swervedriver

Adam Franklin’s main guitars are a pair of original ’62 Jazzmasters, but he also owns a rare Shergold Nu Meteor that he says is still in great condition. Photo by Liv Niles

After 17 years of studio silence, Adam Franklin and Jim Hartridge bring back the noise.

Every decade or so, psychedelia returns in one form or another. Today, bands like Tame Impala, Temples, and Oracles carry the paisley-tinged torch. But back in the early ’90s, the leading practitioners of lysergic guitar freakouts were Britain’s so called “shoegaze” bands: My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride, Moose—and Swervedriver. (The disparaging “shoegaze” label stemmed from the accusation that the bands were more concerned about tapping the correct pedal than engaging the audience.)

Formed in Oxford, England, in 1989 by Adam Franklin and Jim Hartridge, Swervedriver came out of the gate swinging. “Rave Down,” with its pounding guitars and machine-gun drumming, had as much in common with early punk as with psychedelia. Anyone yet to experience the one-two-three punch of Mezcal Head’s opening tracks, “For Seeking Heat,” “Duel,” and “Blowin’ Cool,” is in for a grand sonic assault.

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