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Swimmer (UK), "Whippings" b/w "Boxes"
Maxi 10" Single. Original Catalog Number: QX009-10
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Tracks:

  1. Whippings
  2. Boxes

"...an entrancing collision of raw dissonance, glam-pop and art-rock." (NME)


Roger Hellier - Guitar
Chris Teckham - Bass, Vocals
Duncan Campbell - Guitar, Organ
Huw Dainow - Drums

Swimmer was Quixotic's first--and only--foray into the thriving London music scene, and our most successful record by far.  Huw Dainow was on tour with the Television Personalities (with Jowe Head playing bass) when Quixotic's John Tanzer made his acquaintance.  A demo tape was all that was needed to convince us that Swimmer was onto something good, and "Whippings" b/w "Boxes" was pressed up as a maxi 10" single (catalog number QX009-10).

Recorded by Liam Watson at the all-vacuum tube Toe Rag Studios in London, this wonderful record became an NME Single Of The Week immediately upon its release.  The BBC played the hell out of this record, and why shouldn't they have?  Swimmer became underground legends in foggy London--and this was their very first record released anywhere. How did we get it? Just one of those things.

Quixotic Records UK (not affiliated with Squeeze, please!) was launched in London to do the follow-up CD EP, "Sinking My Tin Boats"--another brilliant little record that we don't have single copy of, so don't ask.  The band formed Sweet Records to produce yet another CD EP, "Breakfast With Omar" (also available on vinyl).  An album, "Petits Pois" followed shortly thereafter.   And then that seems to have been the last of Swimmer, because they morphed into a new band called Ten Benson!  Go figure. Original copies of this 10" are quite collectible nowadays, fetching some high prices on the open market.

Press Clips:

NME ( April 16, 1994)
"First the cheeky bass beat and snorting guitar. Then a voice invites us to 'come closer dear, my family's buried here' and suddenly the seductive coo takes on a darker undertow. The swirling depths of low-fi fuzz expand and suddenly you're drowning in a deep pool of guitar psychosis. And it's bliss. Such is the effect of London four-piece Swimmer's debut. The B-side, 'Whippings', screams with pent-up sexual fury. Roger Hellier's guitar is a wash of crackling Sonic Youth energy and dissonant chords railing against singer Chris Tekkam's passion. `These whippings are real,' he cries, and then adds with a sneer, 'but not hard enough' as the guitar squeals into a funky electro riff. There are shades of Brian Eno circa 'Warm Jets' in the song structures, or maybe it's more Roxy Music meeting up with Bolan, and certainly a kind of experimentalism that harks back to the Velvet Underground lurking in the fuzzy depths, but Swimmer are nobody's retro-band. They've just reinvented pop-noir with elegance rather than cheap thrift-store fakery and sent it grinning malevolently into the world."

College Music Journal (June 13, 1994, Bryan McNamara)
"London's Swimmer may hail from the land of goth, but its music is more akin to American indie rock. Using equal parts anthemic rock and experimental guitar doodling, Swimmer explores the post-punk world with satisfying results. "

NME (September 14, 1996, for "Petits Pois", released on Sweet Records)
THEY ARE the Mavericks of Lairy Lo-Fi Pop. They are the Kray Quads of East London. They are Blur with credibility. They are Brit Yob wearing art boots. And 'Petits Pois' is a debut album that perfectly simulates the joys of driving flat out through the city in a really crap old car. Adrenaline and fumes.   The Swimmer four have changed since their tricky winners from 18 months ago, 'Boxes' and 'Whippings'. Back then, their awkwardness comprised getting into Wire well before Elastica; and 'Warm Jets'-era Eno before Suede. Now they've pushed on into a kind of belligerent three-minute punkiness with grit in the mixing desk and Cockney surrealism in the lyrics. Don't let the 'lo-fi' tag put you off. Beneath the harsh/visceral surface there are joyous tunes, sardonic wit and a lairy X-factor. Take 'It's A Dirty Job'. Drums like colliding kettles clatter while a guitar riff stutters, a siren wails and Chris sings of a cut-price killer "with orders from above". It's insane, but like much of their primitive pop, it's also addictive.  There are lulls in the 15 bursts of acidic bass shunting. But the superbly-named 'Ponces', the mangled music box ballad 'Another Face', the frantic 'Elvis Hour' and the spiv rocker 'Grey Stripes' are mini-classics of grimy English pub-cultural pop panache.  Any bunch who can sound simultaneously like 'Spiral Scratch' Buzzcocks, Blur, The Fall and early Stones must be worth dipping into. Small peas. Big queues.


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