Home Live Review Snapshots: Swirlies @ Songbyrd Music House — 3/8/24

Snapshots: Swirlies @ Songbyrd Music House — 3/8/24

Snapshots: Swirlies @ Songbyrd Music House — 3/8/24
Swirlies perform at Songbyrd Music House on March 8, 2024. (Photo by Nalinee Darmrong)

The Swirlies debuted in the ’90s from Boston to some acclaim as an American band adopting the shoegaze sound that captivated indie rockers in the United Kingdom.

Now based in Malmö, Sweden, and Alexandria, Virginia, the Swirlies continue to perform self-proclaimed “sneakyflute” music, and in fact opened March with a trio of sold-out shows in Norfolk, Virginia, Washington DC, and Philadelphia!

The band’s recent DC show was at Songbyrd Music House, and Nalinee Darmrong was there to photograph the show.

The following article is adapted from a press release.

The Swirlies include founding members Damon Tutunjian (guitar/vocals) and Andy Berwick (bass/keyboards) as well as long-time members Deborah Warfield (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Elliott Malvas (guitar/keyboards), and Adam Pierce (percussion).

Swirlies formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1990, and quickly established themselves as central players in the nascent USA shoegaze scene (Lilys, Velocity Girl, etc.). Between 1990 and 1992, Swirlies released singles on Slumberland, Pop Narcotic, Simple Machines, and Nervous Records.

In 1992, the band signed to Taang!, where they issued number of EPs and LPs, including the early singles compilation What To Do About Them EP (1992), the shoegaze classic Blonder Tongue Audio Baton LP (1993), the epic They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days In The Glittering World Of The Salons LP (1996), and the remix LP Strictly East Coast Sneaky Flute Music (1998).

Listen to Swirlies perform “Tall Ships” live for Part Time Punks on YouTube:

In the early 2000s, the band released The Yes Girls LP (2000) on its own Sneaky Flute Empire label and Cats of the Wild: Volume Two (2003) on Bubble Core. Since 2003, the band has continued to release cassettes, CDs, 7”s, and downloadable albums (e.g., the Swirlies’ Magic Strop series) on Sneaky Flute Empire.

The band’s members have collaborated with a number of noteworthy artists. Damon Tutunjian produced Mew’s first LP, co-wrote a number of their songs, and has performed (guitar, bass, vocals, and keyboards) on all of their recordings to date. Adam Pierce has played with Mice Parade, HiM, Philistines Jr., and múm.

Longtime member Rob Laakso, who also performed with Kurt Vile and the Violators, passed away in 2023.

Visit Swirlies’ website for more news on the band! 

Here are some photos of Swirlies performing at Songbird Music House on March 8, 2024. All pictures copyright alnd courtesy of Nalinee Darmrong.



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