Archive for October, 2018

The Door is Open: 10 Songs from the World of SWANS by Nick Soulsby

I was kindly invited by Kevin, the creative mind behind the Void Report (great title which I really need to ask how he came up with!), to try to suggest ten songs that go some way toward capturing the wide span of styles and approach that exist within the entity known as Swans.

It’s quite a task. One of the finest things about Swans is that they’re a band that didn’t just record the same album, or variations of it, over and over again. It was never possible to say “this is what Swans sound like” for more than a couple years – then the sound would shift almost entirely. Better still, many bands, making a stylistic shift, simply wind up sounding like a pastiche or a tribute to styles that others do better: SWANS never did that. Swans always sounded like their own thing – an original.

I always think of Swans as a number of phases: 1982-1987 the gargantuan audience pulverizing era; 1988-1989 Americana years before Americana was back in fashion; 1990-1993 the age of rhythm married to articulate lyrics and layered orchestral detail; 1994-1995 return to rock; 1995-1997 the jettisoning of rock and the invention/ushering in of what would come to be the post-rock era; 2010-2011 the wedding of Angels Of Light to Swans; 2012-2016 the creation of a new hybrid of minimalist composition, pop/rock song-craft and maximalist impact.

So, what did I attempt to pick? What I aimed for was to find ten songs that summed up some central aspect of each of those times – a song that acted as a doorway to each spell before the wheel turned again.

I think the advice stays true: if you don’t like your first taste of Swans, just move two albums down the line and try again – you’ll find a new band that is still, without doubt, Swans.

I also want to thank whichever genius came up with the ‘how to get into Swans’ graphic – it’s a work of art.

 

 

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http://freq.org.uk/reviews/nick-soulsby-swans-sacrifice-and-transcendence/

I loved this review by David Solomons because I love writing that means I learn something. That opening quotation from GK Chesterton is amazing: a perfect encapsulation for the need to change and vary something if it is to remain fresh and retain the qualities one sees in it.

I also like the fact that it contains new stories, that there’s stuff I hadn’t heard – watching the whole of Dune and half of Eraserhead projected on screen at Mean Fiddler before the Swans show – that’s great stuff!

 

 

swans online

https://www.facebook.com/events/246106332915884/

What better way to spend a Sunday evening than sipping a beer and talking the wild life and times of SWANS? On the 21st, at Rough Trade Bristol, we’re going to be getting together to show exclusive clips from Marco Porsia’s upcoming film on Swans ‘Where Does A Body Begin?’, read unreleased material from ‘SWANS: Sacrifice And Transcendence – The Oral History’, talk SWANS…Basically it’s the all-SWANS night.

The link above to the event, it’s free, the bar at Rough Trade is pretty darn good, their performance space is neat…Should be a fun night.

What I’ve enjoyed about these so far is hearing people tell their tales about how they came to connect with Swans – again and again there’s been something more than just ‘bought the music’, it’s been about meeting Gira or Jarboe, receiving mail from them, hearing the band in an eighties venue, working to set the gigs up, so many different connections…

Naturally,I’ll be signing copies of the book toward the end. Feel free to bring your copy along – or, sure, buy one from me on the night. I like signing things! I’m friendly! 🙂