Despite the fact that some of SWMRS’s members still aren’t old enough to legally hang around in many places they play, the Oakland, Calif. quartet has a relatively long and fascinating history.
The idea to form a band occurred to guitarist/vocalist Cole Becker and drummer Joey Armstrong while they were watching School of Rock when they were in third grade. Quickly joined by Cole’s bassist brother Max, the thrashy Punk trio played under a variety of names before settling on Emily’s Army.
In 2008, Emily’s Army released songs on MySpace, garnering enough interest to book small shows and festival gigs, which was quickly followed by its debut 2009 EP, Goody Two Shoes, and the addition of guitarist Travis Neumann.
In 2011, the band released its debut full-length, Don’t Be a Dick, which also happened to be the first professional production job for Armstrong’s father, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. In 2013, the band released its sophomore album, Lost at Seventeen, again helmed by the elder Armstrong.
Emily’s Army released its final EP, Swim, in 2014; Neumann left shortly thereafter and bassist Sebastian Mueller joined, allowing Max Becker to switch to lead guitar. The band changed its name to Swimmers and recorded a cover of the Robyn hit “Dancing on My Own” in advance of a proposed EP, which was canned when Mueller took time off to complete his college exams and was briefly replaced by Jakob Armstrong, Joey’s brother. Last year, the band adjusted its name to SWMRS and tapped FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper to produce its first album under the new moniker, the recently released Drive North.
As SWMRS, the foursome works on a slightly bigger sonic canvas, wedging in Pop and Electronic elements while never losing sight of the Ramones-meets-the-Beach-Boys vibe that drove the band’s early work, not to mention their fearless sense of fun and adventure.