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May 30, 2024
8:00 pm


SWIM CAMP with Kitchen and Gabbo

Thursday, May 30, 2024
Doors at 7 PM, Show at 8 PM
All Ages

***Swim Camp**
After releasing projects entitled Barlow Hill and Fishing in a Small Boat, Swim Camp’s Tom Morris accumulated a reputation for measured, introspective alternative country that drew on bedroom recording traditions and the bucolic soundscapes of his native Pennsylvania. Now, on the project’s forthcoming LP, Steel Country, Tom cranks up the distortion in a gentle nod to shoegaze that evokes senses of desolation and chaos that unfurl around him. Tom’s always been fascinated by visual signs of desolation, observing the abandoned century structures in his Philadelphia neighborhood and dreaming up stories of what they must have been. It’s through this narrative practice of archiving that Tom explores figures outside of himself after dedicating Swim Camp to autobiography and confession.Tom is a compulsory recorder, as shown by Steel Country’s fourteen distinct tracks. Through snapshot stories alongside personal musings, Tom elaborates on the figure of the “steel country,” a desiccated mummy of the prosperous network of settlements it once was in the heyday of industry. Much like how the phrase “steel country” conjures up images of a derelict landscape past its glory days, the tracks on the album conjure up imagery of strained friendships, unhealthy dynamics,and nearly unrecognizable contexts that make you wonder: what happened here?The alt-country and slow Americana styling that made Barlow Hill and Fishing in a Small Boat so resonant are still present on Steel Country, but rent asunder with the crashing power of shoegaze. By leaning into this pedalheaded rock, Steel Country bottles up some of the chaos of contemporary living into a digestible artifact. At one level, chaos begets abandonment, as people flee disorder in search of some semblance of tidiness. But to Tom, there’s spellbinding beauty in chaos, and Steel Country harnesses the power of it to do justice to experience. Where previous records occupied the sonic midpoint between Hovvdy and Duster, Steel Country shares more in common with Jason Molina and Wednesday, using the poignant thrust of distortion to reckon with the hollowed-out shells of people, places, and memories.At times, Tom returns to his diaristic bedroom roots, archiving his own emotions and experiences with a mature lens. Lead single “Pillow” commemorates a complicated but beautiful friendship that fades in the wake of circumstantial adjustments, with guitar lines that crackle overhead like a conflict-laden raincloud. “Say Hi,” one of a handful of tracks recorded with Mark Watter at Headroom Studio, is one of Tom’s first forays into playing hard and heavy, recounting Tom’s trouble keeping distance from an ex who hounded him well after the breakup, conjuring up reasons to reenter his life and wield influence.At other junctures, Tom removes his experience from the equation altogether, preferring the intricate world of fantasy to explore emotional and cerebral tensions. With a prowess for succinct storytelling not unlike contemporary Alex G, “Dougie (For Sharyl)” is a character study of the loving fuck-up, whose steadfast support turns sinister in the blink of an eye. “Line in Sand” observes Tom’s target characters drowning in their feelings, each acting as a buoy to whom the other can lean on to stay afloat. They help each other draw softboundaries, scrambling for gentle orderliness.

Tom recorded the bulk of Steel Country in his Philadelphia home and in the Poconos to tape. “Say Hi” was recorded with Mark Watter of Headroom Studios, who also mixed the record. Heather Jones of So Big Auditory mastered the record. Steel Country will be out on February 17 via Julia’s War Recordings, the label curated by They Are Gutting A Body Of Water bandleader Douglas Dulgarian.

Metro Baltimore


1700 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Baltimore, 21201

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