Swell Maps are among the most influential and chaotic bands of an early post-punk movement. The band originally formed in the early seventies by brothers Nikki Sudden and Epic Soundtracks (Nicholas and Kevin Godfrey respectively) but waited until the punk explosion to become a full-blown force.
The band would further bastardize and obliterate the three-chord boundaries of punk rock, experimenting with expansive Kraut rock sounds, utilizing tape loops, and practically destroying synthesizers on tape. Both of their full length records include ambient soundscapes and short segments of noise in between shrill yet catchy lo-fi punk songs.
Though their tenure on record barely lasted over a year and change, the band would leave a spectacular trail of songs and sonic experimentation before their demise in 1980. Both brothers would join other outfits and pursue solo ventures, and compilations of single tracks and unreleased material would soon find their way to the market in the wake of the band’s budding influence.
I’ve uploaded a duo of tracks, the first is a personal favorite, a sprawling, clanging instrumental piece featured on their second and final record, 1980′s The Swell Maps In…Jane From Occupied Europe.. The second is a straightforward art-punk tune featured on 1979′s A Trip To Marineville. Enjoy!
No real footage or videos of the band exist in full form, but I’ve come across a live version of ‘Let’s Build a Car From the Tyranny of the Beat’ backed with assorted live bits and bobs.
Fortunately (and most refreshingly), the majority of this band’s official (and unofficial) output is available for purchase by clicking the following link: