very well prevent them from joining the ranks of the Talking Heads, Nirvana, and the White Stripes in terms of mass appeal, but they are doing so many things right in so many ways that in a just world (which I’m afraid this is not) they would at least be in the same discussion as Sonic Youth or Yo La Tengo or LCD Soundsystem or Wilco. Now spread across 13 years, five albums, and a bunch of singles, they have developed what started out as a sort of primitive duo-pop into unique and lyrically sophisticated music that combines indie-punk aggression, early-Velvet-Underground-style experiments, ingenious harmonies, and such solid song structures that you never forget where you are in a song, and you never wonder if it is leading somewhere.

They understand the amped-up guitar as well as silence and empty space. Every corner you turn in one of their songs brings a shock of pleasure – a guitar freakout that evolves into a hook that stays with you until the next time you hear it, or a plaintive indie-folky intro that mashes seamlessly with a multi-layered pop chorus. The music is deceptively simple, but folds out like a pop-up book – turning lush without layers of distancing overdubs, adding hook after hook without making a huge big deal out of it, and staying unfathomably and deliberately uncatagorizable but completely audience friendly – although their insistence on doing all these wonderful pop things but leaving the rough edges intact may be part of why they haven’t yet been at the top of the charts. And the lyrics, which early in their career were mainly ruminations on relationships (principally the one they have with each other), are now typically dreamscapes which strip the flesh off human interactions, not in order to disguise the personal (or the political), but to reveal the bones beneath.

2012’s “Courage”, recorded in Memphis with engineer Doug Easley (Pavement, Sonic Youth, etc.) continued the winning streak. A masterpiece of brevity, clocking in at just over 23 minutes, it takes on longing, regret, anticipation and, of course, courage. The sessions took place as the band was making the decision to leave New York and make a new life in Kansas City, and in the songs you can feel them reluctantly letting go of what (and who) they were leaving behind and looking toward what was coming next with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Dave Shouse of The Grifters and  Frances McKee of The Vaselines (who Schwervon have toured with and are in many ways their spiritual predecessors) make candid singing appearances. I can’t put it any more simply: if you haven’t heard them, you need to hear them. If you don’t like them, you need to like them. If you don’t understand why, you need to go back and learn more about music.” – Tony Are is a writer, critic, and occasional musician who lives in New York City. He started playing in bands in 1967 and finally gave up in 2003.  Now he sits in a rocking chair and tells the young whippersnappers how much better it used to be in his day. His poetry is at http://tonyare.weebly.com/index.html.

Week #5 Halifax, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Home

Finally got around to putting up the blog for the last few days of our European Tour. Enjoy and thank you for your support! This was our most successful headlining tour to date! If you’d like to check out our new album: COURAGE, you can purchase your own copy in digital or limited edition CD and Vinyl format from the Schwervon! Bandcamp page.
Nan and MattIMG_2847It was raining in Halifax when Michael (the promoter) picked us up at the train station. We had a little time so he took us to his local pub for quick pint. The pub we went to was called the “Big 6.” Can’t remember what the Big 6 meant but it was extremely cozy. Now if you’ve never been to a Traditional British Pub it’s a little hard to describe. They don’t really have anything like them in the states. The best way I can describe them is kind of like a cross between a bar and your grandparent’s living room. They’re always carpeted and usually have a fireplace, with a  little dog and an old man nearby. Another general quality is that they are often in a place you would never know a pub existed unless someone told you about it. Unlike traditional bars, pubs are usually well-lit and closely quartered. I like this a lot because chances are you’ll be forced to share a bench and probably even interact with a complete stranger. But nobody really feels like a stranger in a pub. I suppose that’s kind of the point.
IMG_2852 The show in Halifax turned out to be a blast. It started out a bit strange as Nan thought the kids in front were shouting at her instead of with her…..but it all turned around when a mature gentleman with white hair got up and started dancing like he meant it.  We even managed a handful of rug cutters for the last few tunes. We stayed with a really nice group of kids who had a Gummo doppelganger cat named Fizzypop. (Puffy eyed morning shot above)

The animal fun didn’t stop there. The next day it was off to Glasgow where our friends Adey and Ema (from London) had recently moved. We crashed with them at their lovely new flat. These are their two bunnies: Frederick and Mable. IMG_2854Glasgow was all about reuniting with old friends. The bill included Mandrake Shepard (our friend Paul’s band with his girlfriend Corinne). They did a dancepop set that evening which was funny and surprising and got the party going. Also on the bill were Frances and Eugene (from The Vaselines) doing solo sets. Frances’ songs reminded us of Nico a bit – beautiful and melancholy. Eugene’s songs have more classic neo-folk troubador stylings of Dylan. With a little Leonard Cohen sprinkled in his delivery. The highlight of the evening was when Frances joined us for a live version of the vocal part she did for our song Truth Teller. So far we’ve been able to do this song in Brooklyn and in Glasgow with her which is thrilling.

Our final show was in Aberdeen at our friend’s Jackie and Gary’s favorite bar called the Brew Dog. It was also the day before Gary’s birthday! The Brew Dog is not your traditional British Pub. It’s pretty progressive actually, and they have all kinds of funky types of beers and ales in varying degrees of potency. There is a bottle of beer that is 55% proof called the End of History. And yes it’s served in a dead squirrel and goes for about 750 pounds a bottle. By the way, no squirrels were harmed in the process. Only about 15 bottles of the stuff were made and the squirrel source is claimed to be “road kill.” Yummy. IMG_2864One of the highlights of the show was playing with our friend Alan Cynic. He performs under the name The Kitchen Cynics and he’s one of my favorite songwriters. Since it was the end of the tour we gave ourselves a couple of days to decompress in Aberdeen before heading home. We had Jacqui’s Beef Wellington! And Fish n chips! The first day Nan and Jacqui and a friend of theirs went ice skating. Old football injuries prevented Gary and I from participating but it was fun to watch. Nan wants to go ice skating all the time now.

The next day Alan Cynic gave us a little tour of a part of Aberdeen that involved a bit of nature and some historic landmarks, including this church, which is rumored to have one of William Wallace’s limbs buried within its foundation. Here’s the crew giving it their best.Giving it their best.We also took a little walk over Scotland’s oldest bridge. There’s some kind of folk tale that involves  Lord Byran and a virgin riding a virgin horse over it that I don’t really remember. Nonetheless, it was a charming wee bridge.The Oldeset bridge in Scotland.

Our flight home the next morning left at 5:30 am which meant we had to wake up at 3:00am. Ugh! It was presidential election day. We heard the early trends in the bleary eyed in the Aberdeen Airport. Needless to say we were relieved to return home with the return of Obama for a second term. Thanks USA for the nice homecoming present! And thanks to all our friends in Europe!

WHAT A WEEK! Schwervon! Back To School Tour! COURAGE: Album Release Show Sept. 28th!


SCHWERVON! Back To School Mini Tour Dates with a summit that peaks in Brooklyn, NY opening for The Vaselines. This will be the first tour we’ll have CD copies available of our new album: COURAGE (recorded by Doug Easley in Memphis).
Aug. 26 – Indianapolis, IN @ Birdy’s (w/ Sonic Dioxide + Mr. Clit & the Pink Cigarettes)
Aug. 27 – Canton, OH @ Buzzbin Art & Music Shop (w/ Dolly Rocker Ragdoll)
August 30 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Bell House (w/ The Vaselines!)
August 31 @ TBA (email: schwervon at gmail.com for details)
Sept. 01 – New Brunswick, NY @ Paradise Lost New Brunswick, NJ (w/ The Timid Roosevelts) email schwervon at gmail.com for details
Sept.  02 – Washington, D.C @ The Dunes (w/ Southern Problems)
Sept. 04 – Harrisonburg, VA @ Blue Nile (w/ Uncle Bengine)
Sept. 05 – Charleston, WV @ Studio 1031
Sept. 06 – Dayton OH @ Casa de King
Sept. 07 – St. Louis, MO @ Heavy Anchor (w/ Frances with Wolves)
HEY! Got a Facebook friend in or near one of these towns?
Let ’em know by sharing this link:
If we had to pick a week where we officially became Kansas City-ans, this last one would have been very much in the running. The Major Matt Mason USA and Nan and the One Night Stands double bill at Weirdo Wednesday  was one of the more enjoyable hump days in recent memory. And last Saturday’s Schwervon! show at Davey’s Uptown with The Electric Lungs and Drew Black and Dirty Electric totally knocked it out of the park for us! Here’s little video from the show taken by our favorite local Vinyl Merchant: Sherman Brenaman!Gracias KC for a great week! An extra special big “Merci Boucoup!” to all the dancers. Hope to see you all again on Friday, September 28th at the Riot Room!
At Weirdo Wednesday a guy, who never told me his name, handed us a piece of paper with this sketch of Nan and I performing solo on either side. Pretty cool! I liked it so much I scanned it. Thanks guy who’s name we don’t know.
– Major Matt Mason USA

– Nan Turner