Monday, February 21, 2011

Swinging on the Coast

I'm starting to learn that finding truly talented groups isn't as rare today as I thought it was when I started NewRockNews43 over a year ago; it just requires a lot of hard work and determination. Where as A&R reps from the large labels must not spend more than a few hours every week looking for new artists, I have made it my mission to spend upwards of 30 hours a week working to bring to light the countless droves of talent and creativity out there. Simply put, it just requires a lot of good, old fashioned leg-work, but the reward for such an effort is most certainly worth it. To come across and have a chance to discover the artists that I do, I will always see the time as well spent. This group today is one of those rewards I've gotten from such leg-work.
Swing The Coast is a powerpop-pop-punk band from the Detroit, Michigan area hellbent on taking over the world in waves of rhythm and melody. From the very beginning, there's something different about these Coast guys. Amidst the melee of over-the-top cookie-cutter powerpop bands that make up so much of today's pop-punk scene, Swing The Coast seem to have a new grip on reality, and a new angle from which to unleash their pop-punk madness. Watching some of the videos on their Myspace page, I learn that STC exhibit one quality which, if nothing else does, will lead to their eventual success. Manager-less, promoter-less, and all by themselves, STC are striking out on their own with a set determination that is the most punk-rock attitude they could have.
With their self-titled "Deluxe" EP released earlier this year, Swing The Coast have a top-notch recording from which to build their fanbase steadily and surely. Breathing life into the STC outfit are friends and bandmates Josh Belanger (lead vocals and guitar), Travis Langolf (guitar and vocals), Cory Nance (bass and vocals) and Myles Laparl (drums). With a dynamic duo on guitar and a driving partnership in the rhythm section, Swing The Coast set themselves apart in ways that will make the words "next big thing" flash before your eyes when you listen to them.
The Swing The Coast "Deluxe" EP is chock-full of catchy, to-the-top pop songs that lend power and polish to a great effort of a record. Tracks like "She's So Rock and Roll" and "O.K.D." exude raw talent and vision that are more than easy to latch onto. Yet it's tracks like lead-off single "Suburban Girls" and "Hold On" that really make the EP what it is. With a pulsing drumbeat by Laparl to introduce the track, "Suburban Girls" seems to be a departure in the powerpop vein from the typical single. While the song structure is relatively similar in scope to other songs, one of the things that really sticks out to me is how the quickly-laid down verses meld seamlessly with the more melodic, epic choruses. Though it may not be an actual change in time signature, the illusion of such is what makes this song work so well. Clever in its lyrics and message, "Suburban Girls" is a great track, glorifying the nostalgia we all feel for home. Belanger's lead vocals are compounded and driven higher by the hint of a backup chorus by Langolf and Nance, and with the vocal element the way it is, there is no way that "Suburban Girls" can't succeed. Truly a great, stick-in-your-head track, this is definitely the one that would get my vote for lead-off single.
"Take This City" is similarly dripping in melody and professional polish. Boasting a killer riff by the duo of Belanger and Langolf on guitar, "Take This City" continues the feel-good feeling of "Suburban Girls" for at least one more song. Track number two on the EP, "Take This City" is a fast-paced note-storm equipped with all the melody one could ask for. Laparl relies heavily on his snare in this one, and where it gets old when other drummers do the same exact think, here it gives a necessary kick to the track. I can only imagine what this song must sound like live: Belanger and Langolf tearing away on their guitars while Nance's bass lines pump even more life into Laparl's drumbeats. There are a lot of groups that I've seen reach full maturity music-wise when they play a big set of dates like Warped Tour, but Swing The Coast has gone above and beyond already. The maturity that is present in their song-style and execution is something that will ensure that these guys are not soon forgotten.
Though the EP as a whole is a great effort by STC, I am impressed in a much different way by "Hold On." In fact, I can't even put my finger on what I like so much about this song, but all I know is that there's something about it that I absolutely love. Maybe it's the anthemic, sing-along chorus or the clear-lucid vocals, but whatever it is, Swing The Coast hit it out of the park on this one. If "Hold On" is any sort of window into the future of these guys, I'd put all I had on a bet in STC's favor.
A far cry from poseur bands that seem to be enjoying massive success on all the top-pop stations, Swing The Coast are the real deal: a hard-rockin' quartet with some rough-around-the-edges rhythm and glistening melodic polish. As I listen to the determination in the lines of "O.K.D.," the lyrics "nothing's gonna stop us, nothing's gonna stop us now" jump out at me as a clear and present prediction of the future. Swing The Coast have made up their minds: nothing's gonna stop them, and if that's not set determination, then I don't know what is.

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, New Found Glory, All Time Low

Key Tracks from Swing The Coast "Deluxe" EP: "Suburban Girls," Take This City," "Hold On," 'She's So Rock and Roll," "O.K.D."

Check out Swing The Coast more at: and

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