Swans Share New Song "A Little God in My Hands", Six-Part Art for New Album To Be Kind on Pitchfork
Listen to Swans: "A Little God in My Hands"
On May 13, Swans will release their next album, To Be Kind, the followup to 2012's epic The Seer, via Young God/Mute. It features a number of guest contributors, including St. Vincent's Annie Clark, Little Annie, Cold Specks, and Bill Rieflin. The band has now shared To Be Kind cut "A Little God in My Hands" as a free download, as well as the cover art, above.
The To Be Kind album art will include several panels all featuring different baby images—check them out below. Gira has shared a detailed account of how he first came across these paintings by conceptual artist Bob Biggs. Biggs went on to own Slash Magazine and Slash Records, which released music by the Germs, the Blasters, X, the Gun Club, Violent Femmes, and more.
I first met Bob Biggs in Los Angeles in 1976/77, through friends in the so-called punk scene there. He was a conceptual artist, but like everyone else with a brain, he was enthralled with the sudden and concussive events endemic to the rise of the beautifully scabrous punk explosion at the time. He was “outside” of it (as was I, in retrospect), but also in it, and had a sardonic view of it simultaneously. I distinctly remember him arriving at the infamous (genesis site of LA Punk) Masque Club, with a Semi Truck bearing a a fully grown, mucous-dripping cow, and leading it down a ramp into the club, where it ambled about, shat, and was then led out. I’m not certain what this was supposed to actually mean, but it was a delightful event, nevertheless.
Later, I was at the house of a friend (and a friend of Bob’s), and I noticed an unfathomable image on the wall. It was a pastel of one of the baby images we are now using as the art for the new Swans album. An uncanny visual cipher, and it stuck with me, all these years... I look at Bob’s baby images as something like the Mona Lisa—utterly inscrutable, but ACHING to reach up to the surface. Or like one of Jasper Johns’ flag paintings—I just can’t figure them out, but they keep calling me back.
I recall asking Bob in 1981 or so if I could use one of those baby images for a record, and he said, definitively, NO.
But those images have remained in the back of my head since then, always nagging. It seems they’re always calling me, calling, calling...
I’m delighted that these images, finally with Bob’s consent, can now act as innocent, but implacable sentinels for the music of Swans, after all these years. .. God Bless Bob Biggs...