Mecca Normal began in 1981, featuring primarily the vocals of Jean Smith and the guitar of David Lester. The duo produced a steady flow of ideas derived from a true love of expression and a unique art form that blurs of lines between live performance, literary writing, and music. Their long career and extensive canon started with an album they recorded in their practice space and released in 1983. Mecca Normal traded this first album to
K Records head Calvin Johnson for a copy of the first album by his band, Beat Happening. The swap initiated a relationship between the band and K that yielded five albums. In 1995, Mecca Normal moved to Matador Records for two albums while Smith's other new project Two Foot Flame also released two albums on the label. Mecca Normal returned in 2002, five years after their previous release, with the album The Family Swan, produced by Dave Doughman from Swearing At Motorists. This avant-garde stream-of-consciousness style of folk singing and songwriting is something that draws from the pair's allegiance to other kinds of creative output, such as Smith's work as a novelist and Lester's work as an editor and graphic designer.
The Family Swam