Swell Bastards and Rarities 1989-1994

Indie veterans Swell aren’t exactly a band most would expect a B-sides and rarities album from, considering the difficulty in naming any of their proper albums. However, this lo-fi collection of old, forgotten songs is definitely an admirable one. Accumulated from the years of the original line-up of David Freel, Sean Kirkpatrick and Monte Vallier, Bastards and Rarities 1989-1994 reveals some truly decent tunes that were only ever heard on items that are now out of print. Their indie niche is as a smart and casual bunch like Pavement, but also as a more sombre group like Red House Painters. The songs on Bastards and Rarities may not be their best ever (who would really know), but they do show a band who could have been bigger if the indie gods had thrown them a bone. As far as cult bands go, Swell are deservedly up their with Unrest and Bettie Serveert. (Badman)