Archives for posts with tag: Swans

In the vain hope of convincing some colleagues to join tonight’s Swans adventure at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, I sent the following around.

I was unsuccessful, but perhaps a reader or two will be turned on to the unmitigated brilliance…

A good intro to what Swans are doing now *might be* this one:

  •  Avatar A slightly muddy live version from 2012’s The Seer. (Note the skinny tattooed guitarist in the white t-shirt)
  • No Words / No Thoughts Originally on the 2010 album My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Stars
  • Oxygen Appears on the latest album To Be Kind.
  • The Apostate From 2012’s The Seer.
  • A bit of history: New Mind, from 1987’s Children of God. (I didn’t realize the label had given the band a music video budget. This is about two years before they covered Love Will Tear Us Apart, and just as Jarboe (the female singer/keyboardist who isn’t part of the latest incarnation) joined the band. The skinny shirtless guitarist walking behind Gira is the same guy I pointed out in the Avatar video. I think he’s the only current member of the band whose participation goes back to the 80s.)
  • For a serious sonic adventure, dig Public Castration is a Good Idea, a live document from 1986 that captures their early intensity really well. (They brought Coward (track 5) into the set list for the 2010/2011 tour. (This video is indexed – you can click on the times in the track list.)
  • Blind Love from the 1987 tour document Feel Good Now always gives me the shivers. The evolution they made in just that one year is astounding.

The Jarboe (’87-’97) period produced some really brilliant stuff, but it’s not as representative of what they’re doing now. The final album of that period, Soundtracks for the Blind had some gorgeous creepy stuff. The Beautiful Days, Her Mouth is Filled With Honey, and Blood Section are recommended, but it’s an album to experience in its entirety.

I’ve seen Swans five times, Angels of Light twice and Michael Gira solo once. My next Swans gig is in two weeks at the Paradiso and there’ll probably be a review here.

I created this playlist to reflect M Gira’s solo gig earlier this year. It leans heavily on the acoustic goodies in the catalogue. Note that Nowness (Warning: Loud autoplayed video) shares the following on the matter of the band’s sound:

Swans’ seemingly endless touring schedule since their resurrection has seen the band’s reputation grow to the point that they are considered one of the most potent rock acts on the planet: The New Yorker’s Sacha Frere-Jones has hailed them as “one of the most fearsome working live bands.”

Swans: DNA Lounge, San Francisco, 1992.
Swans: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, 1997. (I passed on the 1995 show because I didn’t really like The Great Annihilator. My loss.
Angels of Light: Great American Music Hall, 1999
Angels of Light: Palac Akropolis, Prague, 2005
Swans: Palac Akropolis, Prague, 2010 (I’d already moved to the Netherlands, but there were no NL tour dates announced when the Prague show went on sale. Worth the price of the flight, but Swans always are.)
Swans: I’ll Be Your Mirror, Alexandra Palace London, 2011.
Swans: Patronaat, Haarlem, 2012. My friends Andre, Mike, and Lucie joined for this one. I’m pretty sure The Seer went on for about 45 minutes. This wouldn’t have been uncommon. Lucie and I stepped up to the bar about midway through. After the show, the other three referred to it as “the song that wouldn’t end” which amused me. I think I was the only one prepared for that.
Michael Gira: MC Theatre, Amsterdam, 2014. Brilliant solo acoustic outing.

Looked up the set lists for the current tour – Already new songs, including this goodie with which they’re opening.