Schwervon

Album review: Schwervon! - Courage

(Photo by Lippe)

In a land of bittersweet lyrics and harmonies where your heart will soar and your soul will swoon, a place where beauty comes in forms of catchy guitar hooks and demanding drum beats you will find Schwervon!. The new album from this fabulous duo (made up of Matt Roth and Nan Turner), Courage, will take you on an emotional ride through their world.
 
A strong opening guitar riff kicks off this album with "Truth Teller," a dark, slightly bitter ambient tune that is perfectly balanced by soft melodic harmonies. The next track, "American Idle," will keep you hoppin' around the room to the infectious heavy-handed drum beats. The haunting sound of Turner's sweet voice singing, "Wanna destroy everything that I love," is sure to echo through your head all day.
 
As "Daydream Ration" starts, it feels like that song every girl wishes would have been written for her and performed bedsideRoth's vocals add an innocent quality, causing this listener to feel like a teen again. The vocal team’s playful collaboration is captured beautifully as this track dives into just the right touch of build to a climactic ending.
 
"Cyclone" will send you on a daydream walk. Floating from one verse to the next on a sea of lovely harmonies and guitar riffs, you’ll be mesmerized into a state of carefree bliss. Turner's solid, undeniable beats keep pounding and pounding, building momentum until they come to one jarring end.
 
Roth’s driven, choppy guitar riffs along with the duo’s sugary harmonies lead you through the fifth track, "Cougar Pride." Those elements come face to face with Turner's vocals and beats and find a nice melodic resting place. "Dog Got Your Cat Tongue…" still repeating, still repeating! Animalistic guitar riffs taunting your raunchy side, a rhythmic groove to grind to, and some seriously sexy vocal tracks. It’s rowdy! It’s contagious! It’s neat! We love it!
 
The album ends with two softer melodic tracks, "Big Pink Eraser" and "Lot’s Wife." They will make you fall in love with this powerful duo and leave your heart warmed, with Schwervon! sending us on a final emotional trek through melodic turns and smooth cadences.
 
Solid from start to end, Courage is a must-have addition to your record collection. Heartfelt and honest, this album will forever remain timeless. Courage will remind us: even if things start out a bit dark, there can always be a sweet ending.
 
Courage was recorded with Doug Easley in Memphis and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music in New York. It will be released by Olive Juice Music this Friday.
 
Never fear! You only have to wait 2 more days to pick up your own copy of the album. Schwervon! is hosting a record release party at The Riot Room this Friday, September 28 with special guests The Conquerors, The Lucky, and Folkicide. Be sure to catch Nan and Matt in action before they embark on their tour to Europe in October and early November!
 

--Terra Peal

Terra is a musician who has been around the Kansas City music scene for over 22 years. She is the singer and bassist for The Quivers and holds down the low end for Drew Black and Dirty Electric. She is also the official calendar girl for The Deli Kansas City. She's a lil pep, a lil spice, and a lil Ginger.

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Artists on Trial: Schwervon!

Schwervon! is the newest, hottest band to hit Kansas City. They recently located here from NYC and have already had a successful career together, opening for acts like The Vaselines and Belle & Sebastian. The dynamic duo of Nan Turner and Matt Roth sits down with us and gives us a little introduction to who they are.

The Deli: Gun to your head: one sentence to describe your music.  What is it?

Schwervon!: A writer once summed it up pretty well for us: "A celebration of imperfect love through jagged rock minimalism."

The Deli:  Let’s talk about your latest release or upcoming shows. What can we expect?
 
Schwervon!: We're like a box of damaged chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. But at least you know it'll be interesting and not perfect. Our shows have a lot to do with the people that come to them. If the energy is right, we could break out into a discussion on stage about what it's like to move back in with your parents in the middle of your life. Or we could put our heads down and rock the fuck out for 40 minutes and people can dance their asses off.

For our next KC show (August 18 at Davey's) we're thinking of introducing a new lighting effect called "The Kick Drum Lamp".

Also coming up: Back to School Mini-Tour!
August 26 @ Birdys, Indianapolis, IN
August 27 @ Buzzbin Art & Music Shop, Canton, OH
August 30 @ Bell House, Brooklyn, NY (opening for The Vaselines!)
September 1 @ Paradise Lost, New Brunswick, NJ
September 2 @ The Dunes, Washington, DC
September 4 @ Blue Nile, Harrisonburg, VA
September 6 @ Omega Music, Dayton, OH
September 7 @ Heavy Anchor, St. Louis, MO

*September 28 @ The Riot Room (our record release party!!! more details coming soon!)

The Deli:  What does “supporting local music” mean to you?

Schwervon!: 
Supporting local music is supporting yourself. It's no different than supporting your local food co-op or farmers market or independently owned shop. It's a way you can live a fulfilling life while staving off Big Business Corporate Evil that has no invested interest in the details of your daily happiness. 
 
The Deli: Who are your favorite “local” musicians right now?

Schwervon!: Folkicide, The Cave Girls, Deco Auto, Soft Reeds, The Quivers, Cowboy Indian Bear, The Ants and Radkey. To be fair, we are still in the process of discovering the rich fabric of KC local music! Ask us in a week and there may be 5 more bands!.

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
 
Schwervon!: 
The Schwervon! trinity all-time favorites are probably Pixies, Yo La Tengo, and Sonic Youth. But more "now" bands we like are Grass Widow, Jeff Lewis, Sleepy Kitty, The Vaselines. Matt likes the new Japandroids. We also discover new "old" music every week, in the form of cheap vinyl at the Cowtown Mallroom.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?

Schwervon!: We're about to go play one actually! We're opening for The Vaselines in Brooklyn on August 30. Curating an All Tomorrow's Party Festival would also be a good job to have...
 
The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?
 
Nan: On stage! I like playing our songs for an audience, and unlike recording, I don't have to listen to take after take of what went wrong!
Matt: We've recently evolved into the mindset that for us playing better together live results in a better recording. I love working in the studio, but I hate recording my own band. I love playing live with Nan.

The Deli:
 A music-themed Mount Rushmore.  What four faces are you putting up there and why?

Schwervon!: This question makes our heads hurt. We're not big fans of things set in stone. Put the Rolling Stones up there and we can move on!
 
The Deli:  All right, give us the rundown.  Where all on this big crazy web can you be found? 

 
The Deli:  Always go out on a high note.  Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?

Schwervon!: Eat something green every day.
Break free of the 5 day-40 hour work week.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Then let go.

You can see Schwervon! in action this Saturday, August 18 at Davey's Uptown. This will be the duo's only show in Kansas City before embarking on their Back To School Mini-Tour. They'll be playing with Drew Black & Dirty Electric and The Electric Lungs.

--Michelle Bacon

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On The Beat with Nan Turner

Nan Turner is one of the newest and hottest drummers to hit the Kansas City music scene. She's one half of Schwervon!, who recently relocated to KC from Brooklyn. Nan tells us a little about her approach to the skins and her transition from the Big Apple to the 'burbs. Catch the beat right here!

On The Beat is a weekly interview brought to you by drummer Sergio Moreno (of Hillary Watts Riot and Alacartoona), and features some of the many talented drummers in the Kansas City area.

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On The Beat with Nan Turner

  

 

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On The Beat with Nan Turner

 

Nan Turner and her partner Matt Roth have been touring the US like crazy. They’ve made quite a name for themselves (so much so that it requires an exclamation mark) and since they relocated to our part of the world, we get to claim them as our own. This week we chat with the drumming half of this dynamic duo.

The Deli: Schwervon! That's just fun to say! Are there any motions to accompany the name?

Nan Turner: Jazz hands with spirit fingers. Also there's some R-rated moves, but you have to come to our show for those.

The Deli: You guys have been playing together for quite some time now; can you tell us a bit about the band?

NT: We are a rock band. We are also a couple. Despite practical advice to not combine the two, we have persisted! We met at The Sidewalk Cafe on the lower east side of New York City. A friend told me I had to hear Major Matt play. I went to his show and his Raymond Carver-esque songs blew my mind. He was cute, too. What was I to do? I asked him out. We started jamming together, writing songs, and that was it. I barely knew how to play drums when we started doing this. Lucky for me, Matt's playing was pretty kickass right out of the gate. And here we are, years later, living in Kansas with four albums under our belts and a fifth one on the way.

The Deli: Your line-up is somewhat unconventional. Was that a conscious decision? Or, did it just happen?

NT: When we first started I was playing mostly guitar and bass in another band, and playing the drums felt really liberating…like I was getting away with something. Matt wanted to play electric guitar and rock out, since he'd been writing mostly acoustic songs as Major Matt Mason USA in NY. We decided to make it a two-piece pretty early on. We liked the minimalism of it. We've had guest artists over the years and occasionally we've toyed with the idea of adding a bass or keyboard player, but it always comes back to him and me.

  

The Deli: You and Matt share singing duties, do you also write collaboratively?

NT: Yes. I'll take a chunk of a verse; he'll take a chunk. Sometimes I'll have several chunks built around his guitar riffs. Sometimes he comes to practice with a song mostly fleshed out and I just add a few bits and bobs. Sometimes we try to write lines together. We had one song from our I Dream of Teeth record, "Sore Eyes," that was just lines we overheard on the subway.

The Deli: How do you approach drumming, particularly being half of the band? What are some unique challenges and/or advantages of this set up?

NT: I've always approached drumming knowing I was a "songwriter drummer" instead of a typical drummer. Or, a "dancer drummer." My approach is a little odd in that I started singing right away when I began drumming. I loved doing something simple and rhythmic under the words. Being half of the band there is a little more pressure on me as I share the spotlight. Luckily I like it! But as I've gotten better on the drums, it is sometimes actually harder to sing certain parts. I really have to get the drumming totally in my body so I just do it like a dancer and it's just there, no thinking about it, and then I can add the singing. I had an amazing drum teacher in NYC, Paula Spiro, who helped me expand my playing and get some fundamentals. I am not someone who loves working on technical stuff, but with drums I could somehow do it because it’s fun.

The Deli: You relocated from New York City not too long ago. What's the story there and what has it been like?

NT: NYC was getting too expensive. We wanted to tour more and we just couldn't even think about doing that while paying NYC rent every month. So I was totally on board when Matt brought up the idea of moving to Kansas and living cheap with his dad to focus more on our music. It's been fun to be in a new place, though the 'burbs feel exotic to me still. We've done two US tours and are gearing up for another one at the end of August (opening for The Vaselines in Brooklyn on the 30th). I'm looking forward to getting to know KC a little more and seeing more bands. And I want to go to Shawnee Mission Park Lake and go swimming when it's not so hot.

The Deli: You're on the road most of the time. So how is the KC music scene different to that of the different cities and countries you've toured? 

NT: There are pockets of cool bands and artists in a lot of cities we've played, but one thing I've noticed about KC is that there's a lot of pride here about the music scene. Also, the clubs here generally have good sound and cool sound people, which is not common in other cities we've played.

The Deli:

  Obligatory question: drumming heroes?

NT: Janet Weiss (Wild Flag, Sleater-Kinney). I love the way she plays with lots of toms. Sam Lazzara, from NYC, is super skilled but he also does weird simple stuff in the right place at the right time. Dave Beauchamp, from the UK, plays with Jeff Lewis. He's a drum wizard, that is all. Sara Teasley from The Cave Girls. I love that she has her own style, is solid as hell and she can sing at the same time. And, she kind of glows when she plays.

Schwervon! is gearing up for a very busy tour, so August 18 at Davey’s will be your last chance to catch them live for awhile and you won’t want to miss it. They'll be playing with Drew Black & Dirty Electric and The Electric Lungs. Seriously, put it on your calendar right now! 

-Sergio Moreno

Sergio is a drummer drone for The Hillary Watts Riot and a contraption set buffoon with Alacartoona. He wishes he could get paid to practice meditation, do yoga, and drink white tea all day long. But in the meantime he earns his keep making greeting cards in Spanish.

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Nan Turner

Photo by Sebastiano Bongi-Toma. Used with permission. 

Schwervon!