|Swans — Not Here / Not Now (2013)|
Swans — Not Here / Not Now
Θ Influential American noise rock band with an abrasive sound and glacier-speed tempos, emerging from the thriving New York underground of the '80s.
Θ Concerts in Barcelona and Melbourne in 2012 and 2013 (Live Album).
Formed: 1982 in New York, NY
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Album release: September 14, 2013
Record Label: Young God
Duration: 56:55 + 62:37 => 119:30
01 “To Be Kind” 16:53
02 “Just a Little Boy” 10:04
03 “Coward” 7:23
04 “She Loves Us!” 15:14
05 “Oxygen…” 7:21
01 “The Seer” / “Bring the Sun” / “Toussaint L’ouverture” 44:32
02 “Nathalie Neal” 7:54
03 “Kirsten Supine” (Demo) 5:18
04 “Screen Shot” (Demo) 4:53
Θ The album shares its name with the title of a song from Angels of Light's 2007 record, We Are Him. The cover art, which was drawn by artist Nicole Boitos, was uniquely "further drawn upon, personalized and signed by Michael Gira" for each copy.
Producer: Michael Gira
Θ Michael Gira — guitar, vocals (1982—1997, 2010–present)
Θ Christoph Hahn — guitar, double lap steel (2010–present)
Θ Thor Harris — drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, keyboards, clarinet, violin, gizmos (2010–present)
Θ Chris Pravdica — bass guitar, gizmos (2010–present)
Θ Phil Puleo — drums, gizmos, percussion, Appalachian dulcimer (1995—1997, 2010–present)
Θ Norman Westberg — guitar (1983—1995, 2010–present) © Swans at the Regency Ballroom last night (Swans; monday sept 10 2012)
By Josiah Hughes
Θ Earlier this year, moody noise rock juggernauts Swans promised a new live release and studio album. Now, they’ve made good on the first half of that promise, delivering a live double album.
Θ The new record is called Not Here / Not Now, and cobbles together two discs worth of material from the band’s recent touring. The limited edition double CD set boasts handmade packaging, with art from a linoleum block print courtesy of Nicole Boitos. Each copy includes hand-drawn doodles and writing from the band’s own M. Gira.
The live album, which consists of 2000 copies, was recorded during the band’s concerts in Barcelona and Melbourne in 2012 and 2013. It features live versions of The Seer, new unrecorded songs, and two “crude acoustic demos of songs for the upcoming studio album”. Fortaken: http://exclaim.ca/
Θ The song will feature "acoustic guitar and voice, with customers’ name in the song, praising the customer, his or her ancestors, thoughts, dreams, and future or past lives"
By Jenn Pelly on October 14, 2013 at 02:43 p.m.
Θ Swans are currently at work on their next album, the follow-up to their 2012 epic The Seer. Recorded at Sonic Ranch studios near El Paso, Texas, the record is being produced by Michael Gira and engineered by John Congleton with an expected release in spring 2014. To raise funds for the record, they're selling a new live album, Not Here/Not Now, which Gira first announced this summer. The handmade, limited edition 2xCD release is available to order now from Young God.
Θ Recorded during 2012-2013 tour stops in Barcelona and Melbourne, Not Here/Not Now has live versions of new unrecorded songs, as well as two "crude acoustic demos of songs for the new Swans studio album, in progress," according to a press release. In the release, Gira described Not Here/Not Now as "a warm and soothing wind of narcotic bliss." Each piece of cover art, drawn by artist Nicole Boitos, were uniquely "further drawn upon/personalized and signed by M. Gira."
Θ Along with the 2xCD, various other options are available with special rewards for different monetary offerings — including a signed copy of the new Swans LP once it's out, a live DVD, an "executive producer" credit on the new album, a signed, screenprinted poster of a drawing by Gira, a VIP guestlist spot (and a meetup with the band) at a future show, and a "secret gift." However, most surprising of all, for $500 Gira will write you a song:
Θ YES THIS IS REAL: M. Gira will record and send to customer a video of a simple, short, original song, acoustic guitar and voice, with customers’ name in the song, praising the customer, his or her ancestors, thoughts, dreams, and future or past lives, forever . This video will be made by m.gira, sitting at his desk, at home, singing directly to you, and you only.
Θ Gira calls Swans' plans for the new album "RIDICULOUSLY OVERAMBITIOUS" and notes, "THESE DAYS, EACH RECORD FEELS LIKE IT COULD BE THE LAST. OUR HOPE IS THAT IF THAT TURNS OUT TO BE THE CASE, IT WILL BE JUSTIFIED." He also elaborated on how the last year has made him feel:
At this stage of the game, it has been touching, stirring, inspirational, even soul-lifting to see our audiences increasing to such an extent, and to witness people finally, finally, seeming to just open up and share the experience of making these sounds with us. It really is a shared experience, and it feels like you-all are participating with us — though we still “call the shots,” — as it should be! This last bit of touring has been the most gratifying, musically and spiritually, of my life, and I thank you here for making it possible.
Θ After the tracklist, watch a video of the Not Here/Not Now track "Toussaint L’ouverture", performed at this year's Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain. (http://pitchfork.com/)
Artist Biography by Thom Jurek
Θ Swans were born during the heyday of New York's no wave reaction to punk rock, on the Lower East Side. Led by brainchild, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Michael Gira, the group was formed after the demise of his first New York outfit, Circus Mort. Θ Swans' first lineup consisted of Gira, guitarist Sue Hanel, and drummer Jonathan Kane. The trio played with kindred spirits Sonic Youth and did some rudimentary recordings that showcased the abrasive, percussively assaultive sonics Swans were later identified with. These initial sides surfaced on the Body to Body, Job to Job compilation. A different lineup included Kane, guitarist Bob Pezzola, and Daniel Galli-Duani on saxophone; they released a self-titled EP in 1982. The personnel changed again for the band's powerful debut, Filth, issued in 1983 on Germany's Zensor imprint. Θ It included Gira, Kane, guitarist Norman Westberg, bassist Harry Crosby, and percussionist/drummer Roli Mosimann.
Θ Cop. Swans began to garner an audience in Europe. Kane left after Filth was released, and Swans, who were becoming known for their sheer musical brutality as well as Gira's lyrics about violence, extreme sex, power, rage, and the margins of human depravity (sometimes in the same song), began to garner a cult following at home with the release of 1984's Cop. The sound was essentially the same: extreme volume, slower than molasses tempos, detuned guitars, distorted electronics, and overamped drums and percussion, but there were discernible traces of something approaching melody in Gira's compositions and vocalizing. Further evidence of this new "accessibility" was heard on 1985's untitled EP, which featured the provocatively titled "Raping a Slave." It later became the EP's title. Swans' touring was relentless, and while anything even approaching popularity avoided them in the United States, their European audiences grew exponentially.
Θ The band issued the EP Time Is Money (Bastard) and the full-length Greed at the beginning of 1986 and another album, Holy Money, and the A Screw EP later. Holy Money marked a real change in the band's sound, though its tactics were largely the same: the entrance into the band of two new influential presences: vocalist/keyboardist Jarboe and bassist Algis Kizys, who began, albeit subtly at first, to shift the band's attack into something less assaultive sonically yet no less jarring emotionally. Jarboe and Kizys would remain members of Swans until the group's extended hiatus began in 1997. Jarboe, who actually was a member of the band as early as Holy Money, would become a settled, foil-like presence for Gira as co-lead vocalist. Her presence signified the addition of a new set of dynamics and textures to the more brutal soundscapes the band put forth in its past. That said, when called upon to do so, she was no less primal or forceful than Gira as a singer.
Θ Real Love In 1987 the band moved to Caroline Records and issued Children of God, a double album that marked the real transition between the two parts of the band’s sound. Gira openly embraced the softer aspects being added to Swans' sonic architecture. Further evidence is provided by the beginning of Gira and Jarboe’s new side project, Skin (World of Skin in the United States), whose first album, Blood, Women, Roses, on which Jarboe was featured on lead vocals, was released. A subsequent album, Shame, Humility, Revenge, with Gira on lead vocals, was also recorded at the same time, but released a year later. The German-only Swans set Real Love, a semi-official bootleg, was issued in 1987. Another double album, Feel Good Now, was issued by Rough Trade Records in 1988. Interestingly, despite Swans gaining attention for their own material (they regularly appeared in the pages of the British weeklies and each new release brought more laudatory ink) and even placing albums on the indie charts' lower rungs, it was ironically a single, a cover of Joy Division's immortal “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” that climbed the independent charts in June, and nearly topped them.
Θ The Burning World Fantastically, Swans were offered — and signed — a contract with major label MCA Records. “Saved,” their first single for the label, was almost mainstream, given the band’s roots. The subsequent album, The Burning World, produced by Bill Laswell, featured another cover; this one a gorgeous reading of Blind Faith's “Can’t Find My Way Home.” The aggressive, savage brutality of the band’s earlier recorded sound had been almost entirely supplanted by a much more somber, elegiac, and acoustic approach to music-making, with lyrics sung (rather than shouted or screamed) in duet between Gira and Jarboe; Westberg played as much acoustic guitar as electric, Jarboe’s keyboards all but floated through the mix, and Kizys employed the upper ranges of his bass as never before. The record didn't sell enough to please MCA, however, and the band was dropped.
Θ Ten Songs for Another World Live performances from Swans were another story. The group continued to play a violent music at outrageous volumes that were punishing for audience members, and sometimes displayed shocking and provocative stage antics. Crowds only grew. With critical backlash mounting and the band faced with new listeners, Gira gambled — or reacted, depending on whose point of view one listens to. Instead of following up The Burning World with another album, he formed his own label, Young God, and spent the next few years reissuing earlier Swans material. Gira and Jarboe issued their final World of Skin album, Ten Songs for Another World, in 1990, but Swans didn’t release another album until the stellar White Light from the Mouth of Infinity appeared in 1991. It was their most commercially viable yet adventurously experimental set to date, with a myriad of textures, dynamics, and sophisticated production techniques. Various forms of electronics were added to the other instruments, creating depth and dimension in the band’s sound. The band toured the album in front of its largest audiences. In 1992 Swans issued the full-length Love of Life and the live set Omniscience.
Θ Beautiful People Ltd. In 1993 Jarboe released her first solo project, Beautiful People Ltd., in collaboration with keyboardist Lary Seven, offering an entirely different side of her mysterious multi-octave vocal persona in Swans — it was a collection of neo-psychedelic pop songs. Gira, meanwhile, wrote fiction in earnest, resulting in the publication of his first book, The Consumer and Other Stories, published by Henry Rollins' 2.13.61 Press in 1995. Swans also resurfaced with the lauded The Great Annihilator. Jarboe issued her second solo offering, Sacrificial Cake, and Gira released his first solo album, Drainland, to boot. After touring with all the new material, the band reconvened later in the year to begin recording Soundtracks for the Blind, which was issued by Young God in 1996. The band did a final tour before Gira announced in early 1997 that Swans were finished. He began a new recording project that focused on his songwriting called the Angels of Light, and continued running Young God, a label that became an innovative force in independent music. Jarboe pursued a successful solo career, often employing former members of Swans as well as collaborating with artists including Tool's Maynard James Keenan and Jesu's Justin Broadrick, to name just two of the dozens. Gira also continued writing and publishing fiction.
Θ My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky In 2009, news surfaced via the Young God home page that Gira might reconvene Swans for a set of songs he had written. In early 2010 the words “SWANS ARE NOT DEAD” appeared on his MySpace page. The new version of the band consisted of former as well as new members including guitarists Westberg and Christoph Hahn, drummer/percussionist Phil Puleo and drummer Thor Harris, and bassist Chris Pravdica. The band recorded the album My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, which was released in September of 2010 on Young God. The live album We Rose from Your Bed with the Sun in Our Head followed in 2012. In August of that year, Swans released the sprawling double album, The Seer, an album that Gira claimed was 30 years in the making.
Θ Filth (1983)
Θ Cop (1984)
Θ Greed (1986)
Θ Holy Money (1986)
Θ Children of God (1987)
Θ The Burning World (1989)
Θ White Light from the Mouth of Infinity (1991)
Θ Love of Life (1992)
Θ The Great Annihilator (1995)
Θ Soundtracks for the Blind (1996)
Θ My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky (2010)
Θ The Seer (2012)
Θ Not Here / Not Now (2013)
|Swans — Not Here / Not Now (2013)|