Review - Bastards & Rarities 1989-1994

Artist: Swell


The drugged-up, epic acoustica of Swell has never really caught on. The San Francisco group is too rock-oriented for folkies and too swelteringly solipsistic for indie kids. But as precursors to the whole slowcore/ chamber-pop movement that crested with Low, Swell has proven to be prescient and resilient, still making excellent noteworthy records to this day. This collection brings together B-sides from the group's most prolific period, and though the earliest tracks like "Come Tomorrow" and "Get Higher" are justifiably forgotten, others like a noodly, spoken-riff "remix" of "Forget About Jesus" (titled "Forget About Dean") and "What I Saw" (which incorporates the punchy and percussive open chords that defines the band's sound) evince a band at the height of their powers. It's clear that Swell's sound will likely never find a broad audience (some recent attempts to expand that sound were greeted by a deafening silence from longtime fans), but for those who are still under the spell of great albums like 41, this set is a nice addition to the collection.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.