Best albums of 2014: Swans - To Be Kind
Concert Monkey takes a look at 20 of the best albums of 2014
Not a countdown. Not a Top 20.
Next entry: Best albums of 2014: Iordache(RO) – Garden Beast
There is no sickness worse for me than words that to be kind must lie. Aeschylus
I doubt there were many out there to expect another Swans album just two years after it predecessor, considering that in 2006 a Swans reunion was out of the question. The Seer was a miracle. To Be Kind was a huge wonderful surprise. And a Swans album titled To Be Kind … you need straight away to know what it is about, because undeniably this can’t be taken literally. Gira follows the same musical legacy as on The Seer, with tracks of repetitive rhythms circularly combined as in exorcising ritual, but the repetition is never exactly the same. The lyrics follow the same approach, short phrasing, repetitive, but annihilating any sense established just two words before… an incredible work of finding meaning in nihilism and rupture. By the end of the album, you still don’t know if it was about love, kindness, childhood, bad things or hope. I guess it was about none of these. I guess it was indeed about being lost and found in sound. Reaching the ecstasy, as Gira so often declares.
Released: May 12, 2014
Genre: Experimental rock
Label: Young God (Michael Gira)
Producer: Michael Gira
Concert review: SWANS – public interview and concert @Ancienne Belgique Brussels - 25 September 2014
FULL MUSICIAN CREDITS:Swans: Michael Gira - vocals, electric and acoustic guitar; Norman Westberg - electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals; Phil Puleo - drums, percussion, dulcimer, piano, keys, vocals; Christoph Hahn - lap steel guitars, electric guitar, vocals; Thor Harris - drums / percussion, vibes and bells, wind instruments, handmade viola, vocals; Christopher Pravdica - bass guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals. Honorary Swan Forever: Bill Rieflin - (on multiple songs throughout the record) drums / percussion, piano, bass, guitar, synths, keyboards. Guest Musicians: Duet with MG on Some Things We Do - Little Annie. Strings and String Arrangement on Some Things We Do - Julia Kent. Background Vocals on Nathalie Neal, Bring the Sun, Screen Shot, Kirsten Supine - St. Vincent (appears courtesy of Loma Vista Recordings). Background vocals on Bring the Sun - Cold Specks (appears courtesy of Mute Artists LTD). Background Vocals on She Loves Us, A Little God in My Hands - Jennifer Church. More Musicians (Dallas): Violin - Daniel Hart; Mandolin - Rex Emerson; Trombone - David Pierce; Trumpet - Evan Weiss; Piano, Harpsichord, Synth - Sean Kirkpatrick; Piano – John Congleton.
Full album audition on: GROOVESHARK
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