There is a bass line on “Path to Purity” that could’ve been played at dodgy punk clubs in the 70’s. It’s a punch and a kiss at a Halloween rock party that somehow has just been released in 2015. You may not know this band yet, but once you hear them, it will be arresting. They are Swampland and their first album is called The Stranded West.
The influences are palpable — groove like The Sound and ire like Dead Moon— but it is in the sound quality of these recordings that will melt your black vinyl hearts. Post-punk defined.
Even before I got a copy of The Stranded West, I had been following his band for the recording clips they were posting online. The quality was raw, with certain melancholy and bravado. On “Barbarous Beat” that rawness emerges in full force, slipping an impulse for tapping under your shoes with a shaking. Here the guitar and drums of Craig Cisneroz and Roger Fowler drive it fully into the garage (metaphorically speaking) where Joy Division left their sweat.
If you like baritones with basslines and lyrical imagery a la The National, take this record on. There aren’t enough artists who make albums anymore, yet Swampland decided to make a full-fledged LP with a sound that leaves one foot firmly planted in that metaphorical garage, and make it their own.
That anti-conformism alone makes it a time traveler of an album that has finally made its way to us.