Swans announce new album The Glowing Man and share title-track excerpt, make March Madness seem retroactively frivolous

Swans announce new album The Glowing Man and share title-track excerpt, make March Madness seem retroactively frivolous

As legendary indie-rock hipster and inventor of pants-cuffing Tommy “T-Sterns” Eliot once aptly remarked in between bites of his non-GMO peach: “April is the coolest month!”

And oh, how right he was. Because after releasing his illimitable apocalypse-rock outfit’s groovy album To Be Kind back in the hazy, hypnagogic, pre-Trump days of 2014 and positing a romantically uncertain future for the project following the release of its next album , Swans bandleader and Young God founder Michael “Cowboy Hat” Gira has JUST ANNOUNCED announced the details of said next album!

That’s right, woodchuck-chuckers. Ground zero! The new, band-ruining LP is called The Glowing Man, and it’s officially a-comin’ out “on double CD and deluxe, triple-gatefold vinyl, with a poster and digital download” (and as a double CD/DVD featuring “a Swans live performance from 2015”) on Young God (and Mute outside North America) on June 17. Mark your doomsday calendar. Let’s do this.

The John Congleton-produced farewell album is currently available for pre-order, and you can listen to the sound of the band dancing itself orgiastically and raucously TO DEATH on an excerpt of the title-track “The Glowing Man” down below.

And oh, one more thing… before the group-as-we-know-it says goodbye forever, they’ve decided to go ahead and tour the ever-loving-fuck out of the PLANET EARTH one last time this summer and fall, too. Check out the North American and European dates, after this potent statement from Gira in which he kindly breaks down the tracks for us and grapples with nothing less than, oh, THE FUTURE OF SWANS! Shantih, shantih, shantih… :’-(

In 2009 when I made the decision to restart my musical group, Swans, I had no idea where it would lead. I knew that if I took the road of mining the past or revisiting the catalog, that it would be fruitless and stultifying. After much thought about how to make this an adventure that would instead lead the music forward into unexpected terrain, I chose the five people with whom to work that I believed would most ably provide a sense of surprise, and even uncertainty, while simultaneously embodying the strength and confidence to ride the river of intention that flows from the heart of the sound wherever it would lead us - and what’s the intention? LOVE!

And so finally this LOVE has now led us, with the release of the new and final recording from this configuration of Swans, The Glowing Man, through four albums (three of which contain more complexity, nuance and scope than I would have ever dreamed possible), several live releases, various fundraiser projects, countless and seemingly endless tours and rehearsals, and a generally exhausting regimen that has left us stunned but still invigorated and thrilled to see this thing through to its conclusion. I hereby thank my brothers and collaborators for their commitment to whatever truth lies at the center of the sound. I’m decidedly not a Deist, but on a few occasions - particularly in live performance - it’s been my privilege, through our collective efforts, to just barely grasp something of the infinite in the sound and experience generated by a force that is definitely greater than all of us combined. When talking with audience members after the shows or through later correspondence, it’s also been a true privilege to discover they’ve experienced something like this too. Whatever the force is that has led us through this extended excursion, it’s been worthwhile for many of us, and I’m grateful for what has been the most consistently challenging and fulfilling period of my musical life.

Going forward, post the touring associated with The Glowing Man, I’ll continue to make music under the name Swans, with a revolving cast of collaborators. I have little idea what shape the sound will take, which is a good thing. Touring will definitely be less extensive, I’m certain of that! Whatever the future holds, I’ll miss this particular locus of human and musical potential immensely: Norman Westberg, Kristof Hahn, Phil Puleo, Christopher Pravdica, Thor Harris, and myself mixed in there somewhere, too.

I wrote the song “When Will I Return?” specifically for Jennifer Gira to sing. It’s a tribute to her strength, courage, and resilience in the face of a deeply scarring experience she once endured, and that she continues to overcome daily.

The song “The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black” uses some words I wrote in 1982 or so that Sonic Youth used for their song “The World Looks Red,” back in the day. The music and melody used here in the current version are completely different. While working up material for this new album, I had a basic acoustic guitar version of the song and was stumped for words. For reasons unknown to me, the lyric I’d so long ago left in my typewriter in plain view at my living and rehearsal space (the latter of which Sonic Youth shared at the time) and which Thurston plucked for use with my happy permission, popped into my head and I thought “Why not?” The person that wrote those words well over three decades ago bears little resemblance to who I am now, but I believe it remains a useful text, so “Why not?”. Maybe, in a way, it closes the circle.

The song “The Glowing Man” contains a section of the song “Bring The Sun” from our previous album, To Be Kind. The section is, of course, newly performed and orchestrated to work within its current setting. ‘The Glowing Man’ itself grew organically forward and out of improvisations that took place live during the performance of “Bring The Sun,” so it seemed essential to include that relevant section here. Since over the long and tortured course of the current song’s genesis, it had always been such an integral cornerstone I believe we’d have been paralyzed and unable to perform the entire piece at all without it.

“Cloud of Forgetting” and “Cloud of Unknowing” are prayers. “Frankie M” is another tribute and a best wish for a wounded soul. “The Glowing Man” contains my favorite Zen Koan. “People Like Us” and “Finally, Peace” are farewell songs.

The Glowing Man tracklisting:

01. Cloud of Forgetting
02. Cloud of Unknowing
03. The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black
04. People Like Us
05. Frankie M.
06. When Will I Return?
07. The Glowing Man
08. Finally, Peace.

Swans-song tour 2016

07.06.16 - Philadelphia PA - Union Transfer*
07.07.16 - Boston MA - Royale Nightclub*
07.08.16 - Providence RI - Fete*
07.09.16 - Quebec QC - Le Cercle*
07.10.16 - Toronto ON - Danforth Music Hall*
07.12.16 - Detroit MI - St Andrews Hall*
07.13.16 - Milwaukee WI - Shank Hall*
07.14.16 - Minneapolis MN - Fine Line Music Cafe*
07.15.16 - Chicago IL- Lincoln Hall*
07.16.16 - Chicago IL - Lincoln Hall*
07.18.16 - Cleveland OH - Beachland Ballroom*
07.19.16 - Cincinnati OH - Woodward Theater*
07.21.16 - Louisville KY - Headliner’s Music Hall*
07.22.16 - Atlanta GA - Terminal West*
07.23.16 - Asheville NC - Orange Peel*
07.24.16 - Nashville TN - Exit / In*
07.26.16 - Carrboro NC - Cats Cradle*
07.27.16 - Richmond VA - The Broadberry*
07.28.16 - Washington DC - 9:30 CLUB*
07.29.16 - New York NY - Bowery Ballroom*
07.30.16 - Brooklyn NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg*
09.01.16 - Tucson AZ - Rialto Theater^
09.02.16 - Los Angeles CA - Fonda Theater^
09.03.16 - San Francisco CA - The Regency Grand Ballroom^
09.04.16 - Portland OR - Wonder Ballroom^
09.06.16 - Vancouver BC - Venue^
09.07.16 - Seattle WA - The Showbox^
09.09.16 - Salt Lake City UT - Urban Lounge^
09.10.16 - Denver CO - Gothic Theater^
09.12.16 - Dallas TX - Trees^
09.13.16 - Austin TX - Mohawk Austin^
09.14.16 - San Antonio TX - Paper Tiger^
09.15.16 - Albuquerque NM - Sunshine Theater^
09.16.16 - Phoenix AZ - Crescent Ballroom^
10.06.16 - Brussels BE - Oranjerie Botantique
10.07.16 - Eindhoven NL - De Effenaar
10.08.16 - Brighton UK - Concorde 2
10.09.16 - Manchester UK - HMV Ritz
10.11.16 - Glasgow UK - Oran Mor
10.12.16 - Newcastle Upon Tyne UK - Northumbria University
10.13.16 - London UK - Islington Assembly Hall
10.14.16 - London UK - Islington Assembly Hall
10.15.16 - Reims FR - La Cartonnerie
10.17.16 - Hamburg DE - Kampnagel
10.18.16- Berlin DE - Huxleys Neue Welt
10.19.16 - Prague CZ - Divaldo ARCHA Theatre
10.21.16 - Budapest HU - A38 Ship
10.22.16 - Vienna AT - Arena Big Hall
10.23.16 - Graz AT - Orpheum Extra
10.25.16 - Ljubljana SL - Kino Kiska Centre for Urban Culture
10.26.16 - Zagreb HR - Lauba
10.28.16 - Basel CH - Kaserne
10.29.16 - Vevey CH - Rocking Chair
10.30.16 - Bern CH - Reitschule Dachstock
11.01.16 - Tourcoin FR - Le Grand Mix
11.02.16 - Nimes FR - La Paloma
11.05.16 - Bologna IT - Teatro Auditorium Manzoni
11.06.16 - Rome IT - Orion Live Club
11.08.16 - Nantes FR - Stereolux
11.09.16 - Paris FR - Le Trabendo
11.10.16 - Cologne DE - Gebäude 9
11.11.16 - Munich DE - Feierwerk
11.12.16 - Wiesbaden DE - Kulturezentrum Schlachthof

* Okkyung Lee
^ Baby Dee

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