Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Real Carbine Friends

Swell Maps - Blenheim Shots/Raining In My Room

Hey Hey. Well, you can blame this one on Amazon. I was kicking around looking for This Heat cds when up popped Swell Maps in the “We thought you might like this seeing as through we obviously can‘t flog you Green Day, you weirdo” section.

Now I could bang on about how I wished I bought this in the early eighties or I could have even lied and said I’ve loved them since, oooh way back. But it ain’t so. I heard some things by them, liked them, but purchase I did not. Only just got there. Damn glad I did, though. Trouble is it makes me want to track down all that other spiky stuff: Family Fodder, Fire Engines, Glaxo Babies, Big Flame. Not to mention Jackdaw With Crowbar. Mind you, I just heard Erase Errata. They’re pretty much now. They’re fun.

I know what’s going on here. I can’t take a lot of the new stuff that draws on this era because, well, it‘s just too buttoned down. I understand why people love Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs, but to me it’s as if all the decisions have been made, the edges smoothed off. No loose wires.

“Jane From Occupied Europe” is nothing but loose wires and that‘s why it‘s brilliant. The edges of punk are there, but it’s 1980 and its got to fight it out with all kinds of other things: Floyd a la Lucifer Sam thwack thwack, instrumentals that sound like Dick Dale on stage with Amon Duul II circa 1972, some unbelievable avant drone rock dynamics that shout “Oi! Thurston! Form a band called Sonic Youth!”, songs that sound like Eno is singing on them (he isn’t, I checked), and then amongst the extra tracks you get the utter greatness of “The Stairs Are Like An Avalanche” which has some of the best shardy guitar work this side of Steve Albini.

Look, I got it out of the packaging, slapped it on and played it five times in a row. That’s three times more than I’ve ever played the Gang of Four cd. I’m just being honest.

I’m going for the final two tracks of the album proper, “Blenheim Shots/Raining In My Room”. The first is the sound of the band you always wanted to be in. Tuning? Just. Let’s go. Circle that riff. The way it segues into the next track is fantastic and, for me, rather moving: it’s the start of a new decade, we’ve kicked a whole heap of things out but we’ll damned if we’re going to let beauty go. Here she is again, in all her finery….

…just buy the damn thing!!! Now!!

Buy - Swell Maps in "Jane From Occupied Europe"
Visit - Swell Maps MySpace
Visit - Nikki Sudden MySpace
Visit - A great article at Perfect Sound Forever
Visit - NikkiSudden.com


1 comment:

absonderpop said...

You might have already heard the sad news that Swell Maps co-founder Nikki Sudden passed away last night.
For those unfamiliar with his solo work and his collaborations with Dave Kusworth under the Jacobites-moniker, I put up some tracks on my own blog (http://absonderpop.blogspot.com/2006/03/rip-nikki.html)