Swell Maps began in 1972 (intro by Nikki Sudden – RIP 2006)
They were formed by brothers Epic Soundtracks and Nikki Sudden together with their friend David Barrington. Jowe Head, Richard Earl & John Cockrill came on board over the next few years. Richard and Jowe stayed – the others became more temporary members…
In September 1977 the Maps went in the studio for the first time – although many home recordings were made – and still exist! Swell Maps were (are) seen as being a cross between Can and T.Rex by the members of the band. Others may disagree but that’s their loss.
All the band’s singles (4) and albums (2) went to number one in the British independent charts.
Swell Maps broke up in mid-1980 for many reasons – some known – many others unknown. Apparently they have influenced many bands including Sonic Youth, Pavement, Pussy Galore… but don’t blame them for this.
Swell Maps played 50 shows during their lifetime.
They were supposed to tour the States during 1980 but broke up too soon.
After the demise of the band in the early ’80s, Epic Soundtracks played with These Immortal Souls & Crime And The City Solution, ultimately recording solo, while Nikki Sudden was pursuing his own solo career, collaborating with a wide range of artists, from REM to Wilco.
Epic Soundtracks RIP 1997. Nikki Sudden RIP 2006
"The first Swell Maps single I bought (Let’s Buid A Car) still to this day gives me a soul scorched buzz’n’rush. As soon as Nikki Sudden’s gr comes slicing slabbing and all out fuzzifying off that crackling vinyl groove you know yr gonna rock. The Swell Maps had a lot to do with my upbringing… I wish I saw them." – Thurston Moore… Sonic Youth – 1987
There should be a warning label affixed to this album to even the odds of people purchasing additional material: "Absolutely the best record available by Swell Maps." – PITCHFORK
Like International Rescue, Sweep the Desert keeps the memory of Swell Maps alive. While the material gathered here might not be fully representative of the band’s sound, it does an excellent job of underscoring Swell Maps’ significance alongside such illustrious contemporaries as the Pop Group, the Fall and PiL. – Wilson Neate / POPMATTERS