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Swell Maps

Noisy and experimental, Britain's Swell Maps experienced little commercial success during the course of their chaotic career, but in hindsight they stand as one of the pivotal acts of the new wave: not only was the group an acknowledged inspiration to the likes of Sonic Youth and Pavement, but their alumni -- most notably brothers Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks -- continued on as key players in the underground music community.

Although Sudden (vocals/guitar) and Soundtracks (piano/drums) formed the first incarnation of the Swell Maps (named after the charts used by surfers to gauge wave intensities) as far back as 1972, the group did not begin to truly take shape until 1976, when the siblings enlisted bassist Jowe Head and guitarist Richard Earl. In the spirit of punk's D.I.Y. mentality, they formed their own label, Rather Records, and issued their debut single -- the brief, jarring "Read About Seymour" -- in the early weeks of 1978. Local media support soon won the Swell Maps a distribution pact with Rough Trade, but they did not resurface until over a year later with the single "Dresden Style."

In mid-1979, the band released its full-length debut, A Trip to Marineville, a crazy quilt of punk energy and Krautrock-influenced clatter. After the release of the speaker-shredding single "Let's Build a Car," the group recorded one final studio LP, Jane from Occupied Europe, before breaking up. A series of outtakes and singles collections -- 1981's Whatever Happens Next, 1982's Collision Time, and 1987's Train Out of It -- followed, while the members followed their own career paths: Sudden formed the Jacobites, Soundtracks joined Crime and the City Solution, and Head played with the Television Personalities. All later enjoyed solo careers as well. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: International Rescue

1. International Rescue

2. Real Shocks

3. Let's Build A Car

4. Black Velvet

5. Ammunition Train

6. Ripped & Torn

7. Secret Island

8. Read About Seymour

9. Get Down And Get With It

10. Spitfire Parade

11. New York

12. Forest Fire

13. Winter Rainbow

14. Dresden Style (City Boys)

15. Off The Beach (Spilling Coffee)

16. One Of The Crowd

17. Vertical Slum

18. H.A.K.

19. I Really Love You

20. Blank Track

x

Track List: Jane From Occupied Europe

1. Robot Factory

2. Let's Buy A Bridge

3. Border Country

4. Cake Shop Girl

5. The Helicopter Spies

6. Big Maz In The Desert

7. Big Empty Field

8. Mining Villages

9. Collision With A Frogman

10. ...Vs. The Mangrove Delta Plan

11. Secret Island

12. Whatever Happens Next...

13. Blenheim Shots

14. A Raincoat's Room

15. The Stairs Are Like An Avalanche

16. New York

x

Track List: A Trip To Marineville

1. H.S. Art

2. Another Song

3. Vertical Slum

4. Spitfire Parade

5. Harmony In Your Bathroom

6. Don't Throw Ashtrays At Me!

7. Midget Submarine

8. Bridge Head (Pt. 9)

9. Full Moon In My Pocket

10. Blam!!

11. Full Moon (Reprise)

12. Gunboats

13. Adventuring Into Basketry

14. My Lil' Shoppes 'Round The Corner

16. Doctor At Cake

17. Steven Does

18. Bronze And Baby Shoes

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Swell Maps were great!!!! F**kin miss these guys
Report as inappropriate
PANDORA TU ERES LA UNICA CON ESTA Varrieda.De Estaciones ...SoSoSoCoo l
Report as inappropriate
I'm rockin out with my c**k out muthafucks!
Report as inappropriate
cowniew
They should have toughed it out and stayed together. Sounds like they had the potential to become one of the better alternative bands of the 80s.
Report as inappropriate
l11950
Cool band. I never heard of these cat's before.

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