Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
No Punches Pulled
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
After singer Shawn Brown was unceremoniously fired from the Washington, D.C. emocore band Dag Nasty, he teamed up with guitarist Jason Farrell, bassist Nathan Larson, and drummer Alex Daniels to form Swiz. 1992 debut on J... more »
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After singer Shawn Brown was unceremoniously fired from the Washington, D.C. emocore band Dag Nasty, he teamed up with guitarist Jason Farrell, bassist Nathan Larson, and drummer Alex Daniels to form Swiz. 1992 debut on Jade Tree.
"Is" is now was, "going to do" is done
Oliver Sheppard | US | 08/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Swiz" is outdated slang that means "scam," I've been told [I used to think it was a type of old, airy proto-muzak you might hear played at malls frequented by old folks--dunno why.] This complete discography CD is no scam, though, because Swiz's music is poundingly fast, savage, heavy, and otherwise just great.
The first SWIZ releases came out on vinyl in the late 80s on Amanda MacKaye's Sammich records label, which also put out the first SHUDDER TO THINK LP. Yes, that's Amanda MacKaye, as in the sister of Ian MacKaye of FUGAZI and MINOR THREAT. By the time SWIZ came along, Dischord and DC music in general had mostly "moved beyond" the primitive, galvanizing hardcore stylings of VOID, THE FAITH, SOA, etc. Bands were experimenting with what would later be called "post-hardcore" sounds: FIDELITY JONES, FUGAZI, FIRE PARTY and other bands were influenced by hardcore, but were experimenting with slower rhythms, more intricate song structures, less reliance on power chord riffing, etc. SWIZ defied this trend and tapped back into the DC hardcore scene's roots, invoking the rock n' roll ghosts of BAD BRAINS, SCREAM, and borrowing sounds from then-current NYHC bands like GORILLA BISCUITS and YOUTH OF TODAY and other hc bands like BLACK FLAG.
This CD is a complete discography of SWIZ's output during their approximately 6 year run, with one song from thrash side project FURY thrown on for good measure. The songs are powerful lyrically as well as musically. Shawn Brown's gruff, Rollins-esque vocals--which could make almost any song sound hardcore, no matter what the actual music was like--are the perfect complement to Jason Farrell's metal-inspired, crunchy, chunka-chunka guitars. The drums alternate between a faster, "d-beat"-esque pattern a la DISCHARGE and more mid-tempo beats a la mid-career BLACK FLAG. One song even sounds like an AC/DC song ["Lie"].
Because SWIZ are on Jade Tree, they are often mistakenly thought of as an "emo" or a "post-hardcore" band. That's not entirely true. SWIZ have much more in common with BLACK FLAG, SSD, and SCREAM than they do any post-hardcore types of bands like JAWBOX or QUICKSAND. However, because of the time of their appearance, and because of where they were, SWIZ often found themselves playing bills with weaker, more experimental bands, so the "post-hardcore" stigma sticks to this day. But make no mistake: this CD belongs alongside GORILLA BISCUITS, UNIFORM CHOICE, BLACK FLAG, DISCHARGE, MINOR THREAT, etc. on your shelf.
Vocalist Shawn Brown came from DC band DAG NASTY; their demos with him on vox are available on the "Dag Nasty 1985-86" release, which is probably the best thing out there by DAG NASTY. DAG NASTY fired Shawn Brown because with him they couldn't be melodic enough--his vox are just too rough. After SWIZ split around 1992 or so, Jason Farrell and other SWIZ members excepting Shawn Brown went on to form BLUETIP, who played a fairly aggressive post-hardcore type of music similar to early JAWBOX. In 1997, SWEETBELLY FREAKDOWN reunited BLUETIP with Shawn Brown; in other words, the lone SWEETBELLY FREAKDOWN album is essentially a SWIZ reunion album, and it coudl be purchased as a companion piece to the "No Punches Pulled" complete discography CD here. Later, Shawn Brown would front JESUS EATER.
This CD is essential for those interested in DC hardcore, but equally so for anyone interested in NYHC-type noise, or 80s hardcore in general. Can't recommend it enough.
You probably don't deserve this much good music packed into
Dan Manning | Los Angeles, CA | 09/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Are you kidding? SWIZ kills pretty much any other "hardcore" band that passed for their contemporaries. I sersiously have no idea why more people who are into louder, independently released music don't know about this band, and I count myself blessed to have been introduced to them through a fanzine review some years back.
NO PUNCHES PULLED contains every song the band ever released (to my knowledge), and the booklet has all the lyrics and plenty of photos to boot. The fact that a band this amazing selflessly packs everything onto one CD (that clocks close to the time limit at 68 minutes or so) is a feat unto itself. They could have stetched out this material over at least two or three seperate releases, but instead generously blow it all into one compilation. Well worth the money spent on a new CD.
Some highlights: "Nine" possibly has one of the best uses of the phrase "son of a [...]" ever cut to audio format; listen to this song next time you're absolutely livid at another human being but have no outlet for reprisals. After listening to "Nine" (Track 2), I'd immediately go to Track 16 ("Lie"), finish off the CD, and go back to the beginning. "Lie," "Ghost," and "Taste" are perfectly indicative of Swiz at their absolute best. Choice lyrics delived by Brown in a vocalization that falls somewhere between a bark, growl, and actual singing (the Rollins and Black Flag comparisons are interesting--never quite thought of that until I read other reviews.) This band, particularly Jason Farrell's guitar playing, pulls off a tightness that stands in stark contrast to the loose, feedback-laden gloriousness of the Almighty Black Flag.
Anyone familiar with singer Shawn Brown's vocal history will know that he served as the original singer for Brian Baker's post Minor Threat outfit Dag Nasty (and the material with Brown singing is indeed their best work.) A while after Brown's departure from DN, Baker and another, less compelling vocalist cut a song built around the creed "Lies are just excercises." The Swiz song "Wash" is obviously a direct response to this sentiment and indeed a biting indictment of Baker himself (who wrote the majority of DN's lyrics. On "Wash," a personal favorite from the Swiz catalogue, Brown screams "Lies AREN'T excercises. And if you believe them to be true, then you're a bigger fool than I am for ever trusting you . . . I'LL FACE YOU STRAIGHT TO HELL!" Wow. Think Brown's split from Dag Nasty was amicable? Something tells me that another great track on this CD, "Much," is also a stab at Baker, but I've been wrong before . . .
The cover of the Damned's "Machine Gun Etiquette" serves as the high water mark between what was punk and what had become hardcore. And "Sunstroke," a patient dose of rage, is good for what ail's ya'.
At any rate, you get 32 tracks of pure, unadulterated, raw, visceral yet still cerebrally worthy music. What more of a reason do you need?"
Best hardcore band from the 80's
Nav | NYC | 11/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The best hardcore band that came out of the 80's. Hell, it might just be the best hardcore band ever. Better than revelation stuff, better than dischord stuff. It's the best hardcore band that came out of the 80's. That also means that it's simply the best hardcore band the 80's ever produced. If you listen to this album you will say to yourself, "thats gotta be the best hardcore band i've ever heard". You will not be far from the mark on that one."