Listen: Swallows – Consequence of Sound

Swallows Songs for Stripper Cover with woman's face on front

Alex Young
Consequence of Sound
#57 on the CoS Top Albums of 2008 List

It is seldom that one gets to enthusiastically introduce new bands with raw talent, but this is one of those moments. Swallows, an alternative band out of Minnesota has invoked what people are calling “rock and roll, ugly and beautiful, profane and spiritual.” Formed in 2007 and utilizing everything from your basic guitars and musique concrete to electric cello and banjo, Swallows released their 2008 debut album Songs for Strippers (and other professions) to critical acclaim locally:

  • “Brilliant…the overall effect is a dramatic, nearly operatic build.” – Bob Milton, The Milton Files

  • “Eleven tracks of vintage rock and roll that will tear you up.” – John Siwicki, The Comfort Comes

McKnight Foundation Fellowship award-winning avant garde composer Aaron Kerr has worked with everything from dance troupes to various other indie bands, and now plays cello for Swallows. He is not in unlikely company either with founding member of Thinland, Jeff Crandall, on guitar and environmental sounds, Tyson Allison of the alt-rock ensemble Gliss on percussion, and rural musician Frank Spencer chipping in between banjo and accordion.

This quartet brings a blend of classic blues, a barrage of eclectic instruments, and warm yet gritty Nick Cave vocals to a state otherwise known for Atmosphere and Sage Francis. After receiving a copy of their debut, I noted a shifting of moods from heavy guitar-laden indie crashing in “Not Your Kind of Man” and “Kerouac” to the dark and somber “Come To Me”, right before entering folk trends with “The Last Happy Shot” and “Days Like This” (the latter featuring prevalent cello). The aforementioned operatic description is not far from fact.

If you like something original that doesn’t try to be anything more complex than rich and flavorful art, then Swallows should be your next taste test. There isn’t any analysis to the guys who if in possession of a harmonica could put Blues Traveler to shame; they have a welcoming, organic feel while their first music video for “Come To Me” stands out like a haunting Jaws theme during Finding Nemo.

Trust me, get yourself a copy of Songs for Strippers and just play it for background sound – you will wonder why you had not done so sooner. Also of note, the band’s cellist Aaron Kerr has just recently finished mastering a collection of 10 coffee shop mood instrumentals titled Dissonant Creatures. There you have it, and coming highly recommended I might add.

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