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Spowder at the 2017 NJIRF.jpg
Background information
OriginNew Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresRock and roll, garage rock, punk rock
Years active2014 (2014)–present
LabelsSniffling Indie Kids, State Champion Records
MembersJamie Houghton
Jenna Fairey
Declan McCleary
Gillian Smith

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Spowder is an American rock band that is from New Jersey.


Spowder is a garage and punk rock quartet from New Brunswick, New Jersey. [1] Drummer Jenna Fairey and bassist Gillian Smith started playing together when they were seventeen years old. After joining with guitarist Jamie Houghton and singer Declan McCleary, they formed Spowder in 2014. The name Spowder comes from a hiking spot in their hometown, Morristown, New Jersey, where the sign for South Powder Mill road reads S. Powder Mill.[2] Spowder are classified as fuzzy, sludgy but melodic swamp rock, and they draw comparison to the music of the B-52's, Black Sabbath, Hüsker Dü, and the Stooges.[3][4][5] Their live performances are described as having a "chaotic authenticity [...] that lights a fire under fans from all walks of life," and the "tops[,] especially when front man Declan McCleary bangs the tambourine on his skull."[5][2] Within a couple years, Spowder had developed a devoted fanbase in the Central New Jersey for their strong live performances, and for generating mosh pits.[6][7]

Spowder released three singles in 2014, "Grapefruit Warrior," "Kitchen Sink" and "Jaime." That year, Spowder also released their debut album, the ten-track Normal on 8 July. It was recorded using a single microphone, in two days. Normal contains nine original songs, and a rendition of the Dutch rock band Shocking Blue's song "Venus." In 2015, Spowder released an eight-track basement demo album, entitled Neato on 5 February, and the four-track EP Desert Safari Swamp on 16 April. Along with the band Dog Date, they released a split 7"-vinyl EP, on 1 July 2016. On the split, Speak Into My Good Eye writes "the fearsome foursome foam at the mouth with the hazy, Sonic Youth-style "Pulp," then transition to the nuclear, cow-punk option on "He Died Doing What He Loves.""[3]

In the Summer of 2016, they performed with the indie rock band Speedy Ortiz and the rock band Perfect Pussy, as well as Screaming Females at the independent radio station WFMU's Monty Hall showcase.[8][6] Spowder recorded a live version of Desert Safari Swamp's "Menson," for William Paterson University radio station WPSC's program, "Meelday in the Morning." The song is described as "mind melting[,] building Ween-esque, psycho-billy tension lines leading to furious releases."[9] That year, the band's live performances had grabbed the attention of Marissa Paternoster, who signed them to State Champion Records. Courier News describes a September 2016 performance as a "sonic blast of crazy fun," and notes that Spowder is considered by some to be New Jersey's best up-and-coming band.[10]

State Champion Records[edit]

The eight-track album, Health Palm, was released on compact disc with Sniffling Indie Kids, and on vinyl with State Champion Records, on 28 April 2017. The record release party for the album was held at a New Brunswick, New Jersey basement show, on 20 April, with Glazer, Kult of Mary, and Bilge Rat.[5] A review by Razorcake says the "tunes are driving 'n' loud with more than a hint of garage in 'em, but there's also a bit of swampy, artsy shenanigans in evidence, which gives things an interesting tweak. Good stuff."[1] Health Palm is listed at No. 6 in The Aquarian Weekly's Top Albums of 2017.[11]

Spowder was one of the headlining bands at the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, on 23 September 2017, and in the Winter of 2017, Spowder toured across the United States.[12][13] That year, they also released a split 7"-vinyl with Joy Cleaner. In 2018, Spowder performed again at Monty Hall, with Screaming Females.[14]


  • Jamie Houghton – drums
  • Jenna Fairey – bass
  • Declan McCleary – vocals
  • Gillian Smith – guitar


  • Desert Safari Swamp (2015)
  • Spowder x Dog Date (2016) with Dog Date
  • "Grapefruit Warrior" (2014)
  • "Kitchen Sink" (2014)
  • "Jaime" (2014)



External links[edit]