Swansun is a self-described psychedelic rock band from Glassboro, NJ. They have become a staple of the basement show scene here at Rowan in South Jersey and have the sounds to back it up. They have been experimenting with new sounds and songwriting styles with various influences for the past year, from REM and Mac Demarco to Metalica and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. The group also draws inspiration from the underground hardcore scene in the area and also has songs for hardcore fans. They also host shows out of their basement at a venue aptly named The Grotto, which hosts smaller acts and other bands with big ambitions and heavy sounds.
Swansun’s most streamed song, Paranoia Stomp, features eerie synth lines, a trudging and crushing rhythm section, and radical lead lines, which leave the listener deep within the artist’s lens. They put together a great ensemble that rivals local bands in both community, cohesiveness and a wide range of great tunes. They post upcoming dates and shows on their Instagram page. Follow them and other local bands to break into the scene.
Their latest single, Orca, showcases what the group can do. It features a manic and warped lead vocal from Alan DeCecco, the group’s frontman, lead guitarist, and songwriter—thunderous drums from the dueling drummers Nick Bsales and Even Pensabene. The synthetic lines by Ryan Foor feel like a fabulous tornado that ties the ensemble together. And who could forget Evan Ayer, “The Bugcathcer,” keeping the chaos in check with his groggy and burpy yet sharp bass lines. Orca showcases the extreme side of the band’s versatile sound for any occasion, but my favorite series of songs by Swansun comes off the live album, Live from the Grape Room.
Swansun (not Swanson) literally brought me to tears with the last few songs of their live album, Live at the Grape Room. The last ballads, into a triumphant waltz of a finale, leave the listener wanting more. I know I did. Seeing the performance live really altered my opinion of the South Jersey music scene. The amount of passion represented in the lyrics and performance was a transformative moment for me. Their ballads were a far cry from the usual upbeat and head-banging grooves that come standard in the scene. In a recent interview with Alan, he noted that he was first feeling pessimistic about what kinds of sounds and artists would be active but realized there are many astounding artists in the scene. He noted that bands like The Jettys and Robert’s Basement are just a couple of the best bands to listen out for. All are coming out of South Jersey Now!
Swanson, The Jetty’s, and Roberts Basement are carrying the South Jersey music scene to places it had never been before, both lyrically, musically, and performance-wise. The Grotto is a fertile spawning ground and safe space for new experimental sounds. And the South Jersey basement scene has never been more diverse and talented across its numerous acts. Overall, the scene is something not only to marvel at and cherish but to participate in and grow!
You can keep up to date with the band’s newest releases and Instagram here! Be sure to subscribe for more interviews and reviews!