How a famous dad and Miley shaped a great punk band
SWMRS co-leader Cole Becker is hanging from the ceiling. The California punk rockers are charging through bracing, hook-y songs off their debut, Drive North, at a New York show. They even return to the stage after their allotted set time and keep rocking unplugged. Though just hitting their twenties, SWMRS have been playing clubs like this for years; they formed in elementary school and had assistance from their drummer Joey Armstrong's father – Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. "When we were 13 to 14, he was telling us to text every time we wrote a song," says singer-guitarist Max Becker.
Despite attaining early credibility, SWMRS (who released two albums in their teens as Emily's Army) found the scene too bro-ish ("Aggressive dudes crowd-surfing on 14-year-old girls," says Cole). One song on Drive North was inspired by millennial feminist icon Tavi Gevinson, while "Miley" unironically celebrates the pop star, who they admire for her work with homeless LGBTQ teens. "I think they have the potential to be ginormous," says Zac Carper, of fellow Cali punks FIDLAR, who produced Drive North. "They just do whatever the fuck they want, and I want to see more of that in bands." Brittany Spanos