(Jane from Occupied Europe,1980, Rough Trade)
If you can give me a song that better captures the true punk raucousness that was actually pumped out in New York in the Seventies, I’d give you my apartment and actually move to the Birmingham (centrally located city within England) rat-hole Swell Maps presumably lived in.
Now these dudes were apartment crashing British vagabonds, but they were creating the slobbery post punk music that New York punks/noise rockers wouldn’t be touching until a couple years later (the album this tune appears on, Jane From Occupied Europe, which was made in 1980, which is late in their career.) Noise, discomfort, and razor blade guitars curl microphone coils on all their albums, but in no other song do I think their pop-rock sensibility is more apparent than on New York. So while your ears are being caressed by garagey pop lovin’ listen for the poor recording quality, listen to the jangly guitars blasting sleepless, 1970’s bomb-blasted Chuck Berry type riffs, and appreciate that whenever you hear this in bands of today they probably listened to Swell Maps too.