March 3, 2008

Review: The Swimmers | Fighting Trees [MP3]

The Swimmers -- Fighting TreesThe Swimmers first popped onto our radar two years ago when we first heard their catchy homage to Lancaster, PA, "Heaven." And ever since then it has been a waiting game (punctuated by various small steps forward) for the release of the band's long-awaited full-length debut Fighting Trees. The Philadelphia-based quartet's set finally graces new release bins Tuesday carrying the imprint of Drexel University's student-run Mad Dragon label (although the set actually was released locally in Philadelphia in October), which signed a national distribution deal with Ryko/Warner in 2005 according to Wikipedia. All of which means that after waiting a couple years, this record will be everywhere this week.

And for good reason: Fighting Trees is a drum-tight collection of a dozen winning tracks constructed with economical instrumentation and satisfying Beatles-ish melodies. Folks who buy the set via ITunes will receive three bonus tracks as part of the bargain: the Fighting Trees outtakes "Tonight The Lights" and "The Ocean Lifts Her Dress" (which was previously made available on a limited edition EP the band was selling at shows) along with a cover of Philly pop/soul sensations Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl." That said, the standard issue set is no slouch either, kicking off with the Spoon-esque stomper "It's Time They Knew" before diving headlong into the aforementioned strummer "Heaven." The tracks "We Love To Build" and "Miles From Our Fears" wouldn't sound too out of place on the second Wilco record. Those comparisons not withstanding, The Swimmers do have their own rootsy flavor, and Fighting Trees at long last is a remarkable debut for the band. The Swimmers began a three-week tour supporting the record Friday, and the remaining dates are posted at the foot of this item.

The Swimmers -- "Heaven" -- Fighting Trees
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[buy Fighting Trees from Newbury Comics here]

The Swimmers: Internets | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

03.05 -- State College, PA -- Bar Bleu
03.06 -- Pittsburgh, PA -- Garfield Artworks
03.07 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Schoolkids Records 6pm
03.08 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Nightlight
03.10 -- Houston, TX -- Cactus Music 6pm
03.10 -- Houston, TX -- Super Happy Fun Land
03.11 -- Denton, TX -- Andy's Bar
03.13 -- Austin, TX -- POPPED! party
03.14 -- Austin, TX -- Irie Bean
03.17 -- Newton, KS -- Bethel College
03.18 -- Lincoln, NE -- Box Awesome
03.19 -- Minneapolis, MN -- Stasiu's Place
03.20 -- Madison, WI -- Cafe Montmarte
03.21 -- Davenport, IA -- Daytrotter session & show
03.22 -- Chicago, IL -- Hideout

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