Acts Playing South by Southwest

SXSW Records


Catchall (Yep Roc)

Swag is a Nashville supergroup of sorts, though if you're looking for country, you've got the wrong band. Composed of Ken Coomer (Wilco), Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick), Jerry Dale McFadden (Sixpence None the Richer), Robert Reynolds (Mavericks), and Doug Powell, Swag delves into a brand of pop that borrows a lot from latter-day British invasion bands like Badfinger and the Hollies, with passing nods to the Beach Boys and (of course) Cheap Trick. One might think that a band exploring such territory would find nothing but overwrought cliches and bad Wings imitations, yet Swag takes sweet harmonies, sing-along melodies, tightly constructed guitar lines, and sparingly used synthesizer to construct a delightful debut. Stylistically, it's all in the same mode, though some tracks do stand out. "I'll Get By" has a big beat, ringing guitars, and so many hooks it could be a long-lost Cheap Trick outtake, while the breezy "Ride" is a throwback to the halcyon days of Top 40 pop, and "Please Don't Tell" is perfectly orchestrated piece of fluff with soaring harmonies. Maybe rock isn't dead after all. (Thursday, March 15, Continental Club, 11pm)


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