SWMRS' 'Berkeley's On Fire' Is the Punk Rallying Cry of a New Generation

image

Photo: Phoebe Fox  

Is punk dead? Has it been revived by the corporate enigma as a clever catch-all term to marketed towards a cultural zeitgeist who likely needs authentic punk more than ever? Is that guy with the Black Flag shirt he got from Hot Topic punk? Whatever your opinions on what is and is not punk, one thing is for certain:  SWMRS is the bleeding heart of a new generation with a message that will not be ignored.

Comprised of brothers Cole and Max Becker, Joey Armstrong, and Seb Mueller, SWMRS spent their formative years grinding their native Oakland, CA, rock scene and beyond. Under a myriad of band names, from Emily's Army to their present-day incarnation as SWMRS, the Oakland quartet has never felt more assured in their vision and intent than in their arresting sophomore album, Berkeley's On Fire. Inspired by Cole Becker's experience of witnessing the 2017 Berkeley protests first-hand, Berkeley's On Fire is by all accounts a protest album, but likely not the one you would expect.

What came from witnessing the beginning of the protests first-hand was not a spirited commentary on the riot itself but the media portrayal of the events and how we as a society disseminate and absorb information. The title track sets the stage with a thunderous opening, "Berkeley's on fire/ Your TV lies/ We'll be alright," decries SWMRS, mockingly criticizing the media's portrayal. Questioning the narratives of widely accepted norms has long existed as a staple of any great work of punk, and it is a sentiment and energy SWMRS keeps up throughout an impressive 10-track run.

image

Photo: Betawave Media Group

What is most impressive from this excellent sophomore effort is found not in any singular moment; it is found in the depth of range the Oakland quartet displays. Tracks like "Hellboy" and the previously released "Trashbag Baby" demonstrate SWMRS' penchant and prowess for skating through electrifying spells of guitar-driven rock.  

Meanwhile somber meditations like "April In Houston" and Bad Allergies" demonstrate SWMRS as so much more than a band that can exquisitely play their respective instruments at a breakneck pace. Taken altogether, Berkeley's On Fire  paints the portrait of a band ready to become the architects of a new wave of punk with their limitless technicality, razor-sharp songwriting, and emotional acuity.

Listen to Berkeley's On Fire below and catch the Oakland punk outfit live as they set on a monumental European and North American tour.  

Plus, super fans can look forward to our upcoming "All Eyes On" performance and interview with the band coming soon.

Related Articles

44phantom's "cherry cigarettes" Is a Habit We Just Can't Kick

44phantom's "cherry cigarettes" Is a Habit We Just Can't Kick

January 23, 2023 44phantom is establishing himself as one of the most promising up-and-coming artists in the alternative scene.
Author: Alessandra Rincon
Phoneboy Explore Pitfalls Of Fame On New Single “Ferrari”

Phoneboy Explore Pitfalls Of Fame On New Single “Ferrari”

January 19, 2023 New Jersey indie rock band Phoneboy are kicking off their new album cycle in style and with a dash of existential dread with the release of their latest single, "Ferrari."
Author: Alessandra Rincon
Floyd Zion Pushes Forward At All Costs in "Belly"

Floyd Zion Pushes Forward At All Costs in "Belly"

January 13, 2023 “Belly” is a declaration on the war against stagnancy."
Author: Jazmin Kylene