August 17, 2012


All hail the queen of the scene, Jenn Pelly. In AS' review for SLEEPIES' Weird Wild World, I jokingly said the album sounded like it could be the crown jewel in she and her sister's DIY music criticism dynasty, but in all seriousness, Ms. Pelly really has helped set Pitchfork's indie punk sights straight with her recent contributions. AS may not have brought you freshly-minted BUZZSounds White Lung or Danish punks Lower had it not been for her findings first. Once again, the hat tip goes out to Jenn Pelly for introducing AwkwardSound (and hence, those of you reading) to pop-punkers Swearin'. Just over a year old in existence, one of its key members is already relatively known in punk circles, as Allison Crutchfield formerly played in Alabama-based all-female punk trio P.S. Eliot. After accomplishing everything she and her bandmates wanted to with that project, they disbanding in 2011, providing Crutchfield the opportunity to relocate to Brooklyn where -- amidst the tri-state area's indie punk underbelly -- she met fellow musician Kyle Gilbride. The two would not only muster up a romantic relationship, but a working one as well as he became her new songwriting partner for their then-unnamed project Swearin'. Initially, Allison's twin sister Katie was part of the new project, but she's since left to concentrate on her solo outing Waxahatchee. Keith Spencer and Jeff Bolt -- both of whom Crutchfield met during her P.S. Eliot touring routes -- now complete the quartet on bass and drums. A positive reception over Swearin' quickly spread after their first effort, the six-song cassette EP What a Dump, and this week, the band's exposure has been broadened by the release of their self-titled debut on Salinas Records. What caught AS' eye during Jenn Pelly's review of the LP was her brazen, respectful comparison of the band's melodic emotive sensibilities to that of Jawbreaker and the Promise Ring (Do an album search on Pitchfork for either band, and you quickly realize that the archives haven't been too kind to either.) While AS hears hints of their lyrical influence in between Swearin' tinny production, the down-tempo chunky pop-punk chords that share space with Crutchfield and Gilbride's doe-eyed vocals conjure up warm, small room listening experiences similar to Rainer Maria, the Thermals and Screaming Females. If late '90s mid-western emo got mad instead of sad, Swearin' would be the curse words it'd shout...

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