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Old 05.25.2014, 09:58 PM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blood_Promise
I have to admit I am sharing similar feelings about this reunion-reinvention of Swans.

Swans Are Dead was such a statement, an epitome of everything the band stood for.

Musically it felt like "this is how far Swans can go". The version of Blood Promise on the album still is my favorite song they ever did, the ending build-up leaves me in cold sweat, the emotional intensity! This was the end of Swans, but it felt right. Gira killed Swans, because there was nowhere else to go, nowhere to move, without becoming a cliché, without starting to imitate itself.

I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Swans are coming back together. I thought to myself that Gira would not bring back Swans without a reason, that maybe he found a way to step beyond Swans are Dead.

I was disappointed. I love the new stuff, I truly do, but it's nothing like the Swans I loved, sometimes I doubt it's Swans at all.

I think to properly reflect on the new Swans one must take into account Gira's work with Angels of Light.

We get songs that are droned out for 30 minutes, okay, I get that, but none of the new songs (with the exception of Kirsten Supine, maybe) offer anything as intense and powerful as The Sound, Helpless Child or, the already mentioned, Blood Promise.
pretty much this. I love the music, but it doesn't feel like swans.

also go see them t&b, the shows are still as insane as they have been since they got back together, although I miss the old 'no words/no thoughts' section from that tour and the version of 'I crawled'.
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Old 05.25.2014, 10:17 PM   #162
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The more I read of this thread the happier I am that I don't know pre-2010 Swans (yet). Seer and TBK are monumentally great albums. Someone said they find the longest songs pointless. There's not a wasted second in them, imho. Swans make 2hr albums that feel much shorter, and leave you wishing they were longer. Gira has an uncanny ability to always keep things moving. There's no noodling here. Fuckin love TBK, unjaded by history in any way.
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Old 05.26.2014, 08:48 AM   #163
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The last three Swans albums have been incredible.

You know what would be sad? A 60 year old Michael Gira doing this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jOEYDu4AbU
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Old 05.26.2014, 12:07 PM   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooking With Satan
The last three Swans albums have been incredible.

You know what would be sad? A 60 year old Michael Gira doing this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jOEYDu4AbU

That is pretty brilliant though.
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Old 05.26.2014, 01:45 PM   #165
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Nathalie Neal is almost embarrassingly singalong and anthemy in a Coldplay/Oasis style, haha. Each vocal line is widely separated with plenty of instrumentation in between. But you'd have the perfect pop song if you put those vocal lines right next to each other. Thank fuck they did it this (TBK) way though. It makes me wonder if Gira had this 3min pop song and said "we gotta fuck it up with spaces in between."

The track To Be Kind makes me think of Ringo singing Goodnight. Both have a similar calming vibe following a couple of hours of slight insanity. Swans make sure to thrash an epic ending though.
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Old 05.27.2014, 08:11 PM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooking With Satan
The last three Swans albums have been incredible.

You know what would be sad? A 60 year old Michael Gira doing this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jOEYDu4AbU
It would be. But that attitude is what Swans is to me. I love the new albums, but I wish Gira did them under a new moniker.

I once saw an interview with Genesis P-Orridge where he (she? s/he?) said that TG was a band based on anger and hatred whereas Psychic TV was a band based on love and camaraderie. That is exactly how I see Swans and "Swans." The new stuff is heavy, powerful and terrifying, but ultimately uplifting, life-affirming music, while the pre-breakup material was just fucking disgusting. Even albums like WLFTMOI sound bleaker than To Be Kind. Two different beasts, but I don't think the new stuff should continue on the original Swans' legacy. Swans now are a completely different beast and the name doesn't do justice to either band's intentions.
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Old 05.27.2014, 11:37 PM   #167
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But why can't a band change / grow / morph into a different beast? Beatles went from I Want To Hold Your Hand to I Am The Walrus. Our beloved Sonic Youth did albums in the 2000s which were very different from the albums of the 1980s. Should Bob Dylan call himself Zimmerman now? His brand of bluesy stuff these last few albums is a very different thing from his 60s epics.

I mean, we are talking about 20-30 fuckin years spread here, between much of the past music that some are mentioning in this thread and now. How could they NOT change? Gira has a kid now, right? He's an old Dad like me, hahaha. That fuckin changes your outlook on life.

I just do not understand how calling this Swans (with a few of the same dudes as 20 years ago) does injustice to both eras.
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Old 05.28.2014, 10:47 PM   #168
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People hold onto their perspective, and I totally understand it. There are several bands who I totally adore particular records from, but otherwise don't listen to. It is what it is. The better part is just the fact that Swans or whatever folks want to call or think of it as are putting out great, challenging, inspiring art for us. This record has already inspired me on my guitarwork into certain directions. Also, I agree completely, those who have said the 30 minutes on The Seer or To Be Kind are pointless, I disagree, the 20 minutes of The Diamond Sea or the middle 20 minutes of Dark Star are WAY more insignificant than any of those sound collages of the past two records. By the way, I may be sounding like hyperbole, but you should know that I haven't read a music magazine, blog, or article since I was in middle school to I am influenced on this solely by my own experience of these records. I have literally read NOTHING about them from ANYWHERE other than this forum. I just really like these records
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Old 05.28.2014, 11:39 PM   #169
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Don't go dragging Diamond Sea into this and calling it "insignificant" bra. There's no need to get all irrational and shit.
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Old 05.29.2014, 12:11 AM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Severian
Don't go dragging Diamond Sea into this and calling it "insignificant" bra. There's no need to get all irrational and shit.

I didn't say that, I say the 20 minutes of (though I was buzzing it earlier, I totally meant to say the ending 12 minutes, e.g. the "radio" version was "good enough" on its own) were more insignificant than the Swans 30 minutes.. Neither should be considered insignificant on their own merits. What I like most about these recent Swans records is the perfect use of such small things and parts instrumentation wise, small bends, fills, riffs, effects samples, and yet as a composition? Its superb.
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Old 06.03.2014, 01:18 AM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skuj
But why can't a band change / grow / morph into a different beast? Beatles went from I Want To Hold Your Hand to I Am The Walrus. Our beloved Sonic Youth did albums in the 2000s which were very different from the albums of the 1980s. Should Bob Dylan call himself Zimmerman now? His brand of bluesy stuff these last few albums is a very different thing from his 60s epics.

I mean, we are talking about 20-30 fuckin years spread here, between much of the past music that some are mentioning in this thread and now. How could they NOT change? Gira has a kid now, right? He's an old Dad like me, hahaha. That fuckin changes your outlook on life.

I just do not understand how calling this Swans (with a few of the same dudes as 20 years ago) does injustice to both eras.
skuj go listen to those early records. just do it, come back here, read what you've written and then punch yrself in the balls.

as a few of us have said (I think...), the vitriolic element of swans wasn't so much an element per se as it was the very essence of swans itself. regardless of the form the music took it remained intact, through grinding no wave, neofolk, dark rock, whatever the fuck you want to call post-children of god; gira retained in all his music a fury, an unbridled hatred for mankind and the world with no inkling of hope, no light to offset the crushing blackness. the new records temper it with a sense of optimism, a sort of "hey the world suxxxx bad but we can overcome it together hippy dippy suck me off", itself a decidedly modern (and depressing) school of thought, representing a mentality that is totally at odds with the initial incarnation of the band. in that, in my mind and indeed those of a lot of people with whom I've spoken, it negates the foundational qualities of the band and thereby means it's NOT SWANS, it's angels of light + drone rock.
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Old 06.03.2014, 04:01 PM   #172
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I understand completely the swans fans lamentations but again I think its not fair. Gira did the heavy lifting even for early swans, so if he feels like his newer music is still swans that is his right as an artist isn't it? Artists are people too, they change and evolve. Its been said this is a caricature of swans, I disagree, if gira would have tried to fake the intrinsic nihilism of hia earlier perspective THAT wouldve been a caricature. If anything, taking the risk of trying something fundamentally different is the sign of sincere art for art's sake
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Old 06.03.2014, 04:28 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuchFriendsAreDangerous
I understand completely the swans fans lamentations but again I think its not fair. Gira did the heavy lifting even for early swans, so if he feels like his newer music is still swans that is his right as an artist isn't it? Artists are people too, they change and evolve. Its been said this is a caricature of swans, I disagree, if gira would have tried to fake the intrinsic nihilism of hia earlier perspective THAT wouldve been a caricature. If anything, taking the risk of trying something fundamentally different is the sign of sincere art for art's sake
To be honest when I went to see them last week to me they sounded and looked like rock dinosaurs enjoying their fame. Nevermind their early records, which I've never been too much of a fan of because the stuff they were singing about I enjoy more via visual art, books, theatre and occasionally movies. Rock music is the tamest medium for grief as far as I can see. Their early records never sounded heavy even from a sound perspective if compared to a band like, say, Einsturzende Neubauten.
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Old 06.03.2014, 05:38 PM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guest
the vitriolic element of swans wasn't so much an element per se as it was the very essence of swans itself.

Ummmmm......yea


The difference between Swans then and Swans now is the listener.

Listeners back then didn't have message boards to sound off on.

Odds are, you were listening to Swans and your friends were not.

In the beginning, Swans didn't have a history to repeat or try and match.

Skuj - enjoy discovering the back catalog. However, understand whatever you like / don't like today possibly would have been much different than if you had discovered them back in the day......before we all had opinions to share.
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Old 06.04.2014, 12:21 AM   #175
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Fascinating thread. One day I will delve into early Swans, but I cannot imagine ever coming to the conclusion that Seer and TBK are anything but monumentally wonderful albums. I don't care how "content" these people are in 2014. Wearing out my 2CD TBK these days.

The "noise" sections of TBK are fantastic. Many bands attempt noise and fail, but on TBK there are some staggeringly beautiful and terrifying moments of sonic overload. The crescendos in Bring The Sun / Toussant, the descending lines in Some Things We Do (reminds me of fucking Ode To Billy Joe), the transition in She Loves Us, the eerie end phase of Kirsten Supine (my favourite part of the whole journey), the epic outro of TBK.....this is superbly constructed noise. Can't get enough of this motherfucker.
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Old 06.04.2014, 01:25 AM   #176
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As it was stated my many, Screen Shot and Some Things We Do are just lazy songs lyrically.

Then again I remember reading/hearing an interview with M. Gira around the time The Seer was released, where he explained why it is less vocal oriented. He lamented the fact that when writing lyrics it is hard for him to say something which he hadn't said before already.

Skuj, don't forget to also check out The Angels of Light.
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Old 06.04.2014, 01:43 AM   #177
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blood_Promise
As it was stated my many, Screen Shot and Some Things We Do are just lazy songs lyrically.

Then again I remember reading/hearing an interview with M. Gira around the time The Seer was released, where he explained why it is less vocal oriented. He lamented the fact that when writing lyrics it is hard for him to say something which he hadn't said before already.

I see Screenshot and Some Things We Do as very related, one starting the album, and one nearly exactly halfway - situated between two gigantic motherfuckers, offering a reprieve. I have determined that both are not wonderful songs alone.....but within TBK they work perfectly. They are ESSENTIAL, as an intro that does not overwhelm at the start of a two hour journey, and as a breather mid album. In both I think the instrumentation is key, and the voice/lyrics merely anchor/vector each. I don't believe every song should be Like A Rolling Stone. Within a 2hr journey it is absolutely essential to have "down time". I don't suggest that these two tracks are shit, but the whole album needs a gentle intro and a reprieve.

OK I'm tired and drunk now, so......
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Old 06.04.2014, 01:23 PM   #178
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I agree, people are totally shitting on Screen Shot and Things We Do.. They feel purposefully lazy, not accidentally. They seem almost like a somber sigh rather than an angst-filled growl. I think the term is lamentation. ALL the lyrics feel a bit rushed, but not neglected. It seems the lyrics weren't the emphasis of this record, rather the sound.
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Old 06.09.2014, 08:48 AM   #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guest
skuj go listen to those early records. just do it, come back here, read what you've written and then punch yrself in the balls.

as a few of us have said (I think...), the vitriolic element of swans wasn't so much an element per se as it was the very essence of swans itself. regardless of the form the music took it remained intact, through grinding no wave, neofolk, dark rock, whatever the fuck you want to call post-children of god; gira retained in all his music a fury, an unbridled hatred for mankind and the world with no inkling of hope, no light to offset the crushing blackness. the new records temper it with a sense of optimism, a sort of "hey the world suxxxx bad but we can overcome it together hippy dippy suck me off", itself a decidedly modern (and depressing) school of thought, representing a mentality that is totally at odds with the initial incarnation of the band. in that, in my mind and indeed those of a lot of people with whom I've spoken, it negates the foundational qualities of the band and thereby means it's NOT SWANS, it's angels of light + drone rock.

Actually, I'm pretty sure it's whatever Michael Gira wants it to be, and I'm also pretty sure he's grown up.

Being a "fan" doesn't give you any special insight on what a band should sound like.

You either like it, or you don't.
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Old 06.10.2014, 01:23 AM   #180
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I adore the DVD that comes with the special edition of the 2CD. Most songs are in embryonic or exploding states. I haven't been to a major live show in decades, but I must see this current Swans. This is serious shit.
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