Swans’ latest offering “To Be Kind,” their thirteenth album, just hit stores a few weeks ago, and “A Little God in my Hands” is a little glimpse into that world. Though, it is only one track off a 3xLP, and those don’t happen very often. But I guess you need a lot of space to contain some of these ideas.
This track is pretty much a through-composed, one-parter, save for the blast of noise that enters only a minute and a half in. And that blast of noise makes its return about six minutes in to the seven minute track. It begins in a much different place, however. The seemingly gentile harmonies that open the track start off well-intentioned, but are then turned through incessant repetition and the addition of steady downbeat accenting from the bass. Things are made to sound all the more heavy thanks to a sneering, restrained vocal that presents short fragments of a shallow vocal range. The more things repeat the more unsettling it all feels. It seems like I spend most of the time listening to this track waiting for something exciting to happen, but the trick is that that waiting for something exciting to happen is the exciting thing that is happening. The fact that Swans are able to hold the listener in suspense for almost seven minutes with very little harmonic or melodic interest is actually quite a feat.
Of course, like I mentioned, the payoff comes toward the end when the noise doesn’t so much erupt as it does descend down upon the track that has grown stronger through its persistence.
This one is coming off of Swans’ latest, “To Be Kind,” which is out now. You can find it here on vinyl and as a double CD (with or without bonus DVD) or as a download from iTunes and you can find tour dates below as the band is currently touring Europe and the U.S. Check out the non-video for “A Little God in my Hands” below and try not to stare at the album art for very long. It’s kind of creepy.
Swans on tour:
May 31 – Birmingham UK @ Supersonic Festival – Custard Factory *
June 01 – Leeds UK @ Cockpit
June 02 – Brighton UK @ Concorde 2
June 17 – Quebec City, Quebec @ Le Cercle #
June 18 – Montreal, Quebec @ Theatre National #
June 20 – Toronto, Ontario @ MNW Festival (Yonge-Dundas Square) #
June 21 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall #
June 22 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall #
June 24 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room #
June 26 – Dallas, TX @ Trees #
June 27 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk #
June 28 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Upstairs #
June 30 – Nashville, TN @ Exit / In #
July 01 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre #
July 02 – Louisville, KY @ The New Vintage #
July 03 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater #
July 05 – Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall #
July 06 – New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place #
Sept 02 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
Sept 04 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox
Sept 05 – Vancouver, BA @ The Venue
Sept 06 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Sept 08 – San Francisco, CA @ Independent
Sept 11 – Hollywood, CA @ The Roxy Theatre
- = w/ Jenny Hval
- = w/ Xiu Xiu