This is technically the 25th-anniversary year for Swirlies, the Boston Shoegaze band that began life as a prospective Go-Go’s cover band in 1990. But it would be slightly erroneous to tag the band with an actual 25-year history.
While it’s true Swirlies has never officially called it a day, there have been years along the way that have been marked by a mere handful of shows and minimum activity.
And then there’s the issue of the band’s genealogy, which is more complex than a Mormon family tree and features more ex-members than a Scientology support group. Admittedly, the lineup has been relatively stable since 1997, with founding members Damon Tutunjian and Andy Bernick joined by Adam Pierce, Rob Laakso, Deborah Warfield and, most recently, Elliott Malvas.
Before that, Swirlies was a revolving door of potent musical talent. The band has featured well over two dozen official and touring members in its lifetime, and departing members have started highly regarded bands of their own, including Syrup USA (guitarist Seana Carmody) and Karate (guitarist Gavin McCarthy).
Then there’s the subject of side projects, which now include the Yes Girls (featuring all current Swirlies except Pierce), I Am Super Ape (featuring Tutunjian) and Wild Fruit (featuring Bernick).
If you’re curious about Swirlies’ discography, point your browser to rcarchives.com/swirlies and meander through the comprehensive list assembled by Tutunjian and Bernick. It includes every single/EP/studio/live/free MP3 album/etc. that the band has released, although its new 7-inch,
Swirlies’ Magic Strop: Orca Vs. Dragon
, doesn’t seem to have been added yet. Probably because the band members are so busy with their current Silver Ostrich Anniversary Tour, where they’re peeling paint, dusting rafters, buckling concrete, blistering the fair-skinned and generally tracking the cacophonous course they’ve taken since the first Bush administration. A quarter century on, Swirlies is still noisier than a hurricane blowing through a Guitar Center warehouse while offering the relative delicacy of an ironworker in velvet work gloves.