Indiepop supergroup Swansea Sound debut new video “Rock N Roll Void” off their upcoming debut album ‘Live at the Rum Puncheon’ (HHBTM / Skep Wax).
RELEASE DATE: November 19th, 2021
Taken from the forthcoming album ‘Live at the Rum Puncheon’, ROCK N ROLL VOID puts its arm round The Buzzcocks, The Undertones (and maybe even The Pooh Sticks), gives them a great big kiss, and then kicks them into the here and now with a raucous, singalong, punk/pop blast.
The guitars are loud and sweet and demand your attention, while the lyrics ask profound questions: ‘Who am I? ‘Where do I come from?’ and ‘Where’s the volume control? Cos I need to play this song REALLY LOUD!’
ROCK N ROLL VOID is a good illustration of the album. Witty, sardonic, catchy, anti-corporate pop, fizzing with life. Which is perverse in a way, given that the album was recorded in lockdown without the band members ever meeting. But not quite as perverse as naming the album after a pub that was demolished in the 1980s.
In the video, Hue and the rest of the band enter their own Rock N Roll void, surrounded by posters and fanzines from their previous lives.
SWANSEA SOUND reunite Hue Williams with Pooh Sticks singing partner Amelia Fletcher (ex-Talulah Gosh, Heavenly). Rob Pursey (also ex-Heavenly) and Ian Button (ex-Death In Vegas) provide the noise.
The album will be released on 19th November on vinyl/CD/cassette/digital. It will not be available on streaming sites. In the UK, it is released on Skep Wax/Lavender Sweep. In the US, HHBTM/Austin Town Hall. In Indonesia, Shiny Happy Records. In Japan, Hayabusa Landings.
Swansea Sound: a band that came into being during lockdown and decided that fast, loud, political indiepop punk was the answer to being stuck indoors. Who needs introspection?
Hue Williams is reunited with Pooh Sticks singing partner Amelia Fletcher (ex- Talulah Gosh, Heavenly). Rob Pursey (also ex-Heavenly) and Ian Button (Wreckless Eric’s live collaborator) provide the noise. Swansea Sound are the funny, angry, gleeful and savage past, present and future of indie. The band has played just one gig in real life – but there will be more in 2022.
On debut album ‘Live at the Rum Puncheon’, opening track ‘Rock N Roll Void’ catches you up on the past: a two minute revision session to make sure you haven’t forgotten The Kinks, The Ramones and the brief explosion of noise pollution that was C86 pop.
Second track ‘I Sold My Soul on eBay’, also two minutes long, savages the corporate piracy of our digital present, where anyone can earn plenty of ‘likes’, but no-one gets paid any money.
Next, ‘I’m OK When You’re Around’ is a love song to all the people Swansea Sound would like to meet in the future. People they’ve fallen in love with in digital chatrooms: new allies all over the world who are standing up to the digital giants and the shit-stirring racist trolls everyone’s forced to share the internet with.
Track 4: ‘The Pooh Sticks’. Hue pays tribute to his former self in an apparently sincere tribute to one of the great lost indie bands of the 90s. (No-one else was going to do it.) We have all become own archivists these days. We’ve all become our own covers bands…
This album whizzes by very quickly: you’re already near the end of Side One.
Four of the tracks have already been released as short run singles on a variety of formats. ‘Corporate Indie Band’ was cassette-only. ‘I Sold My Soul on eBay’ was a one-off lathe cut 7” single that got auctioned on eBay (with a £400 winning bid). ‘Indies of the World’ was a 7” single/cassette, which briefly hitt the UK physical Top Ten chart, before selling out.
Most recently, ‘Swansea Sound’was released as a limited edition cassette/mini-CD on 1st September. This was the date, exactly one year ago, when the much-treasured South Wales radio station, Swansea Sound, was re-branded by its new corporate owners and its old name became available. The song is a requiem for that lost radio station – a DJ describing his final day at work before his show is ‘rationalised’ – but it’s also a wider protest about the culturally stultifying effect of corporatisation.
Some of the songs are reflexive – ‘Swansea Sound’ and ‘The Pooh Sticks’. Others are searching for hope – ‘Let It Happen’, ‘I’m OK When You’re Around’, ‘Pasadena’, ‘Angry Girl’. Whereas ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ is pure pop throwaway fun. The other songs are catchy too, they just happen to express a sickness and a contempt for the state of things. ‘Corporate Indie Band’ is about a group who have mortgaged their creativity to a major label and sold their identities to an online marketing team of public schoolboys. Freedom of Speech takes a look at three contemporary ‘alternative’ music stars and considers how they’ve responded to BLM, the pandemic and the rise of right-wing populism. ‘Like self-serving arseholes’, is the unfortunate answer. (You won’t struggle to work out who the three ‘alternative’ stars are.) Backing vocals are provided by queer indie punk band The Crystal Furs (Portland, Oregon).
Swansea Sound took their name from a radio station, and they even use its abandoned logo. Something modern, acidic and angry has taken up residence in a familiar, borrowed frame, just as it has in these indiepunk pop songs. You can throw yourself around to Swansea Sound like it’s 1986, but if you catch the lyrics you’ll remember you’re in 2021. Sorry about that.
The Rum Puncheon, a notorious pub in Swansea, closed down decades ago.
The sleeve is designed by Catrin Saran James. Amelia, Rob and Ian also perform in The Catenary Wires.
The album will not be released on streaming sites.