I was invited to contribute this to the Vinyl Factory (previously benefactors who permitted me to rave about the Pacific North West – http://www.thevinylfactory.com/vinyl-factory-releases/beyond-nirvana-10-essential-under-the-radar-grunge-records-from-the-seattle-era/) essentially just yelling “SWANS are awesome!!!” at everyone in a foam-flecked and spitting mass of shiny-eyed, head-rushed devotion.
It’s not a ‘top ten’, it’s simply a declaration of ten Swans releases from the 1982-1998 period that I feel best represent the band in particular eras or that are particularly unique and rewarding. Certainly it’d be hard to ever claim Swans were a ‘nice’ band, their concerns were deeply metaphysical; flesh as an anchor forcing compromise and failure upon the soul and spirit, the voluntary subjugation of mind and soul beneath ideologies and social arrangements, the potential for oblivion as the only freedom, the eventual declarations of scorn upon those who ignored the band and blunt statements of the end of the project. Cheery stuff for a Wednesday but genuinely superlative and significant music.
6 thoughts on “Ten SWANS Records you Need to Hear”
No PUBLIC CASTRATION? You’re a fool.
I unfortunately had “Feel Good Now” first, which weakened the impact of certain other live records! Definitely not dismissing or ignoring the deep quality of Public Castration…
You’re right though, that IS an awesome record…I just hope maybe I encourage a few people to give a hoot about them. They did too much good stuff.
And no mention of Jarboe?
…That bit where I mentioned her contribution to Blackmail? I ADORE that song! And she gets mentioned for her contributions to Soundtracks for the Blind…And generally credit for instrumentalism goes also to her. She’s really cool and a talented individual. No bones.
Best thing I ever read on SWANS was in a magazine (out of Seattle, no less) called Your Flesh, and one quick search later, here it is: http://swans.pair.com/PRESS/art_yourflesh.html
They were my favourite band for so many years, saw them live twice, Gira solo once, but Angels of Light did nothing for me, and his book, The Consumer? Awful. But that Body Lovers album is still one of the best things I’ve ever heard.