While you could easily sink yourself deep into Swans’ prolific history, don’t count out what’s to come for the New York City band. We are, after all, waiting for the release of To Be Kind. This will mark lucky number 13 in Swans’ album catalogue and includes vocals from Cold Specks and another artist headed to NXNE this June – St. Vincent. So yes: a lot to look forward to. Just don’t expect them to tweet about it.
But for those that require a back-story, the talking points are as follows…
Swans formed in 1982 as an experimental project by Michael Gira. Theirs is a sound of the surreal – a genre outlier wholly comfortable with being uncomfortable. It also features a long (and we mean long) list of past and current musicians on the roster.
Their first album, Filth, was released in 1983. The outfit released nine other studio albums up until the band’s eventual dissolution in 1997, Gira turning his attention to other projects. Swans’ 2010 reformation came with new material – including 2010’s critically acclaimed My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky. The A.V. Club (RIP) gave it a perfect score while BBC Music called it: “A majestic return and, let us hope, a harbinger of more to come.”
(We could go on about their albums, but Stereogum’s already got this handy list, ranking them in their order of preference.)
And as with their music’s avoidance of the prototypical genres, Swans’ relationship to the audience is just as complex. As Gira explained in an interview from 1996: “There is no appropriate audience for Swans, and I don’t really care who’s there in front of us, so long as they’re not repulsive to behold.” Prepare for it to get sweaty, expect the songs to be long, don’t leave your fingers on the stage, and please leave your bumping and grinding to the parking lot.
More news on Swans over here.