Of all the bands from the original '90s shoegaze scene, Swervedriver were probably the best. Overall. They never made a bad album, never wasted a million dollars and 15 years testing out the sound of tube amps while not making music, and got out of the game before making an "back to basics" record of substandard Zepplin-esque blues rock. And their live shows smoked. Even while being kicked around by record labels (Creation in the UK; A&M in America) and the UK music press, Swervedriver remained cool.
Having never quite got their due in the '90s, it's heartening to see the excitement around the Swervedriver reunion, including selling out two nights in NYC. I haven't seen them play since July 1997 at Tramps, when the band was over for whatever they were calling the New Music Seminar that year. Reviews of the reunion shows have been glowing, and as their four albums all hold up I can only imagine this is going to be a triumphant return.
Unfortunately almost all of Swervedriver's releases are out of print, except for a well-chosen but expensive compilation, Juggernaut Rides. f you're going to any of the remaining shows but aren't all that familiar with the band (yes, it seems unlikely) or if you want to know what you'll be missing, here's a track from each of the four albums.
MP3: Swervedriver - Duel
MP3: Swervedriver - 99th Dream
If you want to hear more, there are live versions of every song from every album available as free downloads on Swervedriver's website.
You shouldn't ignore the opening bands either. At both shows are Glasgow's Terra Diablo, who are actually managed by Swervedriver drummer, Jez. Musically similar, but vocally are a little too emo for my liking. Tonight at Bowery Ballroom are also Dirty on Purpose who have been lauded many times on this blog and their new RCRD LBL EP is among the best things they've ever done; Thursday's show at Music Hall of Williamsburg has Longwave on the bill, who I'm sure can swap label horror stories with Swervedriver. The new songs posted on their MySpace sound great.