Swell Maps – proudly primitive, transcending genre barriers from the start of their career, instinctively experimental.
These home-recordings bear testament to six teenagers in the mid-1970s displaying their adventurous attitude with confident, unself-conscious glee.
Some of the influences come across in odd combinations of glam, krautrock, the scuzzy end of progressive rock and early glimpses of punk.
It shows how ahead of the game they still seem even now in the following century, anticipating punk rock, alt-rock, ambient musics. One track even seems to use hip-hop techniques! They have been recognised as influences on bands as diverse as Sonic Youth, Blur, Pastels and Pavement. They were even featured on a t-shirt worn by one of the characters in a Gorrillaz video!
On these recordings they have typically made use of trashy fuzz-tone guitars and wild drums, as well as zither, flutes, home-made instruments and found objects.
Of the 23 tracks here all but 4 tunes will be new to even rabid Maps collectors. There are early versions here of their second single ‘Dresden Style’, as well as ‘Harmony In Your Bathroom’, ‘Vertical Slum’ and ‘Full Moon/Blam’, all later to appear on their first album, ‘A Trip To Marineville’. They show, too, their irreverent attitude with versions of the National Anthem and the theme tune from the ‘Batman’ cartoon series.
All these performances are previously unreleased, even on bootleg.