Swans nicksoulsby

August 18, 2018
I've been living with the music of Swans some two decades plus and there's STILL always some new detail that enthralls me or a moment of sound so powerful that it hits me hard as a rock to the side of the head. Love it so much I wound up interviewing 125 people Gira, Jarboe, 30+ ex-Swans, Thurston Moore, Bill Laswell...) and creating the book SWANS: Sacrifice And Transcendence - The Oral History. Whole time I was doing it I wound up using Discogs to plug in some rarities or to hear things in different formats and editions...Swans is one of those bands that rewards obsession.

Swans dukowski

November 7, 2018
Nick i am currently on nightshifts for the first time i decided to read your book a second time to pass the long dead hours and as you said about the music of Swans the re-read of your book is also revealing more detail. Swans have been in my life since 1986 the reinvigorated Post 2010 Swans have given me some of the most astounding music i have ever heard and by far and away the greatest live shows i have ever seen in my 30+ years of gigs. Your book has given me a far deeper understanding of exactly why Gira and his revolving door of musicians have created such vital music over the decades. I feel its essential reading and crucial to anyone who is a fan. I just chanced upon your comnent here but Im glad i did because i want to personally thank you for what i think is a ridiculously long overdue and extremely important documents for Swans fans the world over


Dave B.

Swans lechuck21

November 5, 2018
edited 5 months ago
I would really like to congratulate you for your book! It made me really able to examine SWANS from a different dialectical perspective.It introduced me to circus mort and I even found one LP of them :) , it inspired me also to sit down, work and try to compose some music. I saw SWANS for first time in my life in Heidelberg this year.I wish I had finished the book by then. It would have explained me in a more complete way the great emotional,lyrical spectacle that was taking place in front of me. As we say in my native language, the SWANS performance was a "μυσταγωγία"..(definition of "μυσταγωγία": the ecstasy experienced by the viewer or listener of an exceptional musical, theatrical, etc. project as well as the very work that has the power to offer us a unique experience), Mr Soulsby your dwarvinian evolutionary approach to study SWANS by their own words made this book first of all a marvellous guide to the band but also a piece of art by itself.Thank you! I was not born when they started to create music but your effort gave me eyes and understading! Thank you!

Swans JordanCPierce

October 15, 2018
I'm reading the book now and I love it! The oral history format is my favorite way to read about bands and music, so I'm glad you went with that approach for multiple reasons. I also like how the chapter titles reference the albums from time period they're covering, so I can play the albums on my stereo as I read. It's so interesting finally being able to read about the thought processes that went into the creation of these albums. I'm only just about to start the Children of God chapter, but from one obsessive (I'm currently sitting between a signed poster from the 2013 fundraiser and a signed copy of Eight Stories) to another I give it 4 stars, 5/5, 100%, great job!

Swans Halo-rez

July 31, 2018
New To SWANS...
So I've been aware that Swans existed for close to 30 years. I was always curious about them, considering references I'd come across and things I'd read over the years. Always thought I might check them out one day. So about 3 months ago I decided to dive in, and ever since I've been drowning in Swans! I specifically decided to start with the output from the original period (1982-1997) first, with the intention to go to "Angels of Light" next, and then after that dive into the modern era material ("My Father" through "Glowing Man".) To date I have acquired all the albums from the original era, and here are my thoughts so far (keep in mind that I'm still just getting to know some of it)
Swans / Filth / Cop / Young God - OK - Interesting, but I don't love it.
Greed / Holy Money / Children of God- Very good, like it a lot!
Burning World - different, good.
White Light / Love Of Life / Great Annihilator - Love it!
Soundtracks for the Blind - Good, though somewhat disappointed in the lack of "songs" - my most recent purchase, still just getting to know it (2 listens so far)
So based on all that, I ask you... Do I go to Angels of Light next? Or skip straight to the modern era Swans albums?

Swans SgtSierra1

March 19, 2019
edited about 1 month ago
if you wanna discover more about m. gira's work, then go ahead and listen to some angels of light (maybe his other projects as well), but if you're specifically focusing on swans then skip to modern era (thats what i did anyway)

Swans Swarno

September 5, 2018
It's a all worthwhile in the end I think. Don't forget his Body Lovers and Body Haters projects and Jarboe projects.

Swans cristianHa

August 26, 2018
You should stick with "Soundtracks for the blind" for a little while, it truly is a great album, you just have to let it grow on you. After that I'd recommend listeining the SKIN albums (Jarboe And Michael's side project in the eighties). The titles are: " Blood, women and roses " , "Shame ,humility, revenge" and " Ten songs for another world". Those 3 albums are truly amazing. After that I would go for the "modern era" Swans. At the end Angels of Light.

Swans Praise.Iommi

August 2, 2018
You could buy the Gira Milk digitally from

Also, are you aware of this Swans - White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity / Love Of Life? The bouns CD includes the Love of Life/Amnesia tracks and much more. A great collection of left overs from that era.

Swans Halo-rez

August 2, 2018
Cool, thanks for that. I do have "Drainland" already, I like it a lot, also have "Sacrificial Cake" and a couple other Jarboe's, and both Body Lovers and Haters CDs. Looks like that Gira Milk is hard to come by! "Swans Are Dead", and the "Love Of Life/Amnesia" single are already ordered and on their way. My very next purchase will likely be "Omniscience". Life is good.

Swans Praise.Iommi

August 2, 2018
Sounds like a hell of ride you have been through :-)

As for next steps: Michael Gira stated that the "new" Swans used Soundtracks as a reference point for their endeavor, so the natural progression would be to go to their next. On the other hand, I hear some of the Angels of Light in the new era records, especially on The Seer. The Angels are a diffenrent animal however, a lot less confrontational than Swans and even, if I may use that word, pretty at times. But the twisted lyrics are there (at times), the vibe and atmosphere is definitely related. So mabye a mixed approach would make sense.

My recommendation, based on my personal preferences, would be the following: Next listen to Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky. Then or in parallel to The Angels Of Light - How I Loved You. Next, go to Swans - The Seer and Angels Of Light* - We Are Him. At this point you should have a fairly good overview of what the Angels did and how it influenced newer Swans and then you are good to go for Swans - To Be Kind and Swans - The Glowing Man. Please be aware, that The Seer, To Be Kind and Glowing Man are all 2hrs long, so take your time with these. It's absolutley rewarding in the end!

At some point, you should give Gira's solo work a spin or two, especially M. Gira* - Drainland, which is like a companion to The Great Annihilator and also Michael Gira - The Milk Of M. Gira: Selected Solo Home Recordings 2001-2010, which has a bunch of stripped down demos for the newer records and are illustrative of Gira's songwriting process. Also, don't ignore the live records inbetween the new albums. Enjoy!