Photo by Adam Nedrow
Swarming Branch is a band engaged in three seemingly disparate pursuits: elaborating folk music’s four-chord strum with complex extensions and substitutions, winking at the theater of glam rock from dive bar stages around the country without causing the cynics to spray beer out of their nostrils, and inviting the droning, unbridled tendencies of modal jazz to gradually displace rock and roll’s typical pentatonic shapes. You could say they aspire to become the modern Midwestern Steely Dan, even if they’ve only demonstrated a portion of the elder group’s range thus far.
While the group is based in Columbus, Ohio, it’s likely that none of its contributors are inside the 614 area code at this moment. Songwriter Andrew Graham installs art exhibitions between spells of working with Swarming Branch. Drummer Lon Leary, the only other permanent fixture of the group, splits time between waiting tables in North Carolina’s High Country and camping out in his late-’80s Toyota Van. Though pianist Dane Terry has graced every Swarming Branch recording thus far with his extraterrestrial keyboard stylings, he has seldom appeared live with the group since relocating to New York, where his 2015 musical theater production Bird In The House earned him the prestigious Ethyl Eichelberger Award.
On Surreal Number, Swarming Branch’s newest LP on SofaBurn Records, the group has temporarily suspended some of its formal experimentation to create a straightforward collection of ten songs. The album was conceived with the help of a Los Angeles team comprised of engineer Drew Fischer and producer Rob Barbato (Drinks, Kevin Morby, Peaking Lights, et al) and shows the Branch finding a thicker, synthesized, and more neatly arranged sound while keeping a playful yet assertive spirit that makes every song seem both unlikely and inevitable.
Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing the band’s “Laid Back and Practical” from the forthcoming album, which will be issued by SofaBurn Records on May 26. This is what Graham had to say about the track:
“I think that a lot of romantic relationships end up with one partner bearing most of the emotional burden–an imbalance of support. ‘Laid Back and Practical’ is written from the point of view of the bad partner as they become conscious of their selfishness and pledge to change in the future. Musically, the guitar and piano lines in the chorus were influenced by ‘Don’t Forget to Dance’ by the Kinks. And I like the way we used a major III chord instead of the minor iii to set the chorus up. That’s something I noticed Beck and Nilsson and McCartney doing quite a bit.”
VINYL : http://www.sofaburn.com/_p/prd1/4617825701/product/swarming-branch-%E2%80%98surreal-number%E2%80%99-vinyl-pre-order
CD : http://www.sofaburn.com/_p/prd1/4617825541/product/swarming-branch-%E2%80%98surreal-number%E2%80%99-cd-pre-order
Visit the band here:
See them on tour:
May 13 – Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor
May 14 – Chapel Hill, NC @ The Cave
May 16 – Atlanta, GA @ Mammal Gallery
May 18 – Memphis, TN @ Beach House
May 20 – Columbus, OH @ Kafe Kerouac
May 21 – Columbus, OH @ Lost Weekend Records In-Store
May 28 – Cambridge, MA @ State Park
May 31 – Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant St.
June 1-4 Nelsonville Music Festival
June 6 – Cincinnati, OH – Urban Artifact Brewing
June 7 – Louisville, KY @ Monnik Beer Co.
June 8 – St. Louis, MO @ Blank Space
June 30 – Portland, OR @ House Show
July 2 – Seattle, WA – Victory Lounge
July 5 – Omaha, NE @ O’Leavers
July 6 – Chicago, IL @ Cafe Mustache
July 7 – Akron, OH @ Musica
July 8 – Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe)
Photo by Adam Nedrow