Swell Maps In Session – 1978 – Past Daily Soundbooth
Swell Maps in session for John Peel – October 17, 1978 – BBC Radio 1 –
Swell Maps and our ode to the dawn of Post-Punk this evening. Influenced by the disparate likes of T. Rex and the German krautrock outfit Can, they created a new soundscape that would be heavily mined by others in the post-punk era. Despite existing in various forms since 1972, Swell Maps only really came together as a musical entity after the birth of British punk.
Consisting of brothers Epic Soundtracks (real name Kevin Paul Godfrey) and Nikki Sudden (real name Adrian Nicholas Godfrey) two Solihull based teenagers, plus Biggles Books (Richard Earl), Phones Sportsman (David Barrington), John “Golden” Cockrill and Jowe Head (Stephen Bird), the band cut the single “Read About Seymour” as their debut in 1977, soon after the brothers left Solihull School. It is widely considered one of the classic punk era singles, and is name-checked in the song “Part Time Punks” by Television Personalities.
After recording their first John Peel session Swell Maps went into WMRS studio to record their first album A Trip to Marineville, which was released in 1979. It featured hard rocking punk numbers like “H.S. Art” interspersed with ambient instrumentals and other experimental interludes like “Gunboats”. The album went No. 1 on the new Independent chart.
The band cut one more album, The Swell Maps in ‘Jane From Occupied Europe’, in 1980: it featured a variety of genres, from industrial surf instrumentals like the opener “Robot Factory” to ballads like “Cake Shop Girl”.
The next year, the band released compilation Whatever Happens Next… before splitting up.
This session, from October 17, 1978, was their first for John Peel and it signaled a harbinger of things to come. If you missed them the first time around – or have only now just discovered them – they were a very underrated and overlooked band of the period, and thanks to preservation, they are being rediscovered by a whole new generation of fans.