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If this year’s Coachella had an off day, it was Saturday. Of the festival’s three headliners, Saturday night top draw Jack White is probably the least exciting, though he’s still an electric presence with a deep catalog. The festival’s organizers seemed to sense this, booking White to play second-to-last on the big stage and throwing… More »

Music is a messy thing. There’s too much of it, too many genres, too many ideas, for anyone to make sense out of all of it — or even to hear all of it. The idea of imposing a narrative on 365 days of music, of making sense of a whole year, is a fool’… More »

For Swans leader Michael Gira the act of making music is the act of perpetual reinvention. After The Seer, Gira and his band and several new collaborators return with the two-hour record To Be Kind. The project was partially funded through a crowdfunding venture: Supporters received everything from signed records and posters to — for… More »

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Swans Albums From Worst To Best

It started in the sewer. Ugliness embodied. Noise like you’d never heard. The bellowing drawl of an unhinged slave driver, spitting abuse and mantras of degradation.

“Nobody beats you like a cop, with his club.”

“Someone weaker than you should rape you.”

Lyrics sailed past pitch-black into some deeper,… More »

By: Aaron Lariviere / November 9, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Swans – “The Apostate” Live Video

Swans’ behemoth double-LP The Seer is a pretty safe bet to be included in most year-end top 10s, and the album hits its apex at its conclusion: the 23-minute “The Apostate.” Generally speaking, 23 minutes is about the length of a sitcom (sans commercials), not a single, so it’s appropriate that the band edited the… More »

By: Michael Nelson / October 19, 2012 - 2:28 pm

The 5 Best Videos Of The Week

The music-video universe took a bit of a week off this week; Labor Day, I guess, will do that. But there was still plenty of good stuff out this week; the relative scarcity just meant that I didn’t have to cut anything deeply awesome to put this list together. Check out this week’s list below. More »

By: Tom Breihan / September 7, 2012 - 10:23 am

Swans – “No Words/No Thoughts” Video

If Swans’ two-hour monolithic masterpiece The Seer isn’t quite huge enough for you, the deluxe edition of the album comes with a DVD that includes footage of the band’s absolutely monstrous live show. And below, we’ve got video of them playing a building, droning, eventually bloodthirsty version of “No Words/No Thoughts,” an instrumental from their… More »

By: Tom Breihan / September 6, 2012 - 1:40 pm

Stereogum Monthly Mix: August 2012

Summer is ending! And you have some work to do. Did you experience that season-defining moment? That rooftop conversation, that carefree weekend of intense interpersonal bonding? Did you find the person who’ll keep you warm all winter? If you’ve answered negatively to even one of these, you have some work to do. And so we… More »

By: Amrit Singh / August 29, 2012 - 10:31 am

Album Of The Week: Swans The Seer

As a music dork, two of the most transcendent, quasi-religious experiences you can have are going to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Neurosis live. And after I saw Neurosis a few years ago, something occurred to me: The two shows are pretty much negative mirror images of each other. Both bands are full of… More »

By: Tom Breihan / August 28, 2012 - 3:01 pm

Stream Swans The Seer

For obvious reasons, Animal Collective is getting a lot of attention this morning, but Centipede Hz is not the only important new album streaming online in full today. Allow me to direct your attention to The Seer, the massive and bloody-minded new double LP from the reconstituted NY postpunk leviathans Swans. This is an intense,… More »

By: Tom Breihan / August 20, 2012 - 9:35 am

Swans – “Mother Of The World”

Later this month, reconstituted violent-postpunk boundary-smashers Swans will release The Seer, their absolute monster of a double album. We’ve already heard a 10-minute edit of their 23-minute album opener “The Apostate,” which isn’t even the longest song on the album. And now, NPR has a stream of the elemental 10-minute clanger “Mother Of The World.”… More »

By: Tom Breihan / August 15, 2012 - 9:41 am

Swans – “The Apostate”

The Seer, the new album from reconstituted NY postpunk drone-gods Swans, is a masterpiece of insane heaviness: 10 songs spread out over two hours, full of yelps and screeches and tribal thuds and cathartic builds and general evil. Closing track “The Apostate” is 23 minutes of clanging and banging, and the heaviest headfuck you will… More »

By: Tom Breihan / July 25, 2012 - 3:24 pm

Swans The Seer Details

New York primal-noise pioneers Swans might not have the same lineup as they did when they were making audience members puke with how loud they were, but Michael Gira’s reconstituted band of warriors has been making some seriously mythic sounds since getting back together a couple of years ago; their set at last year’s I’ll… More »

By: Tom Breihan / May 29, 2012 - 4:43 pm

ATP NJ 2011 Saturday: Portishead Pack Asbury Park Convention Hall

Jeff Mangum has justifiably been getting the lion’s share of the attention surrounding the I’ll Be Your Mirror festival; when a reclusive indie god comes out of hiding, it’s a big deal. But the weekend also marked a long-awaited return for the festival’s curators and headliners. Last night, Portishead stepped onstage in the Convention Hall… More »

By: Stereogum / October 2, 2011 - 2:17 pm

Swans Recording New Album, Preparing Live Record

You rarely see older bands come back with such force, but the reactivated Swans’ My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky was a total triumph. (As were the live shows that supported it.) They recorded one of the best albums of 2010, so makes sense then they’d keep it going: Michael… More »

By: brandon / July 15, 2011 - 12:36 pm

Swans Announce Additional 2011 Tour Dates

As we’ve heard from places like The New Yorker, NYTimes, and everywhere in between, the reactivated Swans are a powerhouse and a near religious live force. I spoke about this firsthand when recapping the 10/8 Brooklyn Masonic Temple show Haunting The Chapel co-organized. Not just that, the new album My Father Will Guide Me UpMore »

By: brandon / October 29, 2010 - 5:23 pm

Swans, Baby Dee, Ben Frost @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Brooklyn 10/08/10

Friday night’s Brooklyn Masonic Temple date was Swans’s first hometown show in 14 years. Haunting The Chapel organized it with the Blackened Music Series and ISSUE Project Room (it was the second show I’ve put together with Gira). The reactivated Swans are on tour with Baby Dee. We added Australian-born noisemaker Ben Frost to Friday’… More »

By: brandon / October 11, 2010 - 2:11 pm

Swans – “Eden Prison” (Stereogum Premiere)

Swans’ My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky finds Michael Gira seamlessly shifting from Angels Of Light mode to the heavier, noisier realm of his earlier incarnation(s), adding newfound details, nuances, and unexpected elements in the process. This isn’t a surprise: When I spoke with Gira about it last January he… More »

By: brandon / July 30, 2010 - 9:55 am

Swans My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky Album Info

As previously reported, Michael Gira has “re-activated” Swans for their first U.S. shows in more than a decade. (Full disclosure: I’m helping put on one of those shows.) As we also made clear in January, you can expect new Swans sounds at those events. As Gira told me, “[the] approach will be basically where SoundtracksMore »

By: brandon / June 21, 2010 - 3:51 pm

Swans To Play Brooklyn Masonic Temple

In January I posted about Swans’ plans to reform, record, and tour. At the time, I had no idea I’d be helping to organize their biggest ever show in New York City. It’s an honor — Swans’ music/thought exerted a huge influence on me at a crucial time and the band’s remained one of my… More »

By: brandon / May 10, 2010 - 2:54 pm

Swans Reforming, Touring, Recording

As the post title over at MySpace reads “COMING SOON, NEW SWANS ALBUM AND TOUR(S).” And as close readers will also note, the seminal noise-rock crew’s swansaredead MySpace page has been updated with a “Swans Are Not Dead” headline. This, of course, is extremely exciting news: Probably my favorite band to emerge from that early… More »

By: brandon / January 11, 2010 - 1:57 pm
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