Author Topic: That band Swans, then  (Read 2559 times)

alan nagsworth

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That band Swans, then
« on: July 09, 2019, 09:42:58 PM »
Good, aren't they?

I've only listened to To Be Kind and some of The Seer but looks like I hit the ground running because this special breed of chugging droning menacing unholy bastard music is something I absolutely adore and I'm shocked I've never properly got around to this band before now. There's elements of so many bands I love - most of whom were almost certainly inspired by Gira and co. - like Neurosis, ISIS, Shellac, Melvins, Mike Patton, Earth... argh, YES. I love it.

I did start giving Filth a listen but I don't think I was in the right mood. Interested to dig into their stuff though and doubtless I'll find a lot to enjoy in that earlier no-wave noise stuff. But for now, honestly, the shit I'm listening to right now, Mother of The World, this shit's fucking GREAT.

who likes Swans then let's go, unless you're that fucker who bombarded me with incoherent Northern Irish chat about them when I'd just woken up at a New Year's Eve house party a few years ago. If you're him, fuck off

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2019, 09:56:41 PM »
I think they're very good. Their take on industrial was great inasmuch as I felt that's as far as it can go with traditional instruments. But I even like some of the gothier and lighter stuff of their 90s run. 'Love Will Save You' is such a tune. And I like Angels of Light. The return of the group was diminishing returns for me, but their music comes from a sincere place and tries to capture something real and that's why they have emerged from obscurity and left behind the novelty of ooh that band who pound metal and lock people in darkness.

That said, and I don't know if this is coloured by the whole Larkin Grimm stuff, I haven't given them a proper listen to in a while. Some styles of music cycle in and out of my life, it's probably that, I haven't listened to any power electronics or noise in ages.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2019, 10:05:15 PM »
The Glowing Man is my favourite song of theirs. 28 minutes long but it always feels much shorter. I think they're good at making  tunes that sound scary and intimidating at first but are really catchy and accessible under the surface. Saw them live a couple of years ago. Can't remember anything about it really.

chveik

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2019, 10:36:12 PM »
best band in the world

alan nagsworth

  • feel it in the belly like a yellow worm with teeth
Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2019, 10:46:26 PM »
28 minutes long but it always feels much shorter. I think they're good at making  tunes that sound scary and intimidating at first but are really catchy and accessible under the surface.

Yeah, their songs are so good I really never want them to end. Just sat here listening to the 34min title track off The Seer drinking wine and smoking a fag, absolutely lost in it. Brilliant.

Incidentally I saw Gnod play over the weekend - punishingly loud, huge fucking riffs you could let wash over you and annihilate you forever, the Swans/Melvins influence is very strong. Highly recommend seeing them if youse ever get the chance.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2019, 11:56:56 PM »
The Seer is amazing. Swans are great.

Egyptian Feast

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2019, 12:18:09 AM »
I OD'd a tad on them a couple of years back, but I've been hearing a lot of their stuff come up on shuffle recently and being blown away again. You can't really go wrong with any of it. I have to be in a particularly tar black frame of mind to listen to the first few albums and EPs, but at the right time, they're a perfect wallow.

Some of the Jarboe era stuff is pretty underrated. I really like The Burning World, which Gira himself and many others would regard as their nadir (their actual nadir was the Love Will Tear Us Apart cover from around that time), and he's not fond of the albums following that, all of which are excellent. They were probably right to call it quits when they did if Gira wasn't feeling it, but I don't think he was right to dismiss a lot of their late 80s and early 90s stuff as Various Failures (great comp though).

The last three albums are of course fantastic and possibly their best work. My ears are still ringing from seeing them on the tour between To Be Kind and Glowing Man.

purlieu

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2019, 01:00:34 AM »
Soundtracks for the Blind is always my go-to. A wonderful tapestry of various sounds and textures and approaches that all works brilliantly together.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2019, 01:27:43 AM »
Seen them twice. Once in Supersonic where they were literally so loud they blew the electrics of the entire place and managed to create an effect where it looked like the roof was collapsing (it was a long-disused room and the dust and crap accumulated in the rafters became dislodged and started raining down on us). Fucking incredible to be fair.

Then saw then a couple of years back where they pretty much played the latest album in long 30min jams and was insanely good. Felt a bit weird after all of the odd rape stuff (really wasn't sure whether I wanted to give him my money and had already bought a ticket) but they are undeniably great.

I remember just browsing their set up in Birmingham and thinking there is no-way they could be THAT loud with what was quite a basic band set up. Then Thor came out and did his percussion and gong stuff and it just got louder and louder and LOUDER. I've never seen MBV live so can't compare but SWANS have this ability where unlike, say loud dance music, they seem to fill the room with sound; every frequency band just packed full of something going on and it creates quite the experience. Drank fuck loads of rum afterwards and the still-pissed/hungover/deaf the next morning wandering around Brum was a hallucinatory experience quite unlike anything else I have felt outside of taking actual hallucinogens.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2019, 05:31:13 AM »
They're incredible, and perhaps even better live - at least in this latest iteration.  From what I understand, they were essentially writing each album on stage, and I echo what other people have said - it really is about as close to being on drugs as you can be without ingesting anything.  It's not often that you feel like you're being physically moved around by sounds.

Apparently they're shifting approaches for the new album, and I'm interested to see how that goes - if a little apprehensive, given just how powerful this last version was.  I saw one of Michael Gira's solo performances last year where he almost exclusively played new Swans material acoustically.  Makes me wonder if they might be going back into an Angels Of Light type of sound, but you never know.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2019, 09:57:59 AM »
What happened to Michael Gira being #cancelled I wonder

Dirty Boy

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2019, 11:06:44 AM »
heh i was wondering what you were going to make of them, given your jonesing for loud, heavy and repetitive music. Almost seems like your ideal band.

The Seer might be my favourite along with Soundtracks For The Blind, but lately i've really got into White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity (pretentious, moi?) which seems to be rather underrated (even by Gira). It's less monolithically heavy than a lot of their stuff, but it's got some remarkable songs on it and you can hear how much of an influence that era had on so many of the good post-rock bands.

The early years (Cop etc) is probably going to take longer to digest so i'd maybe save those for later. Good though it is, Filth sounds like a fairly accessible Big Black-ish noise rock record compared to what they did on the next few.

You should be happy though nagser, loads of their stuff is great and you've got it all to listen to.


Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2019, 01:56:38 AM »
What happened to Michael Gira being #cancelled I wonder

It sort of went nowhere.  A fair amount of contradictory evidence/testimony came about from people who knew both parties, including from people Grimm had claimed were on her side, and then I'd imagine lawyers got involved and everything was deleted from both parties and that was the end of it.  Certainly stained his reputation a bit, though.

alan nagsworth

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2019, 12:02:40 PM »
Soundtracks for the Blind is always my go-to. A wonderful tapestry of various sounds and textures and approaches that all works brilliantly together.

Giving this a listen now, it’s excellent and I’m only about six tracks in. “Helpless Child” is absolutely brilliant.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2019, 12:09:01 PM »
not to send you down alleys but I like Body to Body, Job to Job - which is a compilation of outtakes, live stuff, and loops from the early days but holds together like a particularly crushing and bleak album - and the Children of God/World of Skin double CD, which pairs a good transitional Swans album with a sort of Best Of the Skin sideproject he had with Jarboe, which sounds a lot like what Swans would become. I used to play the latter whilst dicking around on Dave Mirra BMX on the PS1 for a, uhh, contrasting experience.

Dirty Boy

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2019, 01:14:13 PM »
Giving this a listen now, it’s excellent and I’m only about six tracks in. “Helpless Child” is absolutely brilliant.
Wait until you get to 'The Sound', it's just.. *faints*

alan nagsworth

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2019, 02:57:55 PM »
Wait until you get to 'The Sound', it's just.. *faints*

Listening to this album on buses and trains between appointments at work. Just played that song. Absolutely incredible. I was fucking MOVED.

Cheers for the other reccs dudes, genuinely really excited to get proper stuck into this stuff.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2019, 04:02:04 PM »
They pong!

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2019, 04:05:32 PM »
I like the later albums but Children Of God deserves being singled out as a cracker. Listening to it now in fact.

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2019, 04:13:42 PM »
They have remained consistent and I think have managed to sustain a quality career better than any other artist. They have never relied on nostalgia at all. The chances of them doing stuff from Filth is so unlikely because Gira just doesn't work like that. And it should be said that live they are something else entirely. No going through the motions - it seems that Gira goes through the ringer every time.

I listen to Filth a lot - in fact this week I have had it on repeat. It is so crushing - all about power and sex and humilation like Mike Leigh's Naked adapted into an album.

As mentioned, Body to Body is a great mix of stuff that hangs together brilliantly - the loops are particularly wonderful.

I had a back and forth with Gira at the time that #cancelled stuff came out. He appeared to be both extremely angered, but also quite relaxed because the credibility of the accusations were well chinny.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2019, 05:59:50 PM »
echo all the thoughts above, wanted to mention the live album Swans Are Dead which is also just incredible

Dirty Boy

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2019, 09:57:20 AM »
They have remained consistent and I think have managed to sustain a quality career better than any other artist. They have never relied on nostalgia at all. The chances of them doing stuff from Filth is so unlikely because Gira just doesn't work like that. And it should be said that live they are something else entirely. No going through the motions - it seems that Gira goes through the ringer every time.
This is of course mostly true, but it appears that they were doing some Cop era tunes up until the tour for The Seer (which i never saw them on unfortunately). Someone posted this in the heaviest riffs thread and i thought it deserved bringing up again, it's what sent me back to the early stuff in the first place.

Cuntbeaks

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2019, 08:16:24 PM »
Didn't know that Panasonic supported them in the 90's. Two peas from the same pod.

Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2019, 08:23:48 PM »
This is of course mostly true, but it appears that they were doing some Cop era tunes up until the tour for The Seer (which i never saw them on unfortunately). Someone posted this in the heaviest riffs thread and i thought it deserved bringing up again, it's what sent me back to the early stuff in the first place.

Saw them play Your Property and I Crawled on the My Father... tour. Fitted in fairly seamlessly with the rest of the set.

Great White Ape

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2019, 12:19:10 AM »
For Swans-adjacent releases, be sure to check out Jarboe's Sacrificial Cake and her collaboration with Neurosis, Neurosis & Jarboe.

Whatever I could say about them has already been mentioned. You've got so much ahead to look forward to.

Dirty Boy

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2019, 10:37:55 AM »
You'll have to catch up nags, new one on the way...

Quote from: Gira
Just wanted to let you know that the new Swans album leaving meaning. is now available for pre-order. You can get a signed copy via the Young God Records Webstore. It will be officially released October 25. You can listen to a song from the album called "It's Coming It's Real" on Swans YouTube channel. It's just one facet of an album that is replete with a wide variety of moods, dynamics and atmospheres. This particular song features the choral vocals of Anna and Maria von Hausswolff. The album includes contributions from recent and former Swans, members of Angels of Light, as well as Special Guest Artists Ben Frost, The Necks, Baby Dee, a Hawk and a Hacksaw and Anna and Maria von Hausswolff. This album is the first installment from the newly reconfigured Swans, which will henceforth draw from a wide pool of talented contributors, varying from record to record. I hope you enjoy the music!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZVZo30M8Lc

alan nagsworth

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2019, 12:17:14 PM »
Aye, saw the news this morning! Very excited - Anna Von Hausswolf is a powerhouse so really looking forward to hearing what she and the other great list of artists bring into the fray.

a duncandisorderly

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2019, 01:00:33 PM »
yes, dead good.

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Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2019, 01:12:26 PM »
I had a back and forth with Gira at the time that #cancelled stuff came out. He appeared to be both extremely angered, but also quite relaxed because the credibility of the accusations were well chinny.
Should anyone be desperate to relive those glory days, the original thread is here.

I've not listened to much of them since then, but then again I've not listened to much of anything. My mate was at the recording of "Public Castration Is A Good Idea", and their two performances I've seen similarly left me with my ears ringing for days afterwards. I thought the post-2010 albums were pretty decent, though, at least as good as their original era stuff.

chveik

  • Des mots des mots autour de ma jeunesse morte.
Re: That band Swans, then
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2019, 04:13:14 PM »
bit disappointed by this one. I hope it will grow on me.