The first Have Mercy song I heard was Two Years. It’s a song about finding yourself in a different place than you expected and accepting that. It’s about growing up, loneliness and belonging, and commemorating the people we care about. And that’s why I fell in love with this band.

Have Mercy is an indie-emo rock band out of Baltimore, MA. They currently have two LP’s out, a split with a band called Somos, and an early EP featuring material from their debut record. I use the term indie-emo because they don’t really conform to many of the norms typical emo bands. The band is counted as part of a revival in the scene since the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. Brian Swindle writes emotionally driven songs by crafting stories, like the one in Two Years. The stories often focus on people in his life and real life experiences that everyone can connect to. He has a way of capturing complex emotions in short phrasing that just cuts right into your soul. Beyond choosing the right words, he arranges them in meters that are simultaneously musical and conversational.


Swindle is someone I consider to be lyrically gifted, both in terms of the content and structure of his lyrics. Each song feels like a memory. Familiar, vivid, and often overwhelming. In his songs, he covers all the big subjects; life, love, loss, family and growing up, but does so in ways that are refreshingly honest.

Back in 2016 three-fourths of the band parted ways, leaving Brian as the sole member. But this didn’t stop him. He finished a tour and would eventually head back into the studio and with the help of his friends and long time producer began work on the band’s next release. Today, Brian releases the band’s third LP, Make The Best Of It on Hopeless Records. Each song revolves around its own compelling narrative. The album is a retrospective of Brian’s time with the band and the relationships he’s had in his life, addressing both the good times and the bad.