With the release of “April In Houston” and the announcement of a new SWMRS album, Berkeley’s On Fire, it’s absolutely no surprise that they are doing something right. And I’m not sure if you’ve read any backstories on SWMRS, but their story is really exciting.
Starting out as a band called Emily’s Army, the band released two full-length albums: Don’t Be A Dick (Adeline) and Lost At Seventeen (Rise). The band had quite a bit of success, dominating mostly the West Coast, and even getting to play shows in the UK. Their last shows played as Emily’s Army would be Soundwave Festival in Australia in 2015.
The significant thing about Emily’s Army and SWMRS is that, with all due respect, Emily’s Army’s sound was so incredibly unoriginal, it hurt.. a lot. It hurt so much because the combination of frontman Cole Becker, bassist Max Becker, and drummer Joey Armstrong (yes, the son of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong) should be extraordinary, at the least.
SWMRS’ personnel currently are among the most exciting group’s in rock today. But under ‘Emily’s Army,’ the band had a very slick garage-punk sound that found them on an indie label with a generic sound and almost no longterm future ahead of them. Something had to change.
So in 2015, following the release of Lost At Seventeen, the band’s EP Swim, and the departure of bassist Travis Neumann, the band changed their name to SWMRS (briefly stylized as ‘Swimmers.’), released a neo-punk single titled “Miley,” branded their music as “surf rock” with the release of the SWMRS debut Drive North, and among all of their success, landed on a record deal with Fueled By Ramen in 2016 and even had a song featured in a Taco Bell commercial.
SWMRS’ newfound success in a new style, band name, and dynamic are just the perfect story in 2018 when branding and image are so often overlooked. Sometimes it can be hard to stand out and separate yourself, especially in a genre where 90% of the songs sound the same, but SWMRS are certainly doing something to achieve a success many others aren’t. With the announcement of Berkeley’s On Fire, SWMRS’ sophomore release, there’s definitely more to look forward to.
Listen to “April In Houston”: