Photo by: Justin Day
Official press release:
After months of teasing, rock band Have Mercy have finally shared details of their new EP Have Mercy, set to be released on August 26th via ZODHIAC Records. Additionally the band has given fans their first taste of new music since 2019 – lead single “I’m Gonna Be Ok” is debuting now on Brooklyn Vegan. With the new track, it feels as if nothing and everything has changed all at once. The repeated refrain of “Everything’s gonna be ok” in vocalist Brian Swindle’s familiar croon is a much-needed comfort at a time when everything feels uncomfortable. To pre-save the new EP, please visit this link. Swindle shares:
“When we wrote this song, I realized that it summarized my entire life as of late. I met the love of my life and wanted to move forward with her but couldn’t until I took care of my issues. I had to get sober, get my mental health in check and just do better. This song was a reflection of all of that.”
When the world shut down in March 2020, it took Have Mercy’s victory lap with it. The beloved Baltimore-based emo/indie quartet had called it quits after a decade-long career and were wrapping their time together with sold-out, sweat-and-tear-soaked performances across the country – then, seemingly overnight, everything changed. There was no hometown show at the Ottobar, no final bow to thunderous applause and bittersweet emotions alike. It was like slamming the book shut before the final pages were even written.
A lot changed for front man Brian Swindle after that. He got sober, got engaged, and got creative, releasing a string of solo singles that built on the foundation he’d laid with Have Mercy while expanding it in new ways. Soon, though, he felt the pull of his past, texting his bandmates:
“I wrote a song. It sounds like a Have Mercy song and not a Brian Swindle song.”
Before long, the band’s classic lineup – Swindle, guitarist Andrew Johnson, drummer Todd Wallace, and bassist Nick Woolford – were turning the singer’s acoustic demo into “I’ll Wait”, a big, bold reintroduction for the group and their first new music since 2019’s The Love Life (Hopeless Records). Autobiographical and teeming with the same heart-on-sleeve honesty that endeared them to the underground in the 2010s, “I’ll Wait” is now the kickoff to the band’s brand-new Have Mercy EP (releasing August 26th via ZODHIAC Records) and encapsulates the mission statement they’ve set for this new chapter of Have Mercy.
As such, the EP feels like a rebirth for Have Mercy, a throwback to the early days when Swindle, Johnson, Wallace, and Woolford were friends first and business partners second, turning heads and winning over fans with a swirl of punk, pop, emo, and alternative rock – all underpinned by Swindle’s distinctive, moody delivery and emotive lyricism.
The EP’s seven songs seamlessly fit into the band’s sonic wheelhouse that launched them onto tours with the likes of The Wonder Years and Real Friends with well-loved albums like 2013’s The Earth Pushed Back (Topshelf Records), 2014’s A Place Of Our Own (Hopeless Records) and 2017’s Make The Best Of It (Hopeless Records). This time, though, that sound is a little brighter and more upbeat, cut with a little more maturity and intentionality that’s the result of the last two years of their collective lives surviving the wildest period in modern life.
From “I’ll Wait” through “Fast Car” (written for Swindle’s young niece), the ‘90s-leaning “I Don’t Wanna Think Of You”, gorgeous ballad “Marry Me” and soaring “Strawberry Hill”, the collection is the sound of not just a seasoned band, but four men, reaching new stations in life, reflecting on where they’ve been but giddily embracing what’s in front of them.
Entering this new era, Have Mercy have made it a point not to make too many plans for the future – after all, they know all too well how easily those set-in-stone commitments can get upended. But they’re still excited about the future nonetheless, because whatever happens will happen on no one’s terms but their own, with all of the freedom but none of the pressure.
Have Mercy EP track listing:
- “I’m Gonna Be Ok”
- “Spit It Out”
- “I Don’t Wanna Think Of You”
- “Marry Me”
- “I’ll Wait”
- “Fast Car”
- “Strawberry Hill”