02 03 Stop Loving Everything: Nikki Sudden Goes to the Jangle Town in the Sky 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Nikki Sudden Goes to the Jangle Town in the Sky

Nikki Sudden died Sunday at age 49. If you don't know him, Bitchfork has a nice little obit here. No mention on how he died, but for one thing, his family could use an uplifting next ten years -- Sudden's brother, Epic Soundtracks, hanged himself in 1997.

Together they formed Swell Maps in the seventies, inspiring a wealth of modern outfits with their focused mess of smarty-pants art pop, notably Pavement, who would cover them from time to time.

Sudden's solo albums were hit or miss jangle-pop affairs. The late eighties ones work best. Soundtracks dropped some ok solo records, but was greatest as the blizzard-o-beats drummer for These Immortal Souls, the noir-like-a-mofo post-Crime and the City Solution & Birthday Party project of guitarist Rowland S. Howard. They're one of the few bands to cover a track ("Hey (Little Child)" ) from Alex Chilton's drunk materpiece Like Flies on Sherbert and not sound like they're joking.

My fondest Swell Maps memory: buying a vinyl copy of Jane from Occupied Europe for six bucks on the sidewalk at a small flea market in a Hoboken park in 1997. Nice spring day. The seller's friend was annoyed at the sale, which was a true indie rock apostasy.

Take note: these are circa 1978-81. Ahead of their time is an understatement.

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