When Mr Groovie handed my copies of the amazing KAMINARI compilation he lowered his voice and whispered: “We’re about to sign a new awesome band from Japan. There are called SWAMPS and you’ll love them.” Immediately I tried to search for more info and music. There was hardly any, but I discovered their cover version of Devo’s “Mongoloid” and was blown away. One year later a lot has changed.
SWAMPS were formed by Kim and Miss Koko in 2011 and since then they’ve been refining their swampy sound filled with dirty guitars, primitive drums and howlin vocals. SWAMPS is a monster. They don’t care about bass. A wall of guitars is way better. If you can picture a combination of The Cramps, The Oblivians or Jack’O Fire, born in the far away island of Hokkaido, Japan, you’ll get the picture.
2016 has been the best year for the SWAMPS so far and their world domination is closer. In just six months they released a 7″ and not one but two LPs! “Rockin’ Show Must Die!” on Hidden Volume (USA) set the pace. Two primitive songs to the bone aiming to introduce the SWAMPS brand to a wider audience. “Kitano Homare” on Dead Beat Records (USA), their debut LP, showed how far this Japanese combo could go. Still dirtier, primitive, bluesy and punk. It was released in October and just one month later we have “Rockin’ Mess”!
I kid you not when I say the SWAMPS saved the best for last. The truth is “Rockin’ Mess” is an instant classic! From the songs to the cover, this is a MUST HAVE LP. Their sound is tighter than ever, their influences in the right place making this a very special record. Their songs, written by Kim, co-exist with a number of perfectly chosen cover versions from the likes of The Royal Teens, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed and Howlin’ Wolf. With the help of guest members Kissy and Mura, the SWAMPS make these covers sound as their own, for pure listening pleasure. “Rockin’ Show Must Die!” and “Hate Hate Hate”, from their debut 7″, got a new treatment here, and fit perfectly along with the new songs.
“Rockin’ Mess” is the sound of NOW yet has that vintage Japanese twist we all love. It will cause you addiction and it will make you do that crazy dance where clothes usually go off. Beware!