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New York, United States (1982 – 1997, 2010 – present)

Swans is a band from New York, United States, active from 1982 to 1997, reformed in 2010, led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira.

Marginally associated with the scene at first, their original sound was slow and extremely heavy, with live performances that were often so brutal and physical that in a number of instances certain audience members were made ill, police were called and venues were shut down. This early physical sound is possibly best heard on the live album Public Castration Is a Good Idea.

Their initial style shifted a little by the time Swans released seminal twin albums Greed and Holy Money. The music had sped up, at times being even more punishing than their earlier output. Drum machines and samples were slightly more prominent. Michael Gira was joined vocally by Jarboe which gave the band a broader sonic range. Tracks featuring Jarboe were often quieter, even pretty, acting as counterpoint to the more harrowing themes on the albums. Over time, this style would come to dominate Swans’ output, although they somehow seem to have been able to make a strummed acoustic guitar seem as brutal as their earlier amped-up assaults. The lush instrumentation of their albums from the late 1980s and the 1990’s anticipated the birth of post-rock.

Swans eventually broke up in 1997; Gira went on to release some solo work, later forming the band The Angels of Light, who continue many of the themes and styles found in (later) Swans. Jarboe releases solo work and frequently works with other bands and artists; recently she released an album with Neurosis, a group clearly heavily influenced by Swans.


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  • oktember_b

    @Horse_Deceased yea same, jarboe is hella underappreciated n she basically gets the "kim gordon treatment" etc. like have yall not listened to that live version of I Crawled on Swans Are Dead w/ her on vocals?? pshh cmon

    Yesterday 3:42am Reply
  • SimonWoerner

    forever beautiful.

    23 Jan 8:04pm Reply
  • cadavreflex

    I will always understand the immutable blooming glory of this band.

    22 Jan 11:16pm Reply
  • tenrapid

    Swans, Neubauten & Ride... can't wait for Primavera!

    22 Jan 9:20am Reply
  • rewinddude

    I think a lot of people miss Jarboe's contribution to the band

    20 Jan 9:56pm Reply
  • deathsdemise123

    Beautifully fucking unsettling.

    19 Jan 7:30pm Reply
  • IntoTheOrchard

    All the people are fucking; they're just a pile of writhing selfish bless...

    18 Jan 5:23am Reply
  • Deaddesu

    музыка для универмагов

    16 Jan 10:25pm Reply
  • Jacqu3z

    I will never understand the hype surrounding this band.

    16 Jan 10:15pm Reply
  • DarkAndOminous

    Anyone know why the track listing for the second disc of Cop/Young God/Greed/Holy Money is so weird? Doesn't seem like the right track order for those albums...

    15 Jan 5:40pm Reply
  • Horse_Deceased

    I know I am in the minority, but I really miss Jarboe's vocal contribution to the band.

    15 Jan 11:41am Reply
  • Deluxone

    Последний альбом - попса ебаная

    11 Jan 9:47am Reply
  • Keolia

    To Be Kind is incredible.

    9 Jan 8:08pm Reply
  • Pizzahaeter

    Sounds like St. Vincent covering Lorde.

    5 Jan 7:43pm Reply
  • nephilim777

    To be kind album of the year!!!!!!!!!

    5 Jan 12:34pm Reply
  • seppukuharakiri

    What I listen to when I want to feel like a forest lit up by a supernova explosion: the ethereal second before it destroys the scenery.

    5 Jan 11:58am Reply
  • nihillbilly

    Hello buddy. Mork Mork Mork Mork

    5 Jan 2:31am Reply
  • Mork_Laerer

    Hello buddies, feel free to follow me on Soundcloud? I will really appreciate it.

    5 Jan 12:52am Reply
  • Keolia

    Swans is swell.

    4 Jan 4:30pm Reply
  • Nimbie

    Wow, A Hanging was my first song in 2015. Quite a way to start the year.

    31 Dec 2014 Reply
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