Friday, July 11, 2008

Swallow - s/t (1988, Sub Pop); Sourpuss (1990, Sub Pop)

To coincide with Sub Pop Records 20th anniversary celebration this weekend, revolving around a two-day outdoor concert festival in Seattle’s Marymoor Park (aka West Seattle Summerfest), I have decided to dedicate this weekend’s posts to, you guessed it, some of the label’s more far flung heyday acts. And what better way in the whole wide world to kick this off than with the little known Swallow.Almost simultaneously releasing their debut album with soon to be heavy hitters Nirvana and Mudhoney, Swallow’s lack of presence (at least in U.S. record stores) was astonishing, given they should have been the single most representative band of the late ‘80s grunge du-jour. According to their lengthy Allmusic bio, the Seattle-based (naturally) Swallow were never a priority for Sub Pop, to the extent that their sophomore album, 1990’s Sourpuss, was puzzlingly released in Europe exclusively. In fact, their self-titled debut was also something of an other-side-of-the-pond priority, being co-opted by Sub Pop in the States and the nascent Tupelo Records in London England. Band infighting and dwindling potential for anything approaching recognition, let alone success, spelled the kiss of death for Swallow, coincidentally just as Nirvana’s Nevermind had peaked in early 1992.Swallow’s take on so called “grunge” drew from punk more than metal, and unlike contemporaries Soundgarden and Skin Yard, Swallow didn’t take themselves as seriously. While not entirely frivolous, and in fact, rarely silly, Swallow’s heaving power chords, and low-end rhythm section collectively wrapped themselves around tales of debaucheristic escapades, and ruminations on corpses…and bodily fluids. Not nearly as intimidating as it might sound, I assure you.

I have uploaded the aforementioned pair of Swallow albums in their entirety from CD, not vinyl, and as far as I know Wilfullly Obscure is the only blog that has undertaken such an endeavor (
Lamestain’s tribute to the band is informative as well). There’s some excellent music here, and a lot more melodic than you might expect.

An album’s worth of unreleased Swallow recordings from 1990, Teach Your Bird to Sing, was issued in 2007 on
Flotation Records. The band will be making a reunion appearance at one of this weekend’s kickoff events. Word. Rod Moody, Swallow singer/guitarist, has also prepared this 'lil write-up.

Please note, this is not the same Swallow as the shoegazer-lite act on 4AD Records that existed contemporary to their Seattle counterparts.

01. Zoo
02. Foetus
03. Coffin
04. Guts
05. Hard
06. Cold
07. BSA
08. Trim

plus special for you:
09. Home (cd-only bonus track)
10. Trapped (from Fuck Me I'm Rich compilation)

01. Forever
02. Thankx
03. Sex Pig
04. Nice
05. Fed
06. Take Me
07. Queen
08. Sink
09. Time
10. In Effect

Swallow: Hear
Sourpuss: Hear


LuckyTiger said...

Considering how much media and label attention anybody who had even the most remote connection to Seattle got between 1991-95, it's hard to believe that a band as good as Swallow was ignored. Thanks for the post -- I'd been looking for the first record forever.

Dev said...

I use to have both of these releases on cd, each upon release. Saw the band a few times back in those days.
I've since purchased both on vinyl, which were actually easier to get than cds, (lost my originals years ago).
So a HUGE thank you for these!

The new record's really good, too!

reallybadreverb said...

Swallow's track from Sub Pop 200 has always been one of my favorites. This sure beats the album from the other Swallow I accidentally bought many moons ago. Thanks for posting!

yourbestfriend said...

This is Rod from Swallow. Thanks for posting this, as O doubt these will ever be officially re-released. We had fun. That's all!

yourbestfriend said...

This is Rod from Swallow. Thanks for posting this, as O doubt these will ever be officially re-released. We had fun. That's all!

ifeelsoalone said...

This album is timeless I can't find it anywhere. Could you upload it again please? I just can't download it from that page it doesn't work anymore.

Unknown said...

This is Scott from Swallow. Rod turns 50 this year. Rod is old. Nail in the coffin, indeed!

tipsypo said...

Hey, I got the SP200 not too long ago, and Zoo was awesome so wanted to try obtain some more, discovering these. Not disappointed with the S/T in particular BSA, Foetus and Trim getting replayed rather an bit.

Would love to have Sourpuss uploaded again, as couldn't download that one as "deleted due to inactivity".

spavid said...

The links have been refreshed. Thanks Rod and Scott for posting!

mark said...

Dude, anyway you can upload again?

spavid said...

Just fixed the links again.

Gen said...

Hi! Could you possibly upload again the Swallow's album, please?
Thank you in advance

Scott LaRose said...

Rod and I worked a FnN in ine restaurants there and played in bands that some tones shared the same stage I in Aerobic Death and Rod in Deranged Diction and the Drip Drys. I remember when Swallow was on Subpop and Andy from Isolation was playing bass, Rod at that point was siill cookink in restaurants and Andy was doing construction work, as was I.I did get to hear about their fun touring, usually at a show. anyway I also sort of wonder why they never had the sucess that that the other bands that all came out on subpop at the same time had.