Entries tagged with: Swans

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We just posted Q Magazine's Best of 2014 albums list and now here's the same from sister publication MOJO. Not only do they share a publisher, but also more than half of same albums appear on both lists. The War on Drugs was #2 here, making war for Beck's Morning Phase in the top spot. Check out the whole list below.

While MOJO is seen as a safe haven for "heritage" acts, there are some records in their Top 10 that don't prominently feature acoustic guitars: coming in at #3 is Sleaford Mods' Divide and Exit. You can catch the Mods' North American live debut this Saturday (11/29) at The Wick with The Gotobeds, The Rogers Sisters and "very special guests" who will be announced closer to the show. Tickets are still available.

MOJO's full Top 50 LPs of 2014 list below...

Continue reading "MOJO's Top 50 LPs of 2014"

Liturgy at Pitchfork Fest 2012 (more by James Richards IV)
Liturgy

As discussed, Swans have upcoming dates including a hometown show in NYC at Warsaw on December 12. Since we last spoke, it's been announced that NYC black metal band Liturgy will open that show, which is a great double bill. Previously, both bands' drummers contributed to this year's Ben Frost album. Tickets for that show are still available. Swans have also added several more tour dates, including many in North America such as the Big Ears Festival. Updated dates are listed below.

Swans are also releasing the "Oxygen" EP next week (11/25) via Young God/Mute which features four alternate versions of that track which appeared on this year's To Be Kind. It includes an edit by Mute founder Daniel Miller, which you can stream below, as well as a live recording from Primavera, an early version recorded by Michael Gira at his house, and an acoustic version.

That song stream and the list of dates below...

Continue reading "Liturgy opening for Swans, who have a new EP & added dates"

Rough Trade NYC on Record Store Day 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
RT

As they usually are, Rough Trade Shops are one of the first this year to post their favorite albums of 2014 list. It's 100 albums long and mostly filled with the bigger indie and indie-related releases of the year, but there's a few surprises in there too. Mark Kozelek will not be happy to see that The War On Drugs placed #2, 8 higher than the Sun Kil Moon record. Mark should be proud that he made the list not once, but TWICE though. His Christmas album landed at #84. Run the Jewels, who are not on it all, have started a "Suck My Dick Rough Trade" chant. Check out their full list below and see more on each album here.

Meanwhile, Rough Trade the NYC venue is open this weekend with Sallie Ford / Crooked Fingers tonight, followed by two shows from The Dream Syndicate.

List below...

Continue reading "Rough Trade's favorite albums of 2014"

Big Ears

Big Ears Festival will return to various Knoxville, TN venues in 2015 from March 27-29, and the initial lineup was just announced. Kronos Quartet will be the artists in residence for the weekend and perform at several concerts. Others performing include Laurie Anderson, tUnE-yArDs, Swans, Perfume Genius, Grouper, Sam Amidon, Max Richter, Ben Frost, Bryce Dessner, Bill Frisell, Jamie xx, Clark, Demdike Stare, SQURL, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Nosaj Thing, Steve Gunn, Nels Cline, Amen Dunes, Jozef Van Wissem, Holly Herndon, Terry Riley & Ryan Riley, Harold Budd & Keith Lowe, The Bad Plus, Rhiannon Giddens, Tanya Tagaq and Hildur Guonadottir. Stay tuned for more lineup additions.

The shows will take place at the Tennessee and Bijou Theatres, the intimate Square Room, the Knoxville Museum of Art and more. Weekend passes go on sale Friday (11/14) at noon EST. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Knoxville music and arts education programs Joy of Music School and Community School of the Arts.

Swans at MHOW in May (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Swans

Swans just played Hudson, NY's Basilica Sound Scape this past weekend, and they've since announced that they'll play one more New York show before the year ends, this one at NYC's Warsaw on December 12, the same Greenpoint venue they played as the final NYC stop of The Seer tour. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (9/19) at 10 AM. All dates (the rest are in Europe) are listed below.

Swans are also reissuing a remastered version of their excellent and perfectly named debut album, Filth, on vinyl for the first time in decades on October 28. You can pre-order it now. Read what Michael Gira had to say about the album, with the list of dates, below...

Continue reading "Swans playing Warsaw after European tour, reissuing 'Filth' on vinyl (dates)"

by Johnny Zachman

Swans
Basilica

Basilica Sound Scape happened this weekend in Hudson, NY. Among the artists playing were Swans, Richard Reed Parry, Deafheaven (who also played MHOW the next night), Tim Hecker and White Lung (who also played the BV-curated Red Bull Sound Select show on Friday night).

I attended Saturday's (9/13) portion, which was presented by Pitchfork's Show No Mercy. I drove to the festival, but Basilica Hudson is also accessible from New York City via the Amtrak, whose Hudson stop is only a block away from the venue.

Basilica Hudson is a gorgeous setting for live music. The venue is a reclaimed 19th century factory with many of the door and window frames left open, creating a pleasant indoor-outdoor ambiance. Most of the food and beer vendors were also outside, allowing attendees to hang in the refreshing autumn weather and rest our ears under the starry Hudson skies. The whole event felt dreamlike and far enough removed from everyday life to really be something memorable.

The mixed media component of the festival further added to the surreal atmosphere. There were record sellers, book sellers, film clips projected in the alcoves of the building - and even a performance artist sleeping in a Buddha booth later in the night. I arrived around 8:45 to find Meredith Graves (of Perfect Pussy) reading from an opening in the wall of the main room, fifteen feet above our heads. Later in the night, Greg Fox (of Liturgy/Guardian Alien) would perform a drum solo in the same space.

Buddha Booth
Basilica

Meredith's reading, which has now been posted in full at The Talkhouse, is about Andrew WK, Lana Del Rey and the double standard applied to male and female performers regarding authenticity. Here's an excerpt:

It is twisted that people only seemed to love the idea of Andrew W.K. more after the truth came out. The truth is so interesting! He's fearless, talented, he has a dark theoretical and critical mind. He's on television with Glenn Beck talking about being afraid of abortion. But it was transformation into a party dude at the hands of the music industry that made people pay attention to him. Meanwhile he's up there with Ian Svenonius at the Guggenheim talking about how his early experiences exploring the interstices between "pure music" and "unwanted sound" have shaped his intentionality in the "Andrew W.K. presentation." The kids in Katowice were there to have fun and get wasted. It's Harmony Korine playing dumb for Letterman back in the '90s, over and over and over again. In a way, everybody loses. It's like nobody was listening when he himself told them at point-blank range that he isn't real.

But when a female musician is in any way fake, she's denied creative agency, written off as uninventive and talentless. Beyoncé is accused of lip-synching, even when she isn't. Music rags run articles exposing pop stars' real names, highlighting Lorde, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus. But being that these are the most successful female artists in the world, one has to assume that their fakeness -- or, as we should be calling it, "reinvention" -- is necessary for women to succeed in the music industry. It's the basic principle of survival, period: adapt and evolve, or die. And of the women I listed above, look at what they've done that gets them called fake: taking on more seductive names and more assertive personas, getting breast and butt lifts and lip fillers and wearing makeup, wearing more elaborate, sexy, sometimes borderline-fetish costumes -- everything that men claim they want out of women! But no, that's not good enough -- those qualities have to be both present and completely natural in order for spectators to be satisfied.

Read the whole very interesting thing at The Talkhouse.

I caught the full performances by White Lung, Deafheaven and Swans, who all delivered thunderously rapturous sets. I've come to expect nothing but excellence from these three acts, but it was refreshing to see them in a completely new context - and one that each managed to fit effortlessly among. I caught up with White Lung's Mish Way shortly after her set and restrained myself from telling her how obsessed I've been with "Wrong Star" ever since her Noisey Acoustic Sessions with Katie Crutchfield was released. I did, however, manage to discuss the unfortunate incident from Friday night's show when she was forced to confront an audience member who was harassing and even attempting to punch her during her performance.

White Lung
Basilica

"It's been awhile since I've had to do something like that," she said, "but I'm glad it happened. And I'm glad to end our tour here. It feels good. It feels special. And... (smiling) I'm really glad my reading went well."

I'm looking forward to more unique experiences at next year's festival, to which I will certainly be returning.

A few more pictures (by Molly Moltzen) and a few videos below...

Continue reading "Basilica SoundScape happened w/ Swans, Deafheaven, White Lung, Meredith Graves' speech on Andrew WK/Lana Del Rey"

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The 2014 Basilica Sound Scape festival is this weekend (September 12 & 13) in Hudson, NY with performances from Swans, Deafheaven, White Lung, Majical Cloudz, Julia Holter and more. Eleanor Friedberger was supposed to have played but has since dropped off. Two-day passes and tickets to Saturday (9/13) with Swans, Deafheaven and more are sold out but you can still get tickets to Friday (9/12) with Julia Holter, Tim Hecker, Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire) and more. The daily lineups and performances schedules are listed below.

If you'd like to go to both nights for free, we're giving away a pair of two-day passes. Details on that below.

You can also see White Lung in NYC for $3 this Friday (9/12) at MIDNIGHT (so really 9/13) when they play the BrooklynVegan-curated Red Bull Sound Select show at Palisades (906 Broadway) with Power Trip and Sick Feeling. RSVP HERE for $3 admission at the door (it's $10 if you don't).

Continue reading "Basilica Sound Scape is this weekend: Eleanor Friedberger drops off, daily schedules released ++ win weekend passes!"

by Robb Sperry-Fromm

Cold Specks at Webster Hall in 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Cold Specks

Canadian goth-inflected soul songwriter Cold Specks, who is playing AfroPunk this weekend in Brooklyn, will release Neuroplasticity on August 25, including two songs that feature Swans Michael Gira. One, already shared awhile ago, is called "Exit Plan." The newer one is called "A Season of Doubt." Both make excellent use of Gira in his sinister whisper/growl mode. Cold Specks also recently appeared on Swans' To Be Kind, so things would seem to be coming full circle. You can stream album-closer "A Season of Doubt" and the other 90% of Neuroplasticity, below.

Cold Specks has also announced a worldwide tour in support of Neuroplasticity. The tour will bring her back to NYC to play Rough Trade on November 7. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (8/22) at noon. All dates are listed, along with the album stream, below.

Continue reading "Cold Specks releasing new LP featuring Michael Gira, playing Afropunk Fest this weekend, touring this fall (dates, LP stream)"

Swans @ Lincoln Hall (more by Brigid Gallagher)
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From the Very Interesting Press Release Department:

Le Guess Who? Festival (The Netherlands) is extremely proud to announce two special projects for 2014: a 3-day program curated by Swans/Michael Gira, and the world premiere of 24-Hour Dronefest. Le Guess Who? 2014 takes place November 20-23 in Utrecht, NL. Previously announced acts include Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Selda feat. Boom Pam, St. Vincent and Einstürzende Neubauten.

Michael Gira, the main force behind the mighty Swans, will curate a three-day program for the project Mouth To Mouth. This is the second installment of Mouth To Mouth, and the first spanning multiple days and venues. The curated line-up includes Swans, legendary UK post-punk band Wire, New York psychedelic/electronic pioneers Silver Apples, Dominick Fernow's Prurient, Carla Bozulich (Evangelista), Xiu Xiu, Baby Dee, Jenny Hval and noise tyrant Ben Frost.

The Mouth To Mouth-project will also feature a special performance of the London based post-punk group Savages, together with Japanese avant-rock band Bo Ningen, entitled 'Words To The Blind'. Inspired by the surrealist, early DADA concept of simultaneous poetry, the group experiments with improvisation and noise. Le Guess Who? will be the first time this performance of all new material will be seen and heard outside of London.

This year, Le Guess Who? will host the world premiere of 24-Hour Drone Fest, initiated together with New York's Basilica Hudson. Beginning at midnight on Saturday, November 22, this project will cover the entire spectrum of drone during 24 non-stop hours of live performances and installations. First acts confirmed for this project are avant-gardistic producer/composer William Basinski (amongst others known for his four-part The Disintegration Loops), guitarist/producer/composer Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O)))), Tim Hecker, London-based duo Raime, and Steve Hauschildt (formerly of Emeralds). More acts for 24-Hour Dronefest will be added soon.

24 non stop hours of drone. We can't wait!!

As the release says, the 24 hours of drone thing is a collaboration with New York's own Basilica Hudson where Swans and Tim Hecker are also playing as part of Basilica SoundScape in September. As previously mentioned, that NY fest will also play the Scott Walker / Sunn O))) album that comes out ten days later, every hour from 2-9 PM on Saturday of the fest at Future Past Studio, which is located near Basilica.

Catch Bo Ningen back in the USA when they tour with Kasabian this fall.

The Europe festival won't be the first time Bo Ningen and Savages have collaborated.

Unlike Savages, Swans appear on the recently released "Best Albums of the Decade So Far" list from Pitchfork.

The full line-up for Mouth To Mouth, curated by Swans/Michael Gira, is listed with more Netherlands fest info below.

Continue reading "Swans/Michael Gira curating 3-day program in Netherlands; Savages & Bo Ningen collaborating +++ 24 NON-STOP HOURS OF DRONE"

by Andrew Sacher

Pitchfork

Yesterday, Pitchfork posted their top 200 tracks of the decade so far, and today they've listed the top 100 albums to have come out between 2010-2014. There's some surprises on there. For example, I didn't expect to see Bon Iver's self-titled, their #1 album of 2011 and with a score of 9.5, rank as low as #27 on this list. I was also surprised to see Chief Keef make it but not, say, Shabazz Palaces or Schoolboy Q. And there's a few other glaring omissions: nothing by The National? Grizzly Bear? One thing that will surprise no one though, is their #1 pick.

You can check out the full list below...

Continue reading "Pitchfork's Top 100 Albums of the Decade So Far (2010-2014)"

Majical Cloudz at Pitchfork Festival 2014 (more by James Richards IV)
Majical Cloudz

The full lineup for Hudson, NY's two-day Basilica Sound Scape (9/12-13) has now been announced. Joining the lineup of Swans, Deafheaven, White Lung, Julia Holter, Tim Hecker and more will be Majical Cloudz, Eleanor Friedberger, British folk veteran Michael Chapman, Torn Hawk, Lower Dens' Jana Hunter, Gang Gang Dance's Brian Degraw, Gold Dime with Andrya Ambro (Talk Normal) and more. Full lineup and more details, via Pitchfork who were involved in organizing the fest, below.

Additionally, the Scott Walker / Sunn O))) album that comes out ten days after Basilica will be played in full every hour from 2-9 PM on Saturday at Future Past Studio, which is located near Basilica.

For Majical Cloudz, this festival happens right before their tour with Lorde hits NYC for three dates.

Tickets for the festival are still available. More details below...

Continue reading "Majical Cloudz, Eleanor Friedberger, Michael Chapman, Jana Hunter, Torn Hawk & more added to Basilica Sound Scape"

Pharmakon

Brooklyn's Nancy Sinatra-covering noise artist Pharmakon has announced that she'll release a new album, Bestial Burden, the followup to 2013's excellent Abandon, on October 14 via Sacred Bones. It was produced by Cult of Youth's Sean Ragon, who also helmed Abandon. You can check out the LP's tracklist and the trailer video for it, directed by Jacqueline Castel, below. Artwork above.

Pharmakon will tour Europe with Swans this fall (who she's toured with before), but before she leaves home she'll play Death by Audio on August 29 with Una Bestia Incontrolable and Survival. $10 at the door gets you in.

That's the first of two NYC dates that week for Barcelona punks Una Bestia Incontrolable. They also play 538 Johnson on 8/30 with Dawn of Humans and La Misma. They just put out a new 7" on Iron Lung Records, which you can stream (via Noisey) below.

Also below is the list of Pharmakon dates, LP trailer and tracklist.

Continue reading "Pharmakon releasing a new album, playing DbA with Una Bestia Incontrolable before European tour w/ Swans (dates)"

Swans at Bowery Ballroom earlier this week (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Swans

For the third year in a row, Basilica Hudson's Creative Directors Melissa Auf Der Maur and Tony Stone are working in collaboration with Pitchfork Senior Editor/Director of Events Brandon Stosuy and Brian De Ran of Gleam House and Leg Up Management to program BasilicaSoundScape, a carefully curated two-day program featuring a wide range of music, visual art, and literature that aims for specific connections and overlaps instead of "festival"-style overload.
Hudson, NY two-day festival Basilica Sound Scape will return this year on September 12 & 13. The initial lineup was just announced and it's already shaping up to be a great one with Swans, Deafheaven, Tim Hecker, Julia Holter and NYC's Balinese gamelan ensemble Gamelan Dharma Swara. Early bird 2-day passes are on sale now for $50 through June 15. After that, $35 single day passes go on sale and weekend passes are upped to $60. Stay tuned for the rest of the lineup.

A few videos and the flyer below...

Continue reading "Basilica Sound Scape 2014 initial lineup & tickets (Swans, Tim Hecker, Deafheaven, Julia Holter, more)"

by Andrew Sacher

Swans at Bowery Ballroom - 5/18/14 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Swans

"As you can see we're playing mostly new songs and really fucked up versions of old songs," said Michael Gira during last night's Music Hall of Williamsburg show (5/19), the second of two sold out Swans shows in NYC on their current tour. It was true. You could hardly call this the To Be Kind tour -- those songs were all mostly played on The Seer tour -- the only real recognizable parts of that album played were "A Little God In My Hands," "Oxygen" and a small portion of "Bring the Sun." Otherwise the two-hour set included "The Apostate" from the The Seer, and three new songs that appear to (at least tentatively) be titled "Frankie M," "Don't Go" and "Black Hole Man."

If it sounds like I'm saying I was disappointed, far from it. It doesn't really matter what Swans' setlist is because every show they put on is a unique, intense experience. When the majority of other bands with classic material dating back to the '80s and '90s (like Swans) get on stage and don't play any of it, there's likely to be some cranky concert goers. But Swans have become a legacy band working entirely on their own terms, far from the type to do a nostalgia tour. And with the incredible creative burst they've had since their 2010 reformation, they wouldn't need to. The current six-piece version of Swans that recorded their last three records is literally a different a band (this lineup doesn't appear on any other Swans album), and it really feels like they're working with the passion of a new group. The way they work out new material on the road and are seemingly over it once it's recorded and released is a tactic tons of small local bands use, but hardly ever seen from a band at Swans' level.

And just like the To Be Kind material did on The Seer tour, these new songs sound great. "Frankie M" actually had a conventional chord change, which, in a set where that happened zero other times, ends up being one of the least expected moves Swans made. "Don't Go" evolved into the kind of lengthy psychedelic trip that "The Seer" and "Bring the Sun" provided at previous shows and "Black Hole Man," played as the alternate ending to "Bring the Sun," replaced the freakout shrieks of "Toussaint L'Ouverture" with Gira's demonically spiritual chants.

Swans' tourmate Jenny Hval and her two-piece backing band opened the show with music that was comparatively softer but similarly dark and uniquely distant from most modern trends. Swans' openers always feel well curated, and Jenny was no different.

We didn't get pictures of the MHOW show, but we did post pictures of Sunday's Bowery Ballroom show. Check out more of those HERE and the setlist from MHOW below...

Continue reading "Swans wrapped up their NYC run at MHOW (setlist, review)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Swans @ Bowery Ballroom - 5/18/14
Swans

The almighty Swans brought their current tour to their hometown of NYC last night (5/18) for a stop at Bowery Ballroom, their first of two sold out shows here. The shows are in support of their massive, intense new album To Be Kind, and much like how Swans played a lot of that album on The Seer tour, Michael Gira & co. are already unleashing new songs on this one, "Frankie M" and "Don't Go." Opening the show was Norwegian art pop musician Jenny Hval, whose music is much quieter than Swans but was still a great fit (and the crowd treated her with respect). Pictures of the show are in this post.

Swans and Jenny do it again at Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (5/19), which is sold out.

More pictures from Bowery Ballroom below...

Continue reading "Swans & Jenny Hval played their first of two NYC shows (pics from Bowery Ballroom)"

by Andrew Sacher

Swans

The colossal new Swans album, To Be Kind comes out on May 13 via Young God, and we've just got another taste of it. Following the funky "A Little God in My Hands," they've just revealed another one you can move your feet too (again, as far as Swans songs go at least), "Oxygen." Of course it's also utterly maniacal. Check it out, via The Quietus, below.

Swans' tour with Jenny Hval hits NYC on May 18 at Bowery Ballroom and May 19 at MHOW. Tickets for those shows are still available.

Continue reading "Swans release "Oxygen" from 'To Be Kind' (listen)"

by Andrew Sacher

Swans at Warsaw in 2013 (more by Caroline Harrison)
Swans

As mentioned, NYC experimental rock legends Swans will release their new album, To Be Kind, which features St. Vincent, Cold Specks and Little Annie, on May 13 via Young God. Over the weekend they released a track from it, "A Little God in My Hands," which is pretty catchy and funky as far as Swans songs go. Check that out, along with all 6 panels of the album's cover art, below.

The band also have a previously discussed tour, which hits NYC on May 18 at Bowery Ballroom and May 19 at MHOW with Norway's Jenny Hval. Tickets for both NYC shows are still available. The band also just announced more North American dates. No others in NYC, but there's a few new Northeast dates in July including a New Haven show.

Updated dates are listed, with the new song and cover arts, below...

Continue reading "listen to the new Swans song +++ updated tour dates"

NXNE

NXNE returns to various Toronto venues from June 13-22, and since we last spoke the lineup has expanded. It now includes Spoon, Sleigh Bells, Spiritualized, tUnE-yArDs, A$AP Ferg, Metz, Ryan Hemsworth, Swans, Goat, Oneohtrix Point Never, Fuck Buttons, Low, Tim Hecker, Eagulls, Glasser, Kelela, Ratking, Perfect Pussy, Small Black, Le1f, The Pizza Underground, Swearin', Dan Croll, DJ Jonathan Toubin, Astro, Juan Wauters, Mutual Benefit, Guerilla Toss, Calvin Love, Alvvays, Hunters, Saint Rich and more Those join previously announcd artists like St. Vincent, Speedy Ortiz, Danny Brown, Courtney Barnett, Mac DeMarco and more. Badges and wristbands are still on sale.

Swans at Warsaw in 2013 (more by Caroline Harrison)
Swans

NYC experimental rock vets Swans have a new album featuring St. Vincent and others on the way titled To Be Kind (due 5/13 via Young God), and though we're still waiting on a full tour, the band have just announced two hometown shows following Michael Gira's solo tour. The NYC shows happen on May 18 at Bowery Ballroom and May 19 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Opening both of those shows is Norway's Jenny Hval, who in addition to also having a song called "The Seer," is sure to be an excellent prepper for Swans' earth-shattering set. Tickets for those shows go on sale Friday (2/14) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (2/12) at noon. All currently known dates are listed below.

UPDATE: More dates announced, all of which are listed below.

In addition to the new Swans album, the band's 1989 goth/baroque/folk album, Burning World (that Gira is not a fan of), is being reissued on vinyl via the 1972 label on March 4. You can pre-order it now via Midheaven.

All dates are listed, with a couple videos, below...

Continue reading "Swans playing US shows w/ Jenny Hval after Gira's solo tour"

"Recording with Michael Gira and Swans was a dream come true. Proud to have been a part of an epicly great record. #johncongleton" - St. Vincent

by Andrew Sacher

Swans at Warsaw in 2013 (more by Caroline Harrison)
Swans

Swans are finally set to follow up their excellent 2012 LP The Seer with a new album, To Be Kind, on May 13 via Michael Gira's Young God label in North American and Mute worldwide. Gira points out that some of the material was developed during their 2012/13 tour, so though the full tracklist hasn't been revealed yet, it seems likely that the title track is the opening song on Swans' recent live album, Not Here / Not Now. Another song from that live album, "Bring the Sun," has been confirmed for the new LP too.

Excitingly, the album features vocals "throughout the record" from Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent (!), plus their Mute labelmate Cold Specks and cabaret singer Little Annie, who has opened for Swans before. Gira produced the album with John Congleton, who also produced the new St. Vincent album. Like The Seer, this one will be just over two hours long.

For this album Gira will be joined by Norman Westberg, Christoph Hahn, Phil Puleo, Thor Harris, and Christopher Pravdica.

The only currently announced Swans date is ATP Iceland, but Gira just announced a solo tour of Europe. All of those dates are listed, along with a live video of "To Be Kind," below...

Continue reading "Swans announce new album, 'To Be Kind,' featuring St. Vincent, Cold Specks, and Little Annie"

by Doug Moore

Young Widows at Le Poisson Rouge, 2013 (more by Caroline Harrison)

Though Young Widows have only been around since 2006 and only have three LPs under their belts, they already feel like something of an institution -- noisy rock music is becoming increasingly popular, and their ventures into the field have been as strong as anyone's.

Young Widows have also changed their approach substantially with each album, which makes their upcoming two-night NYC stand at Saint Vitus on 1/26 and 1/27 exciting. On Sunday the 26th (tix here), they'll be playing their as-yet-unreleased fourth album Easy Pain in its entirety, with a supporting set from longtime Swans guitarist Norman Westberg. On Monday the 27th (tix here), they'll be trotting out their second album (and my personal favorite) Old Wounds, with support from Phantom Family Halo. They'll be doing the same thing at The Boot & Saddle in Philly on 1/28 and 1/29, with Easy Pain & support from Fight Amp on the 28th (tix here) and Old Wounds plus Pygmy Lush on the 29th (tix here).

Stream a few Old Wounds-era Young Widows jams below...

Continue reading "Young Widows playing upcoming LP & 'Old Wounds' in full in NYC & Philly w/ various openers (dates)"

Starred at The Paramount in July (more by Greg Cristman)
Starred

NYC goth label Pendu Sound has announced that it will do its CMJ showcase at Europa on October 17 this year. It's a lineup of all local duos, including Starred, Tempers, and Azar Swan (whose members were both in Religious to Damn). Tickets for the showcase on sale now.

Meanwhile, Tempers have other hometown shows coming up too, including a previously mentioned Union Pool (9/13) show with Xeno & Oaklander and Bootblacks (tickets); and another supporting Martin Rev (of Suicide) at his Glasslands (10/9) show with Infinity Shred (tickets). Stream their recent "Strange Harvest" single and their cover of Swans' "Killing For Company," below.

Meanwhile, Starred recently made a video for "LA Drugs" off 2012's Prison to Prison EP, and they had one of the standout tracks on this year's Sub Pop 1000 compilation. We recently caught them in Brooklyn and Long Island on their tour with Courtney Love.

All streams below...

Continue reading "Tempers playing Pendu CMJ w/ Starred & Azar Swan, opening for Xeno & Oaklander and Martin Rev (of Suicide)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield

Swans / Solange / fans
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Soft spoken indie rockers Belle and Sebastian were a reprieve of sorts to festival goers who had spent the day seeing abrasive rock bands and the eardrum-shattering Swans set earlier in the afternoon (I forgot to bring earplugs...). A slight drizzle started around the band's fourth or fifth song but did not cut the show short like yesterday. Frontman Stuart Murdoch charmed audience members with his kind words, stating Chicago is much more relaxing than New York. Murdoch also engaged with audience members, inviting fans on stage, and even letting one fan draw on his face with mascara. Despite performing in a large festival setting during the headlining slot, the band managed to play one of the most intimate shows of the day. [BV Chicago]
Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 continued on Saturday (7/20) with its second of three days. Day two featured a good deal of bands on the heavy/intense side including Swans, Savages, Metz, Pissed Jeans, and White Lung; some indie legends like Belle & Sebastian, Low, and The Breeders; and some representation from the electronic/R&B world too, including Solange, Rustie, Andy Stott, and Ryan Hemsworth. Of course there were even more artists rounding out the lineup, and pictures from the second day are in this post. Even more are on BV Chicago.

If you haven't been keeping up with our coverage of Pitchfork festival, day 1 pictures and review are HERE, and more pictures are HERE and HERE. More from day 2 below...

Continue reading "Pitchfork Fest 2013 day 2 in pics: Belle & Sebastian, Solange, Low, Breeders, Swans, Metz, Merchandise, Rustie & more"

Pitchfork Festival 2012 (more by Fred Pessaro)
Pitchfork

As mentioned, Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival is returning to Union Park from July 19-21 with sets from Bjork, Joanna Newsom, Belle & Sebastian, R. Kelly, Solange, Rustie, Low, The Breeders, Swans, Savages, Merchandise, Julia Holter, KEN mode, White Lung, TNGHT, Evian Christ, Waxahatchee, El-P, Killer Mike, and more across three stages (Red, Blue, and Green). The set times for the festival have now been announced, and you can check out the full day-by-day schedule below.

3-day passes are sold out, but single day tickets are still available.

Continue reading "Pitchfork Festival announces full 2013 schedule"

by Caroline Harrison

Swans

The Northside Festival kicked off last night (June 14) with a number of performances across north Brooklyn, including Swans and Chelsea Wolfe at the Warsaw. Wolfe played her haunting, mellow set better suited to a quieter, smaller venue, but it provided a pleasant contrast for the aural onslaught of Swans.

"Fun" is not a word you usually hear used to describe the infamous New York band Swans. They formed in the early 80s when much of New York City -- and famously Alphabet City, where they practiced -- was a horrifying shit-hole. Their early material embodies the stress, the pain, the aggression, the terror of living in the city at that time. They play painfully loud live shows. Enigmatic front man Michael Gira is known for throwing fits on stage. The first time I saw them play, he stopped a performance mid-song to yell at multi-instrumentalist Thor Harris.

But during last night's performance, the band was visibly enjoying themselves.

I saw band members actually smile at one another. Craggy pedal steel player Christoph Hahn pulled faces at Thor. Michael Gira cracked jokes. When taking their bows, Gira even called Thor Harris "the hairiest nipples in the west." (... Accurate)

Yet their music was still as punishing as ever. Those foolish enough not to bring earplugs most certainly regret it today. Early in the set Gira sneered through the menacing "Coward." The band hammered out a fifty-minute version of "the Seer," the title track off their last album.

Tonight Torche, KEN mode, Lo-Pan, and Inter Arma play the Invisible Oranges showcase at 285 Kent. Greg Ginn's Black Flag plays Warsaw with The Men, among others (not to be confused with FLAG, even though you probably wish you could forget both bands ever "reformed") . Check out our guide to this year's Northside Festival for other awesome stuff that's happening, including the free McCarren Park shows.

More photos from Warsaw are below...

Continue reading "Swans & Chelsea Wolfe played Warsaw at Northside Fest (pics)"

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