Does Michael Gira ever sleep? In 1995, having wrapped up The Great Annihilator (and toured in support of it), and about to embark upon the sprawling, soul-draining collage project Soundtracks for the Blind, he somehow found time to release Drainland, a solo album featuring contributions from Jarboe and Bill Rieflin, recorded mostly at the latter’s Seattle home. (Reflecting Gira’s fondness for dichotomy, Jarboe released her own solo album, Sacrificial Cake, as a companion piece.) Without Swans’ gale-force rhythm section behind him, Drainland is a quieter, more intimate record, characterized by hypnotically strummed guitars, chiming bells and eerie swirls of synthesizer and sound effects; singing and muttering through what sounds like a permanently fixed grimace, Gira sounds not so much restrained as numb. It’s a bitter and at times bilious album, an unsparing self-portrait of the artist as an ugly man: In the very first song, a tape recording captures Jarboe confronting Gira over his growing alcoholism, and his spontaneous, slurred counterattack is far more unsettling than any of his customary invocations of hellfire and damnation.
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...