Swervedriver: Classic or Dud?

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The question has been raised. Let's dispel all the rabblerousers & get to the truth (which is, of course, that Swervedriver doesn't deserve to be lumped in with those other crap bands / movements from the UK).

David Raposa, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Someone on another thread called Swervedriver "the best rock band of the `90's. While I think said statement is completely, utterly and indefensibly devoid of anything even remotely resembling merit and/or credibility, it should be noted that Swervedriver's first record, RAISE, did feature two riotously rockin' tracks, namely "Sci-Flyer" and "Son of Mustang Ford" (the former amping up a decidedly Creedence-esque riff ala "Run Through the Jungle"/"Suzie Q").

Lead singer Adam Franklin's pursuing a solo career now, if I'm not mistaken.

Best Rock Band of the `90's: Cop Shoot Cop

alex in nyc, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I completely and utterly stand by my meritless and credibility-free statement. And if you want depth, compare the nine b-sides from their first three singles to the nine songs on Raise. The b-sides are just as excellent as the album proper.

Andy, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Raise was great. I will confess to having not heard anything else by Swervedriver, so I can't say if they were great beyond that first album.

Nicole, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

They were a bit up and down after _Raise_, but much more up than down, so I think. _Mezcal Head_ and _99th Dream_ are both worth seeking out. Franklin's solo thing is Toshack Highway, and very enjoyable it is, but Swervedriver itself is still around, if on hiatus. A friend pointed out a *very* worthy link to me off the main unofficial fan web page, namely excerpts from the tour stories written by their drummer Jez. Hilarious writing, take a look see:

http://www.swerved river.com/rider_index.html

Ned Raggett, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

For chrissakes will you lot PLEASE stop trying to rehabilitate the dregs of early 90s shoegazing. it wasn't a whole lot of fun at the time but picking these woeful musical scabs is a singularly depressing exercise in futility. catherine wheel & swervedriver in one day! whoever next - revolver?

cw, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Eh, Revolver had only the one or two good songs. Good taste in covering Strawberry Switchblade, though.

Anyway, what's so wrong about talking about shoegaze? What would you prefer we talk about?

Ned Raggett, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Shoegazing was all things good. I will forget shoegazing when I forget the Alamo and the Maine.

Nitsuh, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I like Raise (that was the LP w/ 'Mustang Ford', right?). It's pretty strong - always holds up well, as I recall, though not quite as well as the first Slowdive LP which I have on the other side of that tape, which I exhume once a year.

People who say 'Stop talking about dregs of shoegazing' should look forward to me posting on their threads and telling them to stop talking about their favourite piles of crap.

the pinefox, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

sorry, i'll leave you to play with your own poo.

cw, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

For chrissakes, how can you thoughtlessly throw a group like Swervedriver in with the shoegazing posse when the ruckus they raise is so propulsive and abrasive (in that nice & shiny pop fashion)? Their haze is the result of waves of lovely, gritty feedback, not from sleepy strumming.

David Raposa, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Not all shoegazing was about sleepy strumming. Clearly, you have forgotten that all shoegazing comes from MBV who were one of the loudest rock bands in history.

I quite liked Swervedriver, even though I shockingly only have 2 of their albums- Raise and erm, 99th Dream, I think? I do have to give them props because they were one of the only good bands in the history of forever to bother playing in Albany, NY, while I was living there. And they brought Medicine with them, to boot!

Now there is a critically underrated band if I ever heard one...

Shoegazing threads, hooray!

masonic boom, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Yes, hooray.

the pinefox, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

The albums are a little spotty, but some of the tracks are classic. I bought these guys cause I was listening to shoegazing at the time, but they didn't then and don't now sound anything like shoegazing, especially post Raise. Mescal Head = almost really good.

SEEK: For Seeking Heat, Duel, Blowin' Cool, Last Train to Satansville, You Find It Everywhere, Mustang Ford

EXTRA SEEK: The Other Jesus

Blake, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Classic: Raise- Mezcal Head- Ejector Seat Res.

Dud:- 99th Dream

Definitely one of the better bands of the 90's

Cash Lone, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Oh, _99th Dream_ isn't a dud. A bit tame, yes, but a bit more cohesive than _Ejector Seat Reservation_. Though I like _EJS_ more - "The Other Jesus", "Last Day on Earth", "The Birds". However, some of the songs get a bit too ... strange? ("I Am Superman" - sha la la la la la la la???!? Is a super-duper rock band actually using "sha la la"? The Bacharach quote in the title track is a nice touch, though.)

I keep on hoping for more pulp-fiction-like stories, a la "Last Train to Satansville". Never happened, though. And I still don't know what to make of _Toshack Highway_ (Adam Franklin's solo joint).

David Raposa, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Which Ned actually mentioned up there. D'oh-eth!

David Raposa, Monday, 9 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

i like the birds very much, but the rest of it sounds like there is a 47,000 pound weight on top of the music as it comes out of the speakers. lethargic.

keith, Wednesday, 11 July 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

four years pass...
I picked up Juggernaut Rides and I just have to state for the record that "Duel" is objectively 62% more awesome than I originally remember it being.

I especially love how you think it's going one way and then it, er, shifts gears into another song and then back again. Bonus points for the chiming major-key guitar riff in between the synth-wobbles and "I'm going down, down to the marketplace..."

LOL Thomas (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 April 2006 18:23 (fifteen years ago) link

"Do you know the way to Santa Fe?"

LOL Thomas (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 April 2006 18:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh, and the answer to the eternal "shoegazer or not?" question is no. They're closer to guys like Sundial or even the Bevis Frond.

LOL Thomas (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 April 2006 20:19 (fifteen years ago) link

One last thing before I get some lunch... Videos for "Duel" and "Rave Down"

LOL Thomas (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 April 2006 20:36 (fifteen years ago) link

Classic first three EP's, with some other great b-sides as well. Classic albums include Raise and Mezcal Head. Is more better than worse, Ejector Seat Reservation and more worse than good 99th Dream. Truthfully I like almost everything they put out, were cool live expect the last time I saw them (out of about six) as it was at the Whiskey A Go Go and had to be a reason why they were dropped (Alan was there).

BeeOK (boo radley), Saturday, 22 April 2006 05:32 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah swervedriver!

Freud Junior (Freud Junior), Saturday, 22 April 2006 06:54 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

US tour dates are leaking out...

From http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2008/03/swervedriver_re_1.html

Henry Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles - May 31 (tickets on sale this Saturday)
Bowery Ballroom, NYC - June 11
Music Hall Williamsburg - June 12

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 7 March 2008 22:36 (thirteen years ago) link

Huh, was thinking about them the other day. Time to revive the old Vervediver supergroup idea if Neil and Rachel aren't busy.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 7 March 2008 22:51 (thirteen years ago) link

First album = classic.

Alex in NYC, Friday, 7 March 2008 23:11 (thirteen years ago) link

Great group. I just loaned Raise and Mezcal Head to a friend who hadn't heard them before.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Friday, 7 March 2008 23:13 (thirteen years ago) link

First album would be even classier ,if re produced/remastered or whatever those boffins do.

The rest weren't bad either.

Search 'Duel', 'The Birds' - and loads of other stuff

When I was so obsessed with all those Septic bands - you know the ones- the NME and Melody Maker had these down as some GAZE band. Wrong.And I fell for it

They rocked

Fer Ark, Friday, 7 March 2008 23:19 (thirteen years ago) link

read this as Steendriver: Classic or Dud and was :(

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Saturday, 8 March 2008 00:36 (thirteen years ago) link

Mezcal Head is one of my favorite albums.

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Saturday, 8 March 2008 00:36 (thirteen years ago) link

yeah the first album really is incredible, still. a deluxe reissue with all the tracks from the first four EPs as a bonus would be ^_^

electricsound, Saturday, 8 March 2008 00:42 (thirteen years ago) link

that would be perfect. they should do that with all of the albums

winston, Saturday, 8 March 2008 01:02 (thirteen years ago) link

i love how like half of juggernaut rides is bsides

winston, Saturday, 8 March 2008 01:03 (thirteen years ago) link

vervediver.. rofl

winston, Saturday, 8 March 2008 01:04 (thirteen years ago) link

Don't forget Ejector Seat Reservation either. Some of their best songs are on that album.

leavethecapital, Saturday, 8 March 2008 01:47 (thirteen years ago) link

Mezcal Head is one of my favorite albums.

-- BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Saturday, March 8, 2008 12:36 AM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Link


latebloomer, Saturday, 8 March 2008 01:49 (thirteen years ago) link

been listening to it a lot lately

latebloomer, Saturday, 8 March 2008 01:49 (thirteen years ago) link

Remember being at Reading, Festering in about , many years ago shunning this great band.

They were on the main stage. My trendy , snobby friends and myself- even worse -turned away, muttering 'fucking shoegazing shit' to go and watch probably somebody pointless like Heavy Stereo or Adorable in the tent.
I remember walking away thinking' What a great riff - what a tune' I can still picture the ugly dreadlocked, long haired pedal fixated tossers, flailing on the mainstage. Should have stayed. Peer pressure

Fer Ark, Saturday, 8 March 2008 02:00 (thirteen years ago) link

Son Of Mustang Ford rules. There was some free tape with one of the music papers that had a great demo version of that song, I played that all the time when I was 16.

Colonel Poo, Saturday, 8 March 2008 02:04 (thirteen years ago) link

xp i'll rep for adorable!

winston, Saturday, 8 March 2008 02:35 (thirteen years ago) link

different approach, though

one thing i love about swervedriver is how jagged their rhythm is.. almost vu-ish.. mixed with all those guitar tones of various colors and textures

winston, Saturday, 8 March 2008 02:38 (thirteen years ago) link


winston, Saturday, 8 March 2008 02:38 (thirteen years ago) link

Attention Swervedriver: Come to Seattle.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Sunday, 9 March 2008 01:10 (thirteen years ago) link

Duel is just a great rock song. Propulsive. Their songs tend to drag on a bit longer than I'd like at times, though.

wateryDomestic, Sunday, 9 March 2008 01:53 (thirteen years ago) link

I'm glad to hear there's so much love here for the first album! I'm kinda surprised, actually. I've still got my autographed vinyl copy. I think I'll dig that out.

Bimble, Sunday, 9 March 2008 05:43 (thirteen years ago) link

Hmm. The first side isn't as good as the second, methinks. "Sci-Flyer" sounds suspiciously like Ride's "Seagull" in the riff department.

Bimble, Sunday, 9 March 2008 06:36 (thirteen years ago) link

I saw Swervedriver and Adorable on the same bill! Though Swervedriver + Chapterhouse was a better combo. Happy days. I thought "Rave Down" was their best song.

Mark C, Monday, 10 March 2008 12:24 (thirteen years ago) link

I saw Swervedriver open for Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Odd double bill to be sure.

Alex in NYC, Monday, 10 March 2008 15:18 (thirteen years ago) link

First time I saw both of 'em as well. VERY odd.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 10 March 2008 15:19 (thirteen years ago) link


Free Me's Electric Trumpet (Moodles), Monday, 23 March 2015 17:49 (six years ago) link

Ah lucky you. And though they are past their ... heyday .. would have been fun to see the Church on the bill too

stop torturing me ethel (broom air), Monday, 23 March 2015 23:31 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

Great video of the SXSW show I went to:


Free Me's Electric Trumpet (Moodles), Sunday, 26 April 2015 14:49 (six years ago) link

Really privileging the new stuff here.

stop torturing me ethel (broom air), Monday, 27 April 2015 14:14 (six years ago) link

This new album is so great for the Spring, I love when releases match their seasons well.

Evan, Monday, 27 April 2015 14:33 (six years ago) link

three weeks pass...

during my thursday wine excess, i got tix for this sundays show in bristol.

any ilm'rs going : FAP ?

mark e, Friday, 22 May 2015 09:25 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

Hey, new track via Adult Swim


Ned Raggett, Monday, 13 July 2015 16:32 (six years ago) link

very nice

too young for seapunk (Moodles), Monday, 13 July 2015 16:40 (six years ago) link

Dawn, O.P., Swervedriver -- this singles series is in my brain. Let the thread bump also serve as a reminder that "I Wasn't Born to Lose You" is terrific!

geoffreyess, Tuesday, 14 July 2015 21:30 (six years ago) link

one year passes...


Raise and Mezcal Head September Tour 2017:

9/7 Metro, Chicago
9/8 Lee's Palace, Toronto
9/9 Brighton Music Hall, Allston
9/10 Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
9/11 Union Transfer, Philadelphia
9/12 Back Cat, Washington
9/14 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro
9/15 Terminal West, Atlanta
9/16 The Social, Orlando
9/17 Siberia, New Orleans
9/18 Trees, Dallas
9/19 3ten Austin City Limits Live, Austin
9/21 191 Toole, Tucson
9/22 Casbah, San Diego
9/23 Bimbo's 365 Club, San Francisco
9/24 The Teragram Ballroom, Los Angeles

Bee OK, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 03:11 (four years ago) link

i'm so going, Rise and then a break and then come back to playMezcal Head? heaven!

Bee OK, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 03:11 (four years ago) link

How about.... hell yes

skip, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 03:25 (four years ago) link

Yeah, I'll be going to this

Moodles, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 03:26 (four years ago) link

two months pass...
one month passes...

on my way, pretty excited even if i have been sick all weekend.

Bee OK, Monday, 25 September 2017 02:28 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

New single sounding excellent. I swear they're a better band now than before

imago, Saturday, 27 October 2018 09:15 (two years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Other new single sounding excellent!

imago, Friday, 16 November 2018 14:33 (two years ago) link

I keep forgetting to check it out!

Evan, Friday, 16 November 2018 15:35 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

new album is out this is great!

shoegaze bands on the whole do really well with reunions/comebacks

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Friday, 25 January 2019 16:03 (two years ago) link

yeah I really enjoyed this. title track into theeascending is stunning

imago, Friday, 25 January 2019 16:05 (two years ago) link

Dug their last a lot, and will get this one. Missed them in the day, though I saw many mentions of them in connection with Curve. Think Alan Moulder produced both? Plus they each had a Holy Grail cd rarity back in the day. Going back catalog has been rewarding. "Rave Down" off _Raise_ is a standout.

the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Friday, 25 January 2019 17:28 (two years ago) link

Hm, hadn't realized there was a new one. Will investigate.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 25 January 2019 17:31 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Well here's something fun -- the original version of their debut EP


Ned Raggett, Friday, 17 July 2020 21:04 (one year ago) link

Wow cool! A good read from Mr. Franklin there too re: the band’s early days

brimstead, Friday, 17 July 2020 21:08 (one year ago) link

I have the original CD of this!

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Friday, 17 July 2020 22:46 (one year ago) link

I do too! Guess when it came to this band, we were a little (wait for it) ahead of the swerve.

henry s, Friday, 17 July 2020 22:55 (one year ago) link

This slower take on "Juggernaut Rides" is very interesting.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 18 July 2020 21:12 (one year ago) link

We finished the recording and I took a copy with me to Seville in Spain where I was having a week's holiday with my girlfriend. There was strong weed and oranges everywhere and I remember sitting by the ocean listening to these songs while looking across the water at the haze in the distance that was Morocco - I was looking at Africa while listening to our first record!

Mate, that was some strong weed indeed; Is Seville anywhere near the ocean?

All Diacritics Love Ü (Noel Emits), Saturday, 18 July 2020 21:55 (one year ago) link

Sounds nice though. I bought the original EP on CD as well.

All Diacritics Love Ü (Noel Emits), Saturday, 18 July 2020 22:08 (one year ago) link

> Is Seville anywhere near the ocean?

If you're in Seville for a week, taking a daytrip to the Estrecho isn't a big uh... stretch.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Sunday, 19 July 2020 00:00 (one year ago) link

Must we be so reasonable.

All Diacritics Love Ü (Noel Emits), Sunday, 19 July 2020 08:05 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

couple of new bside comps on their bandcamp page:



brimstead, Saturday, 12 December 2020 04:44 (nine months ago) link

two months pass...

mezcal head : it really is all that and so much more.
not sure they ever bettered their thing across a whole album as well as they did on this.

mark e, Thursday, 18 February 2021 22:23 (seven months ago) link

a mighty mighty sound. they definitely lightened up a bit afterwards. 99th Dream is my favorite

brimstead, Thursday, 18 February 2021 22:32 (seven months ago) link

they definitely lightened up a bit afterwards

think this is exactly why i love MH so much.
sonically it's a heavy listen, and they definitely pulled back from the excess after this album.

when quieter moods are required, then for me its all about 'Ejector Seat Reservation' which i genuinely believe to be one of the best modern rock albums ever,
and is a prime target for rediscovery by the Mojo/Uncut crew.

mark e, Thursday, 18 February 2021 22:37 (seven months ago) link

All their albums are so fantastic even the new ones are incredible.

Evan, Thursday, 18 February 2021 22:52 (seven months ago) link

fuck you guys for talking about how much you love this band without even acknowledging all the racist skinhead neo-nazi stuff

― and what, Thursday, 31 July 2008 14:57 bookmarkflaglink

still one of my favourite ever ILX posts

CP Radio Gorgeous (Colonel Poo), Thursday, 18 February 2021 23:06 (seven months ago) link

It's funny, Ejector Seat sounds even more extreme to me, just layer upon layer of blown out guitars. I think it may have thrown their career off track. That one is badly in need of a reissue.

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Friday, 19 February 2021 00:02 (seven months ago) link

Also kind of funny to sample an anguished Kurt Cobain.

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Friday, 19 February 2021 00:15 (seven months ago) link

I had built ESR up so much in my mind (was hard to find in the US in the late 90s) that I was kinda let down at the time lol. Love “son of Jaguar e” and “the birds”

brimstead, Friday, 19 February 2021 00:39 (seven months ago) link

I love how they do this escalating thing on songs like "Duel" and "Bring Me the Head of the Fortune Teller" where each successive section introduces an even more impossibly massive guitar sound. It's almost like they are constantly trying to outdo themselves in a guitar arms race.

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Friday, 19 February 2021 00:53 (seven months ago) link

I Wasn't Born to Lose You still my favorite. '10s Swervedriver > '90s Swervedriver imo (narrowly), though I should probably take that to the controversial opinions thread.

swing out sister: live in new donk city (geoffreyess), Saturday, 20 February 2021 05:19 (seven months ago) link

That is quite challenging, for sure

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Saturday, 20 February 2021 06:08 (seven months ago) link

remember seeing them in St. Paul a few years ago and still don't remember a British band that dressed so American

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Tuesday, 2 March 2021 18:50 (six months ago) link

Saw them on their first USA tour that he talks about (Soundgarden/Swervedriver/Monster Magnet) which was really amazing.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 2 March 2021 18:59 (six months ago) link

(though he said it was 1991 but it was in fact spring 1992)

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Tuesday, 2 March 2021 19:01 (six months ago) link

Yeah Swervedriver had hit America twice before that "A&M rocks out" lineup (which I saw as well) -- summer 1991 opening for Ned's Atomic Dustbin in a quick bicoastal stint IIRC then a separate tour near the start of 1992 with Ratcat opening. I saw them next on a Mezcal Head date but sadly never have seen them since.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 2 March 2021 19:13 (six months ago) link

The Mezcal Head date I saw them on had them opening for Smashing Pumpkins, a pretty good pairing given the Alan Moulder connection.

henry s, Tuesday, 2 March 2021 19:52 (six months ago) link

six months pass...


Maresn3st, Tuesday, 14 September 2021 15:43 (six days ago) link

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