Monday, May 02, 2011

Blast from the Past: Swingin’ Utters

Title:  Swingin’ Utters (Amazon, InterPunk, Wikipedia)

In 2000 San Francisco’s Swingin’ Utters released their most daring record to date.  What made Swingin’ Utters a daring record was its diversity…half of it was straight up country and folk.  Songs like “Watching the Wayfarers” are pretty far removed from the band’s seminal album The Streets of San Francisco.  Yes this record still had the traditional Utters punk rock flair (see “Teen Idol Eyes” and “Pills and Smoke”) but you could tell that this was a band that was growing and not afraid to spread their wings. 

Sadly I’m not sure how ready many of their fans were to this new direction.  When the band released the follow up record, 2003’s Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass and Bones, they made a statement that the record was more rocking than the previous one (I’m paraphrasing here based on memory).  Also sometime after the self titled record, Johnny Bonnel and Darius Koski started the side project Filthy Thieving Bastards, which is essentially a country band (it’s my theory that they decided to release most of their more country and folk songs as part of FTB due to reaction to this record – I could be wrong of course). 

More than anything else, what makes this record stand out are the excellent songs.  “My Glass House,” “Teen Idol Eyes,” “The Note,” “The Green Glass,” and “Pills and Smoke” are among some of the Utters best work.  The album also includes an amazing cover of “Eddie’s Teddy” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  If you are a fan of the Swingin’ Utters and you haven’t gotten this album then I suggest that you do, just don’t go into it looking for The Streets of San Francisco or A Juvenile Product of the Working Class.  Subsequently, if you are a fan of Filthy Thieving Bastards but have never checked out anything by the Utters, then I highly suggest that you get this record. 

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