MAD Dragon Records, the student-run record label at Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts& Design, is pleased to announce the signing of the Philadelphia-based band, the Swimmers. Their self-produced album, Fighting Trees, is set for a March 4, 2008 release date with national distribution through Ryko/Warner.
Reminiscent of 60’s British pop, the Swimmers hint at influences such as the Kinks and the Velvet Underground and draw comparisons to contemporaries The Arcade Fire, Spoon and The New Pornographers. Their debut record, Fighting Trees,comments on suburban America with urban wit and creative sensibilities drawn from both from singer/guitarist Steve Yutzy-Burkey’s Lancaster, PA roots and his current life as a carpenter in the artsy, but gritty Philly neighborhood of Northern Liberties.
Fighting Trees is steeped in the Swimmers’ hometown, recorded in Philadelphia at Brian McTear’s Miner Street Studios as well as the city’s basements, attics, backyards and churches. It’s the prettiness of the songs that strikes you, and their energy that hooks you. Fighting Trees makes clever use of instrumental layering and vocal harmonies to showcase the intensely personal lyrics that speak of Steve’s deep sense of home.
“We are really excited to be partnering with such a unique and forward thinking group of industry veterans and fresh, talented students,” said Steve Yutzy-Burkey of The Swimmers. “We couldn’t imagine a better home for this record (Fighting Trees), Steve is one of the most talented songwriters of today,” states Terry Tompkins, Assistant Professor of the Music Industry Program at Drexel and President of MAD Dragon.
“We’re very proud to be releasing The Swimmer’s as Mad Dragon’s ninth album release. The Swimmers are standouts in Philadelphia’s vibrant music scene and we’re confident that they have the talent and drive to succeed on a national level.” said Allen Sabinson, Dean of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.
Swimmers frontman Steve and his wife Krista (keyboards and vocals) first met while attending a small liberal arts college in Goshen, Indiana. It was also there that Steve met Rick Sieber (bass and vocals), and the two began played in various bands together. After graduation, the three moved to Philadelphia. Answering an ad in the paper, Steve started traveling to churches throughout Pennsylvania tuning pipe organs with Scott French (drums and vocals). While working together, they also began to collaborate musically. After five years with his band One Star Hotel, Steve yearned for a fun, unrestrictive side project. When he banged out a few foundations of songs he had been writing on a clanky,
out-of-tune piano, Scott layered on swinging, double-tracked drums. Rick added staccato Beatles-esque basslines, and the sound of the Swimmers emerged.
After many years as a couple, Krista joined Steve for the first time in his musical endeavors, adding her keyboards and occasional harp, Krista’s main instrument, to the new line-up.
About DrexelUniversity’s The Music Industry Program and MAD Dragon RecordsHoused in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the Music Industry Program introduces students to the business and technology sides of the industry through a hands-on, entrepreneurial approach. Students enrolled in the Music Industry bachelor’s degree program will complete part of their course requirements by managing all aspects of the program’s record label, MAD Dragon, including production, recording, marketing, copyrights, contracts and distribution. Previous MAD Dragon releases include Dreams Don’t Count by critically acclaimed songwriter Jules Shear, the gospel infused roots rock of Hoots & Hellmouth (S/T), Matt Duke’s literate and dynamic debut Winter Child, rockin’ singer-songwriter Andrew Lipke’s The Way Home, the annual Unleashed compilation series (Unleashed 1, 2 and 3) and XYX. MAD Dragon recently released former Capitol Record recording artist The Redwalls’ eponymous CD, The Redwalls (S/T), on October 23, 2007. In 2005, MAD Dragon Records became the nation’s first student-run record label to secure a national distribution deal with Ryko Distribution, a major player in the music and video business. For more information on the new release and MAD Dragon Records, visit www.maddragonrecords.com.
About the AntoinetteWestphalCollege at DrexelUniversity
The College offers twelve undergraduate and five graduate programs in media, design and the performing arts. Programs are taught in small studio settings, featuring hands-on learning and a faculty of industry practitioners who emphasize the use of the latest technologies. The AntoinetteWestphalCollege is home to the Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies. Drexel is the premier co-op school in the country and is a top-ranked national research university. Allen Sabinson is the Dean of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.