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  • Swans | The Great Annihilator | Review

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    CMJ | Cheryl BotchickLiltingly ethereal and at the same time gloomy and sorrowful.Though the Swans have been on a three-year hiatus, 1995 marks the thirteenth year of their existence, an eternity in terms of alternative bands, most of which quickly fall victim to one trend or another. Perhaps it was the fact that when they emerged in a world of New Wave and jangly guitar groups in the early '80s. Their bludgeoning rock of nearly unprecedented volume was already too alien to be part of the rise and fall of any hip sound. Through 11 albums, numerous singles and EPs and more than a few side projects and solo albums, the Swans have modified their work just enough to stay one step ahead of fans and curiosity-seekers alike. The Great Annihilator is a near 70-minute epic collection of the Swans' more recent work, and with moments that are liltingly ethereal and at the same time gloomy and sorrowful, and beats that are as sinister as they are dancey, it stands as the flipside to the Swans' dark coin. M. Gira's haunting lyrics are as dire as ever when delivered by his foreboding and decadent voice. "She Lives!" tells a perverse......

  • Swans | The Great Annihilator | Review

    ()

    CMJ | Cheryl BotchickLiltingly ethereal and at the same time gloomy and sorrowful.Though the Swans have been on a three-year hiatus, 1995 marks the thirteenth year of their existence, an eternity in terms of alternative bands, most of which quickly fall victim to one trend or another. Perhaps it was the fact that when they emerged in a world of New Wave and jangly guitar groups in the early '80s. Their bludgeoning rock of nearly unprecedented volume was already too alien to be part of the rise and fall of any hip sound. Through 11 albums, numerous singles and EPs and more than a few side projects and solo albums, the Swans have modified their work just enough to stay one step ahead of fans and curiosity-seekers alike. The Great Annihilator is a near 70-minute epic collection of the Swans' more recent work, and with moments that are liltingly ethereal and at the same time gloomy and sorrowful, and beats that are as sinister as they are dancey, it stands as the flipside to the Swans' dark coin. M. Gira's haunting lyrics are as dire as ever when delivered by his foreboding and decadent voice. "She Lives!" tells a perverse......

  • Lisa Germano

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    Rolling Stone | Paul Evans Unforgettable 1994Geek the Girl Midway through Geek the Girl, as strings throb above a squawking police emergency call, Lisa intones a mantra of fear: “Baseball bat beside the bed.”  The song, “…A Psychopath,” is aural theater that deals body blows; it’s harrowingly real, as is this entire beautiful, wrenching album.  John Mellencamp’s violinist, Germano has accomplished fine music before: On the Way Down From the Moon Palace and Happiness were lovely and subtly disturbing.  But with Geek she joins such poets of pain as Kurt Cobain and Polly Harvey in chronicling indelibly, with raw honesty, life in a culture of abuse.  “Cancer of Everything,” “…Of Love and Colors” and “Trouble” build on faraway piano, simple guitar and whispering to voice a victim’s testimony, rendered in art that seizes the heart. Unforgettable....

  • Lisa Germano | Review

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    Spin Magazine | Lorraine Ali raw, discordant drones, and music-box prettiness 1993Happiness Listening to Lisa Germano’s smart and subtle lyrics on Happiness, it’s hard to imagine that this 29-year-old violinist once backed Bob Seger as he wheezed lines like “love to watch her strut.”  The Indiana native, whose talent also survived tours and albums with John Mellencamp and Billy Joel, must have hid her complexities deep inside-that’s where Happiness comes from.          Germano’s second album- and major-label debut- possesses no squashy ditties about small towns or uptowns.  Instead, it’s a mocking look at her own damaged idealism and doom-laden but humorous outlook on life.  The music, which includes Middle Eastern, Celtic, and country influences in raw, discordant drones and music-box prettiness, takes a backseat to her sarcastic and often self-effacing lyrics.  Germano flops down unassuming vocals and sing-to-yourself melodies as if she never expected anyone would listen to her in the first place.In the ironically pegged title track, Germano sings, “Give it up, try again/Ain’t life fun?,” then deadpans, “C’mon everybody, sing”  Even depressing and dark waves of self-doubt become funny as Germano laughs at her own insecurities. In “Bad Attitude,” she sleepily sings, “You wish you were pretty but you’re not/Ha,......

  • Lisa Germano | Review

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    Option | Robert Gordon Germano sounds like a new visionary 1991On the Way Down From the Moon PalaceIn these times of formulaic alternative rock, this is real alternative. Rock sensibilities are applied to songs featuring violin and other stringed instruments, bowed and picked, where the guitar is usually spotlighted. There are no hooks to speak of, and many of the songs are instrumentals. Germano does some very interesting pairings of the strings with rock drums, such as on “Screaming Angels Dancing in Your Garden,” which seems also to have some backward tape effects. Overall, Moon Palace is a mood piece, not somber at all, but pensive in a way that suggests activity over inactivity.  “Dig My Own Grace” is a restrained rocker, Germano's vocals more intense here than elsewhere. Each song flows into, or contrasts nicely with, the next, making the album whole. This could be the long-intended side project of a frustrated rock member (indeed, Germano has fiddled with such mainstream rock populists as John cougar Mellencamp), or she may simply be taking advantage of an opportunity to spread her wings. In any case, Germano sounds like a new visionary. (Major Bill, Box 30087, Indianapolis, IN 46230)...

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