The Seer, the new double album that follows Swans’ productive 2010 reunion and studio return, is a space in which to wander in furious mediation — as songwriter Michael Gira puts it, a “total experience.” Dense without losing immediacy, the album stretches over two hours of constantly shifting aural landscapes. This is a work to be enjoyed second by second, losing your mind to its deceptive repetitions.
Holland’s annual Roadburn Festival begins today, featuring some of the most adventurous names in metal (and beyond) from across the globe over four days of festivities. This year’s ALARM favorites include: Ancestors, Michael Gira (of Swans), Killing Joke, Om, Sleep,Pelican, Manorexia (JG Thirlwell),Nachtmystium,Barn Owl,Jucifer, La Otracina,Justin K. Broadrick, Saviours, Tombs, and The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation.
See the complete schedule here. Though the festival is sold out, it’s never too early to plan for 2013!
On September 22, reunited post-punk band Swanstook to the stage at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago to perform tracks from its 2010 album, My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky. The record, Swans’ first studio album in 14 years, sparked a year-long tour, which will be coming to an end on October 1 at All Tomorrow’s Parties in New Jersey.
Swans made a name for itself in the ’80s and ’90s with its intense live shows, and this particular date was no exception. At one point, front-man Michael Gira stomped a press photographer’s camera against a monitor, and followed that with a dirty gesture to another photographer. After the show, lap-steel guitarist Christoph Hahn personally apologized to the photographer, saying, “He gets that way with us sometimes…” Tellingly, Gira once said of his band name, “Swans are majestic, beautiful-looking creatures — with really ugly temperaments.” –text by Mojdeh Stoakley
The members of Brooklyn-based metal trio Tombs take pride in their work ethic and don’t bother worrying about what others might think. As for the band’s sound, front-man Mike Hill says, “The music itself is just intensity.”
Producer/multi-instrumentalist Sanford Parker (Minsk, Buried at Sea) and saxophonist Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) have long and assorted ties in and around Chicago, where the two reside and contribute to the city’s vibrant underground.
Parker, in addition to his main gig in Minsk, has produced the likes of Pelican, Rwake, Unearthly Trance, Jai Alai Savant, Lair of the Minotaur, and Nachtmystium, and Lamont, outside of Yakuza, recently finished recording a solo album and regularly plays with other experimental metal and noise outfits (Decayist, Sick Gazelle) as well as improvised-jazz players (Jeff Parker, Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis).
Each man’s résumé is a mile long, and now the two have come together to pay tribute to Chicago’s late-’80s and early-’90s Wax Trax! industrial scene with their new project, Circle of Animals. A diverse and widely recognizable cast of drummers rounds out the lineup on this release, with names like Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste), John Herndon (Tortoise), John Merryman (Cephalic Carnage), and Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) lending their talents.
Though he’s been hailed as a twelve-string-guitar virtuoso for the better part of five years, James Blackshaw didn’t really graduate to the Jedi class of contemporary instrumental artists until the spring of 2009, when he made his much anticipated debut on Michael Gira’s Young God Records.