Seven-Inch Sundays #2 // The Swirlies — “Wrong Tube”


In my estimation, The Swirlies were the greatest indie rock band of the 1990s to never really make it big—and by “make it big” I mean indie rock big—Sebadoh big, Superchunk big. They made two stellar albums of shoegazed-influenced dream pop, Blonder Tongue Audio Baton (1993), and They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons (1996). These albums are crammed with fuzzy four-track recorder experiments, folky half-songs, and a handful of truly stellar, muscular, dream pop songs that would fit nicely on any mixtape between jams from My Bloody Valentine and Stereolab. One such song is “Wrong Tube,” the a-side to this Taang! Records 7″ purporting to be the Brokedick Car EP (it’s not the full EP, which has two other songs).


“Wrong Tube” was a staple in my ’86 Camry’s tape deck for years, and I still love it today. I haven’t listened to this 7″ in years—I almost certainly bought it because of the blue vinyl (and, ashamedly, certain completist tendencies). The guitars are crunchy, swerving, swirly, guitarists Seana Carmody and Damon Tutunjian attacking their tremolo bars with abandon and trading verses as the band crashed through in a high tempo. I still find the final moments of the song exhilarating, as one of the guitars hammers out a  sweet melody in the highest register as Carmody harmonizes along. Somehow the entire version of the song doesn’t fit on the 7″, which is a shame I guess. B-sides “Labrea Tarpit” and “You’re Just Jealous” are a forgettable experiment followed by a forgettable ditty.