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Swell Maps

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Birmingham, United Kingdom (1972 – 1980)

Swell Maps were a British group of the 1970s from Birmingham, that foreshadowed the birth of .

Influenced by the disparate likes of T. Rex and the German 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 .

Consisting of brothers Epic Soundtracks (real name Kevin Godfrey) and Nikki Sudden (real name Nicholas Godfrey) two Solihull based teenagers, plus Richard Earl, David Barrington, John Cockrill and Jowe Head, the band cut the single “Read About Seymour” as their debut in 1977, soon after the brothers left Solihull School (also home of Spizzenergi). It is widely considered one of the classic punk era singles. Epic’s drumming mixed with Nikki’s unique melodies crafted over the assorted threads cast by the six musicians set the band apart from the others. 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. With hard rocking punk numbers like “H.S. Art” interspersed by instrumentals and other experimental interludes like “Gunboats”, the album marked the band out as innovative non-musicians. The album went #1 on the new Independent chart.

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