• 'To Be Kind' Review | 5 Stars

    () - SWANS

    Who could have seen this coming? Thirty two years since they first emerged as the enfants terribles of the New York music scene, Swans have just delivered the year's most uncompromising, thundering and blindingly brilliant album so far. Nothing even comes close to this; To Be Kind is two hours of music of gut-wrenching intensity, a series of never-ending peaks that take the rudiments of rock music and summons up something that is strikingly original. With To Be Kind, Michael Gira and his cohorts have delivered an album that surpasses their critically acclaimed 2012 release The Seer in all respects. The days when listening to a Swans record was something of a masochistic experience, a brutal form of aural punishment are long gone; To Be Kind is arguably their most accessible album while still challenging and demanding more from the listener than any other rock band would dare to. It's a record that requires patience - two hours of music spread over just ten tracks with every minute resonating with a clarity of purpose and a vibrancy beyond the capabilities of most contemporary rock acts. Michael Gira turned sixty this year; it is incredible to think that he is still making albums as edgy......

  • Live in Limbo Podcast with Michael Gira

    () - Michael Gira, SWANS

    Michael Gira is the founding member of Swans. After three decades of challenging music of which remains entirely humanistic in nature. In 2010, Swans returned to the music scene and created three albums, each earning more acclaim than the last. With their 2014 release “To Be Kind” they continue on this track with high praise from the likes of NME, Spin and Pitchfork. The Needle Drop’s Anthony Fantano gave “To Be Kind” a perfect rating, while LiL gave it a 9.7/10 On knowing when a track is right. Hint, it’s never right! Why “To Be Kind” clicks with today’s generation and society Gira listened to the first Jimmy Hendrix album on acid Performing at NXNE with St. Vincent and collaborating with her Gira highly recommends listening to Savages Follow link to find podcast recording:

  • Swans Live at Cockpit | Leeds Music Scene

    () - SWANS

    It starts with the crashing of symbols before being joined by squealing pedal steel and distorted bass so loud you can feel your eyelids vibrating before finally gargantuan waves of doom-laden guitar join the fray. Things continue in this vein for the next ten minutes and in that time there is hardly a sound you would describe as music produced by the five faintly terrifying musicians (actually the bassist looks like your favourite hipster English teacher, which makes you wonder how he got mixed up in all this craziness) stalking the stage and yet there is something beguiling and hypnotic in the belligerence that is emanating from the stage.This then is the Swans live experience and it is all conducted by one Michael Gira, the uncompromising leader of the band for the past 35 years. For the most part his leadership consists mainly of instructing the band to play louder, which they do without question or hesitation no matter what their audiologists might have advised. A notoriously forbidding and prickly personality the singer has, before the first song has come to its shuddering conclusion, barked incomprehensible messages into the microphone, danced like someone enduring a voodoo exorcism and aimed a kick and......

  • Live Review: Swans at The Cockpit, Leeds | Yorkshire Evening Post

    () - SWANS

    About an hour into tonight’s epic, positively punishing set, Swans drummer Phil Puleo launches into a solo. A spot of nimble wrist-work or technical showing-off, perhaps? Not quite: Puleo simply hammers a section of his kit with a vicious fury that suggests there’s serious beef between the musician and his instrument. This snapshot says a lot about Swans. The band built a reputation as the most confrontational band in existence during their late 80s/early to mid-90s peak. The New York outfit haven’t mellowed one bit since their recent reunion, which (very much against the unwritten rules of bands getting back together) has resulted in some of their very finest work, such as 2012’s monumental The Seer and brand new To Be Kind, the stretched-out, slowly igniting contents of which dominate the nostalgia-dodging setlist. Boss Swan Michael Gira isn’t quite as scary these days as his mean reputation from past decades suggests (there’s even a smile to the brave fans in the front). He’s a formidable presence nonetheless, gesticulating up and down like a particularly un-cute duckling trying to learn how to fly, staring out the capacity crowd, beating the living daylights out of his guitar or issuing what appear to be stern directives......

  • Swans Live Review @ Trinity, Bristol | 365 Bristol

    () - SWANS

    As ever, one of many reasons to experience Swans live is M Gira himself. He progressed from gentle swaying to prowling about the stage to jumping, kicking and flailing his limbs around like a narcotic octopus. SWANS AT TRINITY IN BRISTOL Wednesday 28th May brought American experimental rock band, Swans, to Bristol in a characteristic furore of powerful noise. Support for the night came in the form of multidisciplinary Norwegian artist Jenny Hval. The stage set up was compromised of three musicians - a percussionist, a guitarist and Jenny herself on keys and vocals – this strange and ethereal band really found its niche audience, with most of the crowd exchanging appreciative nods between songs. Their sound was very interesting, a throbbing, pulsing rhythm with dainty yet powerful female vocals skating across the surface. Everything was endearing from the whispered ‘thankyou’s to the spontaneous mid-note hand tremors, definitely worth checking out for any fans of Swans or Grimes. The first five minutes of Swans’ set seemed to consist of purely feedback and dull noise, amped up to a dangerous level, the bass speakers looking frankly unstable as the vibrations bounced several pint glasses off the stage and onto the floor.......