• LEO Weekly Q&A with Michael Gira


    No expectations: A Q&A with Michael Gira of Swans JULY 20, 2016 BY JOHN KING Michael Gira — musician, author and owner of the record label Young God Records — has released 30 albums under various projects including Angels of Light and Swans, the latter he founded in 1982. After a 15-year-break, Gira reformed Swans in 2009 and has since released four albums to critical acclaim. The latest album, The Glowing Man, was released June 17. We recently caught up with Gira to talk about the new record, and how his music has progressed. LEO: Some may find it peculiar that, at the time of the newest release, you stated that this would be the last album and tour of this lineup. What prompted this, or maybe it was by design to step down on a high note?Michael Gira: Certainly I am exhausted, as is everyone else in the group — but it has a lot to do with the fact that we have been in close quarters for well over 200 days a year for the last seven years, considering that we started working together in 2009. Though there is certainly a lot of life left in this configuration, which we’ll......

  • The Big Takeover Review of Swans @ Royale, Boston 7/7/2016


    Swans with Okkyung Lee @ Royale, Boston - Thursday, July 7, 2016 17 July 2016 by Tim Bugbee Brutal. Hellaciously loud. Single-minded. Monolithic. I’m sure all these and more adjectives have been used to describe the sonic art that Michael Gira and his rotating ensemble known as Swans have created for decades. Active since the earliest days of noise rock, Gira has developed one of the more uncompromising canons since the electric guitar was invented. He’s moved on from the sludgy death march material of his early days, even flirting with delicate beauty for a while via The Burning World, the short-lived stint on a major label) before retreating back to full control for a few years until imploding the band in the late ’90s. 2010 saw the ashes rekindled to life, when Gira would assemble the current lineup and rule the earth with an iron first via four records. Guitarist Norman Westberg is the longest tenured member of the band, but both pedal steel guitarist Christoph Hahn and drummer Phil Puleo were involved in the pre-hiatus Swans, with bassist Chris Pravdica and multi-instrumentalist Thor Harris filling out the ensemble. Before the latest record, The Glowing Man, was release, Gira......

  • Creative Loafing Jarboe Interview / Atlanta Show Preview


    Former Swans collaborator Jarboe reflects on Michael Gira’s influence, Atlanta’s place in the group’s history, and staying positive Jarboe joins Swans tonight (Fri., July 22) at Terminal West. CHAD RADFORD JULY 22, 2016 Swans are on the road, playing songs from the group's latest album, The Glowing Man. It's the last stand for the current incarnation of the group. On July 21, word spread that former Swans collaborator and longtime Atlanta resident Jarboe is making an appearance with the group tonight (Fri., July 22), at Terminal West, singing the World of Skin's "Blood On Your Hands." Before the show, Jarboe took a few minutes to talk about her time working with frontman Michael Gira, Atlanta's place in the group's history, and staying focused on positive energy in the age of the internet. Aside from singing on “A Piece Of The Sky” from Swans 2012 album, The Seer, you haven’t been active with the group for nearly two decades. I was at the 2011 show at Variety Playhouse. That’s the only new Swans show that I’ve personally seen. Michael asked me to sing when they came back in 2012, but I was out on my own tour. So it's great that I'm......

  • Blurt Glowing Man Review


    SWANS – The Glowing ManAlbum: The Glowing ManArtist: SwansLabel: Young God Release Date: June 17, 2016 The Upshot: Two-disc culmination of the direction the band has taken since its reactivation seven years ago, stripping Michael Gira’s lyric themes to the core amid colossal walls of sound. BY MICHAEL TOLAND If you’re gonna announce that your latest album is the last by this particular iteration of your band, you better have something special on your hands. Fortunately, Michael Gira does with The Glowing Man, the fourteenth album by his band Swans and, as advertised, the final project by this version. (The intention is to have a rotating cast of players after this.) The culmination of the direction the band has taken since its reactivation seven years ago, The Glowing Man brings it all home. The first two songs on disk one serve as opposite sides of the same coin – “Cloud of Forgetting” and “Cloud of Unknowing” push the band even further into the realms of the orchestral, as the pounding percussion, jagged guitars and Gira’s raw baritone combine into a wall of sound that’s damn near symphonic. The arrangements ebb and flow from colossal to calm without ever descending into......

  • Nakid Magazine NY Show Review


    SWANS: ‘THE AGONY OF MICHAEL GIRA’ LIVE IN NYCText + photography by: A.F. CORTES Every Swans show seems like a masochistic ordeal of sonic survival. Michael Gira and company are on a mission to annihilate the audiences’ ears with a constant repetition of monotonous riffs at the decibels of a volcano’s explosion. But, as in any dysfunctional relationship, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   In this iteration the band feels heavier in layered melodies and lighter in percussion. The first noticeable element was the absence of the great shirtless-gladiator-looking percussionist Thor Harris. Some audience members dared to ask about him, but as usual, Michael Gira’s stage persona only cares about the present and never dwells in the past, yet he answered starting the next song with an unfazed look. The sound is subtly different; more ambient noises are in the background, yet the intensity of every Swans show is intact. The rest of the band were the usual musicians, with the exception of a keyboard player replacing Thor’s corner on stage; the power of the drummer Phil Puleo, the stoic attitude of Norman Westerberg on guitar, the energy of Christopher Pravdica on bass, the intensity of Christoph......