Two years after Angels of Light’s debut, Michael Gira and his new group returned with How I Loved You, a collection of love songs — yes, love songs — that began as sketches for voice and guitar and gradually developed into the huge, full-ensemble pieces that they are. (Some songs, like “My Suicide,” mimic that process of becoming in their arrangements, beginning as skeletal, unadorned meditations and gradually growing into full-band rave-ups.) What felt shaky on the Angels’ debut is here swollen; what felt spindly is sleeker, sturdier, brimming with power and heartbroken pathos. Much of that surely has to do with the solidifying dynamics of the group, which again features Christoph Hahn, Larry Mullins, Thor Harris and Birgit-Cassis Staudt; “Our combined sensibilities feel very natural at this point,” said Gira at the time, “which I guess comes from having played most of the songs live a lot.” Bassist Dana Schechter, a member of the Angels’ touring lineup at the time, also appears on the record; a more surprising addition is Kid Congo Powers (of the Gun Club, the Cramps, and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), who plays electric guitar on “My True Body” and “New York Girls.” If there’s any single player who stands out, however, it’s Hahn, whose lap steel guitar extends throughout the album like a glowing filament.
By Philip Sherburne on 11.28.12 in Icons
When Swans released their album The Seer in 2012, it was cause for celebration on several counts. For one thing, no one had ever expected them to return after they disbanded in 1997, so their comeback two years prior was...
By Wondering Sound Staff on 12.22.14 in Galleries
Wondering Sound's staff picks the year's best albums.
By Andrew Parks on 11.11.14 in News
Believe it or not, Swans just sparked the sixth leg of their worldwide To Be Kind tour, and they're showing no signs of slowing down in 2015. As reported in a press release earlier today, Michael Gira's merry madmen just...
By Andrew Parks on 09.17.14 in News
As TV on the Radio get set to release their first album in four years on November 18, co-founder/producer Dave Sitek has revealed his latest business venture. Much like his Federal Prism label, the ACME Creative Group is...