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Swans - To Be Kind

  by Paul Waller

published: 15 / 7 / 2014

Swans - To Be Kind
Label: Mute Records
Format: CD


Epic and enthralling double CD new album from New York experimental outfit, Swans

This Swans record has been out for some time now, but as is the case with magazine deadlines sometimes albums come in after submission dates and what we have on our hands now appears to already be somewhat old hat in respect to the modern day instantly everything now phenomenon that the internet age has brought upon us. Even so with an album not as fully formed, not as whole, not as damned near perfect as it could possibly be we may have gotten away with it here at Pennyblackmusic and just slipped it in under the radar, but this new Swans LP is the best thing that the band have ever put their name to. This in itself is an incredible feat considering the band's extensive discography spans back to 1983, and includes such masterworks as ‘Greed’ (1986) and ‘The Great Annihilator’ (1995). Hell, those who are fanatics of the band like me couldn’t possibly believe the band might be able to trump 2012’s ‘The Seer’ but yes… yes they have and now this two hour monster has been out a while I think it’s time to collectively pick our jaws up off of the floor. For my money the whole of the half hour long ‘Bring the Sun / Toussaint L’Ouverture’ is the true centre piece of the album. Ranging in scope from a Jesus Lizard-esque groove to a laid back and schizoid John Zorn pounding the listener, it feels as if we have been unceremoniously dumped into a real life 'Evil Dead II' situation where due to the craziness that is thrown at us, we know that we may not come back as quite the same people after delving in. And what’s more after several listens of the whole of ‘To Be Kind’ I still feel the same. Other bands and I mean this, ALL other bands need to take heed, this record lays down the blueprint of how to grow old disgracefully. Due to the fact it has been out a while now some readers may feel that all the above is a moot point. But if by chance you haven’t come across this before or the extravagant bbut never indulgent running time has put you off picking up a copy then let me tell you that this new Swans release deserves all the 10/10 accolades it has been receiving. It is unbelievable that a record this long can not only hold the attention of someone throughout its playing length, but that it does this with some of the most listenable and terrifying music put to plastic in history is simply breathtaking.

Track Listing:-
1 Screen Shot
2 Just a Little Boy (For Chester Burnet
3 A Little God In My Hands
4 Bring the Sun / Toussaint l'ouvertur
5 Some Things We Do
6 She Loves Us
7 Kirsten Supine
8 Oxygen
9 Nathalie Neal
10 To Be Kind

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Interview (2013)
Swans - Interview
Paul Waller talks to New York-based experimental musician Michael Gira about taking his abrasive band Swans back out on the road again and their recent album, 'The Seer'
Interview (2010)
Interview (2010)

live reviews

KOKO, London, 15/11/2012
Chrisn O' Toole watches reformed American post-punks Swans play an intense, but brilliant set at the KOKO in London
Academy, Manchester, 30/10/2010



The Glowing Man (2016)
Overwhelming but repetitive double album and the final one in the present line-up of Swans before it calls it a day
White Light from the Mouth of Infinity/ Love of Life (2016)
The Seer (2012)
The Great Annihilator (2002)

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