Swans are preparing to release My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, their first original studio album in 14 years.
It’s the long-awaited follow-up to the post-punk legends’ expansive 1996 double-CD set Soundtracks For The Blind, which was billed at the time as Swans’ final album. A collection of live recordings bearing the name Swans Is Dead was issued soon after, and frontman Michael Gira formed a new group, Angels of Light – just two factors that appeared to put the band’s demise beyond doubt. Then, in 2009, Gira began to drop hints that Swans as an entity was still extant, eventually posting a message on the band’s website that simply read, “SWANS ARE NOT DEAD”. It came as no surprise when, earlier this year, a Swans live tour – including a headline slot at Birmingham’s Supersonic festival – was announced, along with the declaration that a brand new album was imminent.
Some details of the album have now emerged. It’s due out on September 10, via Gira’s own Young God imprint, and features guest appearances from Devendra Banhart, Mercury Rev’s Grasshopper and Bill Rieflin. It was recorded by Jason Le Farge at Seizure’s Palace in Brooklyn, and Gira is currently mixing the record with Bryce Goggin at Trout Recordings. The full tracklist has yet to be revealed, but confirmed titles are ‘No Words/No Thoughts’, ‘Reeling The Liars In’ and ‘Jim’. You can listen to a demo of ‘No Words/No Thoughts’ over at Swans’ myspace.
The band, led by the inscrutable, reliably confrontational Michael Gira were born out of New York’s 1980s no wave explosion. They’ve explored a wide range of sonic and aesthetic territories over the years, from brutal noise and quasi-metal to industrial ambient, minimalist pop and heart-rending acoustic balladry.
“One thing I want to point out right now: THIS IS NOT A REUNION, ” said Gira earlier this year. “It’s not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. I certainly never thought this day would arrive, but it’s inevitable, it’s here, it’s fate, so I’m succumbing to it.”
A detail from the album’s cover art, by Beatrice Pediconi, is pictured above. The band’s UK tour dates are as follows:
21-Oct Cork Cyprus Avenue
22-Oct Dublin Button Factory
24-Oct Birmingham Supersonic Festival
25-Oct Glasgow Arches
27-Oct Brighton Concorde 2
28-Oct London Koko Theatre
29-Oct Leeds Uni Stylus
30-Oct Manchester Academy