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  • Dangerous Minds Interview / Live Video Premere

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    NEVER BEFORE SEEN FOOTAGE OF SWANS IN CONCERT; A DM EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE In its nearly 35-year history, the utterly singular band Swans has elevated American underground music to high art, appealing to fans of goth, no-wave, industrial, experimental noise, and doom metal without ever actually expressing or even properly fitting in to any of those genres. By the late ‘80s, the band’s very name became a badge for a musical chimera of brutality and grandeur that nobody else has ever quite matched, though some black metal bands like Ulver and post-metal bands like Isis have veered admirably close. The first incarnation of the band reached its apotheosis with the utterly magnificent 1987 album Children of God (though this writer also favors the dizzyingly experimentalGreed/Holy Money era of the band), on which the band’s singer, leader, and lone constant member Michael Gira cut his trademark tales of self-abasement and profound suffering with heavy doses of religious imagery. It was fucking jarring at the time—when the band that became notorious for songs like “Money is Flesh” and “Raping a Slave” made a masterpiece double LP on the opening song of which its singer bellowed PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE GOD!, that shit turned......

  • MAGNET CLASSICS: THE MAKING OF SWANS’ “SOUNDTRACKS FOR THE BLIND”

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    The making of Swans‘ Soundtracks For The Blind By A.D. Amorosi Born from the jolting, speedy clutter that was New York City’s no-wave movement of the early, dirty ’80s, Michael Gira’s Swans were cuttingly abrasive in their sonic locution and lyrical force. Swans were no mess, though. Their roar was succinct and surging, their pace often blinding, and Gira’s attack, though brooding, was riveting and blunt—he was a sharp-shooting sniper, not a bullet-spraying machine gunner. To this rapier-fast, roaring exactitude, he added scorched-earth texts that were as much about the pointed notion of rage as the music itself pointedly raged (depravity, violence and power also fit nicely into Gira’s lyrical mien). “My interest in Swans—what attracted me, I would still argue in their currency—is intensity,” says Bill Rieflin, one of a dozen past-and-present Swans. “I was an intense young man in those days myself.” Fast and raging is a rough pace to maintain, though—even for a young man, a young woman (haunting, self-titled “buzz-cut athletic, non-drinking vegetarian” co-lead singer Jarboe) and an ever-shifting crew of young, schooled, inventive primal musicians—over the course of five-plus years; and by 1987, a bicameral sound process set in, a sonic architecture was erected. “One......

  • Rocker Zine Glowing Man Review

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    SWANS “The Glowing Man”: Prepare to be pulverizedby Chris AdamsChris Adams narrowly survives an encounter with Swans latest releaseQ: What’s the last thing that goes through a fly’s head when it strikes a windshield? A: It’s ass. This joke occurred to me after of listening… correction: surviving… The Glowing Man, the magnum opus of legendary Noo Yawk art terrorists, Swans. In this case, I was the fly, and the windshield was the album, which is apparently the band’s… err… swan song. Oh, sure, it all started innocently enough. I merely put the CD on, pressed play, stretched out on the couch, and closed my eyes, ready (or so I thought) to absorb the final word from Michael Gira (the band’s sepulchral singer) and his band of not-particularly-merry men. And then… …the final notes fade, my eyes open. My ears are still ringing. Man, it’s dark in here. What time is it? Eight O’clock? How long was that album? Two hours? Jesus Christ! Well, at least I’m alive. Almost alive anyway. This is not a normal reaction to an average evening’s worth of entertainment. But Swans aren’t your average-band. Essentially the vehicle of Gira, the band emerged in 1982 from the......

  • KCW Today Glowing Man Review

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    Swans The Glowing Man Whilst most planned musical finales tend to fizzle rather than sizzle (stand up The Final Cut and don’t take a bow! Ever!)  Swans have had a career defined by a brutal refusal to play by anybody’s rules, even their own. (perhaps especially not their own) The Glowing Man, the final album by the current line-up of the 2010-era Swans, is yet another curveball that announces the band’s dissolution not with a bang but with a triumphant drone.   From 1982 to 1997, and then again from 2010 until now, Swans’ leader Michael Gira has charted a fiercely uncompromising path. Something of a mercurial (if not actively terrifying) band leader he has re-invented Swans several times, often on what feels like little more than whim, with new iterations bearing little resemblance to previous ones. Along the way, Swans have drawn from no wave, art-rock, industrial, sludge, drone, folk, and more while flagrantly disregarding genre boundaries. This being said they have never even vaguely threatened the charts, even fans of their recent run of classic albums would probably run screaming from anything from their early period.   Gira first created Swans by raining stinging hammer blows of noise......

  • Prog Archives Glowing Man Review

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    The Glowing Man - Swans 4.63/5 A newcomer discovering the music of Swans through any of the band's recent albums must feel like Vasco Nuñez de Balboa seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time, confronted by something almost unfathomably vast, immeasurably deep, and more than a little intimidating. Their latest in a series of epic two-disc releases is also possibly the best of the bunch: a potential masterpiece waiting to be acknowledged, although the effort may require some patience. This is a group able to elevate Post Rock monotony to a very loud, very intense dramatic art. Few other acts have the same knack for transforming a single note - minor key, of course - into an ungentle 30-minute dirge: ebbing, flowing, slowly collapsing, even more slowly reforming...all of it overlaid by Michael Gira's droning poetry, likewise stretching every labored syllable into a dark and secret mantra. His lyrics read like the lucid dreams of a manic-depressive shaman. I would consider quoting a sample, except that every stanza is like a vortex sucking the unwary visitor into a bottomless abyss... The band behind Gira, including new KING CRIMSON drummer Bill Rieflin (listed as 'Hit Man and 7th Swan'), aren't just musicians:......

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