SWF played as the opening act on a six-band bill at his CMJ debut to a crowd of 19 at the Rock Shop in the backwater of Gowanus. At that hour, there were likely more drinks pouring into the glasses of industry bigwigs than fans populating the city’s venues. Critics hardly expect to discover a new artist at 7 p.m. on the first night of CMJ.
Brushing his bare feet on the wooden brick slab of a stage at Rock Shop and strained through a throaty wail, his voice complemented his strong '70s guitar licks unlike bands of that era. Just a week in front of his debut album Let it Be Told, SWF is starting to prove he's a promising upcoming act -- even though he seems decidedly off the pulse of the 21st century.
Born as Stevie Weinstein-Foner, SWF is nigh-impossible to find on the Internet -- swf is an animation file format, and it appears far above the artist in a cursory search. And, he came to CMJ to make friends.
“I hope to connect with other bands," Stevie said after finishing his set at Rock Shop. "I'm just down to keep adding musicians, you know, make [the set] as big as possible. I have a lot of friends who are in music… and why not?"
Among his propensity for vibing and unity, Stevie is forward thinking and strategic. His debut album was recorded in Memphis during two four-day sessions and he returned to New York with a clear sound and direction.
Seemingly at ease on stage, SWF wailed through an anthemized version of "Warrior,” and bumbled with a grin and tapping feet for the melodic "Black & Golden."
The song’s music video depicts a fur coat clad Stevie dancing among the throngs of the Chinatown Parade, hair everywhere. Stevie said his image came together organically.
"My taste and my aesthetic -- it's following in that vein of just, where I see myself."
You do you, SWF. We'll be watching.
SWF will play Tammany Hall on October 17 and The Delancey on October 18.