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The Indiana Daily Student

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Charm School with Swan Wash and Placer perform at The Bishop Bar

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Louisville, KY based post-punk band Charm School performed at 10 p.m, Feb. 11, in The Bishop Bar along with Bloomington’s Swan Wash and Placer. 

The Bishop is an intimate hole-in-the-wall bar with a stage and performance space in the back and has been home to all kinds of alternative artists getting their start performing live. The Saturday night crowd was laid-back and tuned in to the music, banging their heads and cheering for more songs. The night served as a showcase for up-and-coming punk artists who are only just getting started. 

Bloomington-based and experimental artist, Placer opened the night for his first show at The Bishop with singles “Always never better,” “Polar,” “While you Sleep” and “Dark Star.” 

Placer is a guitar-based solo project by musician Oliver Boch, who is also affiliated with the bands The Post and Wintermute.  

Charm School consists of frontman Andrew Sellers, drummer Chase Palmer, bassist Brian Vega and guitarist Drew English — all of whom hail from Louisville.   

Charm School took the stage and performed songs from their debut EP, “Finite Jest,” which they released July 2023. Vega and Sellers explained their roots in the Louisville hardcore scene inspired the band’s noisy punk-revival sound.  

“Some of us come out of hardcore and there's such big post-hardcore scene and hardcore scene and straightedge scene when we were coming up. It's got a little bit of that flavor,” Vega said. 

“We also grew up on a lot of touch-and-go bands, with a little bit of drag city in there,” Sellers said. “There’s a lot of 70s post-punk in our DNA.” 

The band remarked on how active and influential the Bloomington music scene is. They cited the local label Dead Oceans — a part of The Secretly Group — that have signed popular musicians like Phoebe Bridgers and Mitski, as well as Russian Recording and the iconic Landlocked record store.  

“We were in the record store next door, and it's incredible,” Sellers said. “That was confirmation that there must be a record-buying public in this city that they have everything.”  

The band shared their own experiences coming to Bloomington and seeing live acts perform.  

“I've been coming to shows here since I was a kid. It’s a pretty significant music Mecca,” said Vega.  

Sellers shared that the band has been writing new material for a full-length album and will be recording in a week, while continuing to play more live shows back in Louisville. 

The event had a solid turnout of music fans, including Paige Falcon, a Bloomington resident and audience member who said she enjoyed the show. 

“I thought it was amazing, I really love the local music scene and live music, and I thought both of these bands had a great sound, I really enjoyed it.” 

The night ended with the darkwave punk band Swan Wash from Bloomington led by bassist and vocalist Scott Ferguson. Swan Wash has a gloomy deathrock sound with a gothic, brooding edge, and closed the night out with songs from their discography as well as some unreleased work. 

Ferguson shared that the band is releasing a new album “Shadow Shadow” this spring on his label Sister Cylinder. 

“Bloomington is a place where it's a small enough scene where every band is kind of different,” Ferguson said. “It's sort of encouraging to kind of just do exactly whatever you're trying to do because chances are you're not going to sound like your friends’ band or other bands. In that way, it's inspiring.” 

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