Introducing: SwimmingA bit of background I feel compelled to tell you before diving into this: Swimming demonstrate perfectly, to me, the futility of a music PR trying to get anyone but a full-time, desk-bound professional music hack to listen to and write about a band, and this blog will probably get me blacklisted, but fuck it.

Perhaps it’s just me, but as a for-the-love-of-it and, frankly, fairweather (especially during festival season) reviewer, I don’t want anyone who is paid to tell me how good a band is telling me how good a band is. We love the pure chance of the discovery, and where’s the romance in that? ‘Oh yeah, this is one of my favourite bands, I first heard them when their promo landed on my doormat and there was a press release telling me they were great, so I put the CD on and I liked it’. Great story for the grandkids there. That isn’t how real people fall in love with music; that is a mail order bride, and I can’t muster that kind of enthusiasm for so sterile a process.

Which brings me to Swimming. It wasn’t a press release or an email or a promo that first brought them to my attention, despite their first release being in 2005, but a trawl through zine sites looking for unsigned recommendations from Nottingham for background music, and the forums spoke loud and clear, as did bands who had played with them. One listen to a pre-album mix of Team Jetstream and I was in love – it was so iridescent and joyful; an excited stuttering, gradually swelling to an affirmation that ‘there is love, love, love, where we are’. I came for backing music, and left with a new mantra.

So when full album Ecstatics International was released this year – complete with tour – I had to see whether they could make this noise live or whether I was about to be horribly let down, fully expecting to discover that clever production has a lot to answer for.

Not so. From the opening chimes of Neutron Wireless Crystal, it was all there, just as beautiful. Layer upon layer of icy, sparkling synth sounds, peaceful, but danceable – a big, glittering zen bomb exploding around the room like a deeply 80s Mercury Rev circling MGMT.

There’s a heavy reliance on samples, of course, but this is still a five-piece band, the drums are live, and those otherwordly warbles are all real.

The fiercely positive Sun In The Island is one of their most immediate tunes, and packs a heavy punch where the others sparkle more ambiguously and maybe take a little more time, but it’s worth it.

Swimming have a hometown gig at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham on 2nd December, entry is free and everyone has to wear headphones. More info.

Your Swimming starter pack (armbands included):

Sun In The Island (Single Version)Sun In The Island

Team Jetstream (Preflight Mix) Team Jetstream

Neutron Wireless Crystal Neutron Wireless Crystal

Previous articlePaul Holt / Palookas – reissued and revitalised
Next articleMadchester’s great lost club – Isadoras
Tweet me up: @katewellham


  1. Competitive swimming became popular in the nineteenth century. The goal of competitive swimming is to constantly improve upon one’s time(s), or to beat the competitors in any given event. However, some professional swimmers who do not hold a national or world ranking are considered the best in regard to their technical skills. Typically, an athlete goes through a cycle of training in which the body is overloaded with work in the beginning and middle segments of the cycle, and then the workload is decreased in the final stage as the swimmer approaches the competition in which he or she is to compete in. This final stage is often referred to as “shave and taper”;*

    Very latest article provided by our web portal

  2. Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

  3. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  4. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here