New Swears bring the party (and bloody injuries) to the prairies
It’s said that if you play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at the same time as the Wizard of Oz, the two sync up in an earie sort of way. The same effect might be achieved with the New Swears discography and a season of Adult Swim’s Undergrads. If nothing else, you can drink it into working.
With lyrics like, “It’s not hard to find friends on a Saturday night,” and “I’d rather be fucked than be myself,” New Swears are a party band with a sense of humour. They don’t say it outright, but that sense of humour seems to be what led brothers and bandmates Sam and Ben Lewis, a.k.a. bassist Sammy J. Scorpion and guitarist Beej Eh, to release an album titled, And the Magic of Horses.
“We were tapping into the idea of, like, adventure and stuff from like the Hardy Boys,” says Scorpion. “Also like the titles of all our favourite adventure books like Harry Potter and whatever and whatnot. They’re always titled in that certain way. This and the whatever.”
Signed to Dine Alone Records last year, but still playing primarily for fun, And the Magic of Horses marks New Swears third album and a further step into its sonic progression. The album features four-part harmonies, beerhall punk choruses, and the kind of steady riffing that usually accompanies skateboarding demo videos.
New Swears has a reputation as a hard partying band, with raucous stories circulating around some of their misadventures. True to form, a lot of them kind of sounds too weird not to be a Hardy Boys story—albeit with more beer.
Beej Eh tells a story of a Halloween night when guitarist Scru Bar severed a tendon by falling down some stairs onto a bottle. Somehow on the very next Halloween, while smashing bottles in the kitchen, Beej Eh sliced his arm open, nearly severing his own tendon.
“The next Halloween, we were at a bar, and fuckin’, I was cheersing pint glasses with my other buddy,” says Beej Eh. “And then I said ‘Cheers!’ And then I was like, ‘Nah, give me like a real cheers. Don’t give me this sissy stuff.’ And then we cheersed and both the pint glasses smashed and it severed my tendon in my wrist and I had to go to the hospital. I couldn’t play guitar for a couple weeks.”
“I remember you cheersed,” says Sammy J. Scorpion. “I looked up and I was like ‘Where’d Benny go?’ I looked on the ground and there was this puddle of blood and I followed the trail of blood out into the street, and then it led up to a taxi and the taxi just pulled away.”
The band formed in 2012 between the Lewis brothers, drummer Nick Nofun, and guitarist Scru Bar, in the house the four lived in together. Starting to perform in the basement of the place, later known as the Fun Boy Club House, they eventually tossed out all the living room furniture to make space for attendees. Beej Eh calls it, “sacrificing their habitat.”
“It was pretty crazy,” says Scorpion. “We just turned early twenties and all moved in. That was our first house together moving away from home. Yeah, just like insane party house, I guess. That’s what the air was like. A lot of the songs and subject matter of the songs came from there.”
New Swears, in the music, the videos, and the lyrics, are a genuine display of a kind of young buds Canadiana. They’re like cracking open a Moosehead lager, putting your buddy’s head into a snowbank, fighting him, making up, then going home to watch old episodes of the Jon Dore Televison Show.
“Do it for the fun of it,” says Scorpion. “I think we’ve got as far as we have not really taking ourselves too seriously. We do it because we like it and I think, in the end, that’s why we’ll keep doing it. It’s why we haven’t stopped so far.”
Mon., Sept. 11 (8 pm)
New Swears w/ We Were Friends, and Moving Bodies
The Needle Vinyl Tavern
$5 in advance at yeglive.ca