Friday, 5 February 2010

Fortissimo Fridays: Swell

Friday, 5 February 2010

Click the tape to visit this Friday's artist's web page.

Okay kids, listen up. It’s time to get serious now about your musical education. Most of this Friday tunes thing I have been doing has largely been for my own amusement, because there isn’t much more that I like than wasting valuable time procrastinating against really important things while I pick through You Tube to try and find old songs so I can wax nostalgic. But now it’s time to introduce you to one of my favourite bands EV-ER... devoted Bloggees: it's time for you to meet SWELL.

I can’t remember for certain, but I think it was my friend Kevin who first introduced me to them. He dealt in music and cruelty in equal doses, for back in the day he used to make me lots of lovely mix tapes but used to take delight in my vexation from purposely never writing a corresponding track listing – I went bananas, he laughed at me. So if I liked something, I had pester the life out of him before ultimately resorting to shameless trickery (usually copious amounts of some fermented beverage or other would do) before the adorable bugger would reveal who was who. And so it was with Swell. I got it out of him eventually and I’m proud to say that I have been comparatively more promiscuous than he in spreading the Swell love to fellow music afficionados; apologies if there are those amongst you who onto whom I have already pushed my Swell-thusiasm.

The track you are about to hear was probably the first Swell song I ever heard and it was nigh-on love at first listen. It’s a good intro piece which should give you a fairly decent idea of what they are all about; unpretentious, straight ahead, no bullshit. Melodies which at first appear unassuming but perfectly complement the guitars in a carefully crafted way. The thing I love the most about this track especially, are the drums. I’ve always had a daft little fantasy that there wasn’t a drum kit in sight when the tapes started rolling on this one but rather an assembly of cardboard boxes and up-ended buckets of varying pitch... have a listen – do you hear what I mean? If you’re into Pavement, Sebadoh, the Pixies... these fellas will be right up your street.

There is always a lot of talk about people’s ‘desert island discs’, right? Sure, I have a vague idea of what mine would be, with the following distinction: my desert island discs would be made up of records that I can listen to from start to finish, unable to choose one favourite track over another. Records that I listen to in their entirety, where tracks in isolation just seem wrong somehow. Swell’s 1997 record ‘Too Many Days Without Thinking’ will definitely feature in the Top Ten of this list; I am particularly proud to share them with you this Friday, dear readers. I couldn’t dig ‘em deeper if I had a spade. So without further ado, behold: ‘Is That Important?’

Oh, apologies for the video -- it's not mine but rather one of You Tube's home-made efforts -- but don't watch, just listen.

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