SONG PREMIERE: Swerve Find Inspiration in Breakups with Twangy Indie Rocker “Maybe I Didn’t Do That”

Swerve is a Los Angeles rock band founded in 2015 by Gregory Mahdesian (vocals and guitar), a former Classicist and progressive political organizer, alongside his college friend Ryan Berti (guitar and vocals) and Brandon Duncan (bass and vocals), an audio engineer and protégé of Bob Clearmountain (Bowie, Roxy Music, and Bruce Springsteen). Drummer Mark Gardner, joined in 2018, solidifying the lineup.

After self-producing their first two EPs, which achieved success on the radio and built them a dedicated following in their hometown of LA, the band decided to hire a producer to help them craft a full-length. Unfortunately, their first attempt didn’t go well: An indie-pop producer’s techniques and sonic pallets clashed with their songs’ intensity, and they decided to regroup and try again.

Luckily they were put in touch with producer Adam Lasus (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Army Navy, Helium), who had crafted some of their favorite records from their teenage years, and they instantly bonded with him over a shared love of artists like Teenage Fanclub, the La’s and the Replacements. Adam helped the band lean into rather than shy away from their influences, pump up the volume, and tap into a raw live energy while tracking. His collection of nearly 100 vintage guitars helped get them in the spirit.

Writing most of the album between 2018 and 2020, Gregory found himself composing politically minded love songs. “Ruin Your Day,” “Escape,” “Bush v Gore” (the band contends we all live in the wreckage of that fateful Supreme Court decision) and “End of the World” each touch on themes of finding meaning in companionship while everything else is falling apart. Some songs are less optimistic in spirit, discussing fears of never achieving what you expected you would (“Disassociate”) and failing relationships (“Do You Want To Give In?”, “Maybe I Didn’t Do That”), but they’re all tied together by massive melodies, memorable guitars, and infectious rhythm. The band feeds off of live energy and always wants their music to be fun, even when the themes are weighty.

Now the band is gearing up to release their debut full-length Ruin Your Day on August 13th.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the band’s new single “Maybe I Didn’t Do That.” The song begins with dreamy guitar and piano washing over before Gregory’s twangy baritone hits with the kind of lived in wisdom of a singer many years senior. Jangly guitars and a simple beat come together to make for a song that feels rooted in indie rock with hints of power pop and Americana. Simply put, this is a breakup song and Gregory does a fine job of conveying his sense of melancholy. There is also a sprawling sense of drama to the song, signaling that the band has the kind of rock sound well-suited for the larger stages we can hopefully expect to see them on. 

Gregory Mahdesian describes the inspiration and process behind the song:

This should be the last real breakup song I ever write, or else something will have gone seriously wrong in my life. These kinds of songs are foundational to pop music, but I’ve rarely connected with songs that cast blame on the other character. My experiences are messier, and I tried to capture the waning days of a relationship that isn’t working but isn’t yet over. It’s devastating and filled with regret but not anger. It’s at least true to me, my friends, and the other guys in my band (although Ryan is probably to blame for his fuck-ups). We knew it resonated when we played it live and people didn’t immediately head to the bar like they normally do during the slow song in the set.

We’re a rock band that typically makes big, loud guitar rippers, but a kind of alt-country and classic songwriting vibe was needed for this. I’ve always loved artists like Okkervil River and Wilco, and obviously Dolly Parton and Roy Orbison. We gave it our best shot and I think managed to at least land near the mark. Our producer, Adam Lasus, brought in his friend and longtime collaborator Louie Shultz (of Amry Navy and Nightjacket) to play piano and sing back up. We tried to go full Pet Sounds with the harmonies in the breakdown, which was probably one of the most fun recording experiences we’ve had as a band and gave this track a character I don’t think many other songs have.

LISTEN:

Photo credit: Tyler Curtis

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