Tag: Swans

With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and Neuroplasticiy, the Canadian-Somali, Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein and her solo recording project Cold Specks received national and international attention and as a result, Hussein’s first two albums received nominations for the Polaris Music Prize and she also received a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, with the release of Graceful Expulsion! And in between writing, recording and touring, Hussein had been busy as a hotly-desired collaborator, working with Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie HancockSwans and others.

Now, it’s been about two years since I’ve last written about Hussein but the renowned singer/songwriter had been very busy. After spending a portion of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began work on her forthcoming third full-length album. “Wild Card,” the still officially unnamed album’s first single is largely inspired by the refugee experience.  “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home,” Hussein explains. “My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.

Produced by Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio, the single features Arcade Fire‘s Tim Kingsbury playing bass on a hauntingly sparse arrangement and melody. Certainly, the latest track will further cement Hussein’s reputation for being an fearlessly uncompromising and emotionally direct; in this case, the single possesses a subtle but palpably weary ache underlined with simple yet profound joys — the profound joy of being treated kindly when you are “a traveler, a man from far away,” as Paul Salopek once wrote.






New Video: ADULT.’s Stark and Sensual Collaboration with Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas J McCarthy

Comprised of Detroit-based husband-and-wife multimedia artist duo Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus, ADULT. have received both national and international attention both for their music, which features elements of industrial electronica, house music and punk rock — and for their visual art, which includes sculptures, paintings, photographs, films, videos and installations; in fact, since the act’s founding back in 1998, Miller and Kuperus have strove to blur and intersect the lines between visual art and their music, exhibiting their work at the Austrian Cultural Forum (NY), Mattress Factory (Pittsburgh), Detroit Institute of Arts, MOMAS (Saitama, Japan) and Centre d’ar contemporain de Meymac (France). Their film The Three Grace(s) triptych has been shown at the Anthology Film Archives, Distrital Film Festival, Mexico City and Grey Area for Art and Technology.

The duo’s latest effort Detroit House Guests is largely based on the visual artist residency model, in which Miller and Kuperus invited a varied and impressive array of musicians and artists, including Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas J. McCarthy, Swans’ Michael Gira, Light Aslyum’s Shannon Funchess, Lichens, Austrian thereminist Dorit Chrysler and multidisciplinary artist Lun*na Menoh and others to their studio for a three week period — with the parameter that they all live, work and collaborate together to create an album that also manages to be an anthropological sound experiment.

“We Are a Mirror” is the latest single off Detroit House Guests and it finds Miller and Kuperus collaborating with Nitzer Ebb’s Douglas J. McCarthy. Featuring an glitchy and minimalist yet propulsive production consisting of subtle, industrial clang and clatter, an assortment of bleeps, blips and bloops, stuttering drum programming and club-rocking that manages to seamlessly mesh both artists’ sound while being incredibly brooding and seductive.

Directed by Hazel Hill-McCarthy III, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, whose previous work includes a documentary featuring Throbbing Gristle’s Genesis P-Orridge, the recently released video for “We Are a Mirror” was filmed in Miller and Kuperus’ hometown of Detroit between the hours of 6pm and 6am — and it employs a relatively straightforward concept: the trio of Miller, Kuperus and McCarthy in a sparsely arranged mirrored room with a light display, broodingly posing and performing the song. And while evoking a murky nightclub, the video also feels as though it could be an fashion shoot as it possesses a grungy and glamorous quality.

Many influential artists and characters once played at renowned and long-defunct clubs like CBGBs, Max’s Kansas City and others during the mid-to-late 1970s — including a now cult-favored local-born artist Annie Bandez, who known as Annie Anxiety (and later as Little Annie) was the frontperson of punk act Annie and the Asexuals. After several years of attempting a series of unsuccessful creative pursuits, Bandez relocated to the UK, where she would up joining the famed anarchist commune Dial House, led by activist Penny Rimbaud. And while a member of Dial House, Bandez quickly established herself as an artist with a singular voice with the release of her solo debut single “Barbed Wire Halo,” which was released through Crass Records.

Interestingly, when Bandez relocated to the UK, a number of punk rock artists including Bandez herself had begun shifting towards a much more diverse, multicultural approach, exploring dub, rocksteady, ska and other Caribbean genres. In the summer of 1983, Bandez along with legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood and members of Crass, Family Fodder, African Head Charge, Flux of Pink Indians, London Underground and Art Interface went into the studio to record her stark, industrial dub-based solo debut Soul Possession, which would be released by Corpus Christi Records in 1984. And it resulted in a number of lengthy collaborations with Nurse With Wound, Coil, Current 93, Swans and Marc Almond.

33 years after its initial release, Dais Records will be re-issuing Soul Possession on January 6, 2017 and the re-issue’s first single “Burnt Offerings” is an ominously apocalyptic and minimalist bit of industrial dub featuring mechanical clang and clatter and twinkling keys paired with Bandez’s half-spoken vocals that manages to bring to mind Annika Henderson‘s solo work and her work with Exploded View — and in some way it wouldn’t be surprising if Bandez’s work influenced Henderson and producer/collaborator Geoff Barrow at some point.

Bandez will be on touring Europe throughout the Spring with Swans. Check out tour dates below:

Tour Dates, Spring 2017:
3/08  Rockefeller – Oslo, Norway
3/09  Kraken Sthlm – Stockholm, Sweden
3/11  Grey Hall – Copenhagen, Denmark
3/12  VoxHall – Aarhus, Denmark
3/14  Fleda Club – Brno, Czech Republic
3/15  Taba Ka Kulturfabrik – Kosice, Slovakia
3/17  Legendos Klubas – Vilnius, Lithuania
3/19  Sentrum – Kiev, Ukraine
3/22  FORM Space Club – Cluj-Napoca, Romania
3/23  Control Club – Bucharest, Romania
3/24  MKC – Skopje, Macedonia
3/25  Dom Omladine – Belgrade, Serbia
3/27  Pogon Kulture – Rijeka, Croatia
3/28  Rote Fabrik Ziegel oh Lac – Zürich, Switzerland
3/29  FZW – Dortmund, Germany
3/30  Kompass Klub – Ghent, Belgium
3/31  Paradiso Music Hall – Amsterdam, Netherland

While currently comprised of founder and primary member Jamie Stewart, Angela Seo and Shayna Dunkelman, indie rock trio Xiu Xiu have throughout the course of their history developed a reputation for restless experimentation and lately for a period of extraordinary diverse prolificacy — earlier this year, they released their critically applauded album Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, collaborated with renowned indie pop artist Mitski on a song that will appear on a forthcoming John Cameron Mitchell film, collaborated with Merzbow on an album, composed music for several art installations by renowned artist Danh Vo, wrote the score for an experimental reworking of Mozart’s The Magic Flute — and then they found time to write and record the material that comprises their forthcoming 11th full-length effort FORGET, which Polyvinyl Records will release on February 24, 2017.

Co-produced by John Congleton, who has worked with Blondie and Sigur Ros; Deerhoof‘s Greg Saunier and Xiu Xiu’s Angela Seo, the album features guest appearances by minimalist composer Charlemagne Palestine, Los Angeles Banjee Ball commentator Enyce Smith, Swans‘ Kristof Hahn and renowned drag artist Vaginal Davis. And as the band’s Jamie Stewart explains of both of the album’s title and its overarching theme, “To forget uncontrollably embraces the duality of human frailty. It is a rebirth in blanked out renewal but it also drowns and mutilates our attempt to hold on to what is dear.” FORGET is both the palliative fade out of a traumatic past but also the trampling pain of a beautiful one’s decay.”

“Wondering,” FORGET’s first single is a propulsive  dance floor-friendly single in which the band pairs layers of scuzzy, angular guitar chords with undulating synths, stuttering and skittering beats, brief bursts of twinkling keys and Stewart’s plaintive crooning with a swooning and anthemic hook — and while the equally shimmering and murky single sonically nods at Stevie Nicks‘ “Stand Back” and others, the song possesses and underlying tension between the known and unknown.










Tour Dates

Mar. 16th – Los Angeles, CA – Union

Mar. 17th – Escondido, CA – A Ship in The Woods

Mar. 19th – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel

Mar. 21st – Seattle, WA – Kremwork

Mar. 22nd – Portland, OR – Holocene

Mar 23rd – 26th – Knoxville, TN – Big Ears Festival

Mar. 30th – Detroit, MI – El Club

Mar. 31st – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle

Apr. 1st – Jacksonville, FL – The Sleeping Giant Film Festival

Apr. 6th – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bazaar

Apr. 7th – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle

Apr. 8th – Harrisburg, PA – Cathedral Room at Der Maennerchor

Apr. 9th – Baltimore, MD – The Wind-Up Space

Apr. 11th – Jersey City, NJ – Monty Hall

Apr.12th – New Haven, CT – Bar

Apr. 13th – Providence, RI – Colombus Theatre

Apr. 14th – Portsmouth, NH – 3SArtspace

Apr. 15th – Boston, MA – Cambridge Elks Lodge / Hardcore Stadium

Comprised of Daniel Knowler, Paul Middleton and Samuel Mclaughlin, London, UK-based trio The Infinite Three have developed a reputation for a sound and aesthetic that possess elements of post-punk, drone and porto-industrial rock, and channels Killing Joke, SWANS, Cop Shoot Cop and Nine Inch Nails — but with nods towards psychedelia and noise rock. Of course, on a certain level that shouldn’t be surprising as the members of the trio have an extensive history of genre defying work. Middleton has had a stint in industrial jazz act GOD and was a member of noise pioneers Cindytalk along with his fellow bandmate Knowler while McLaughlin has collaborated with poet and artist Gerry Mitchell. Knowleer has also worked on MFOTWU with performance artist Franko B. And in The Infinite Three, the members of the band have worked with renowned saxophonist Tom Jackson and London-based producer Den Liberator.

Recorded with engineer Jon Clayton, who has worked with Band of Holy Joy and The Monochrome Set, The Infinite Three’s third officially released full-length effort Lucky Beast will cement the band’s burgeoning reputation for a muscular, post-punk leaning take on prog rock and experimental rock. The album’s latest single “Hydrogen” has the band pairing angular power chords, swirling electronics, propulsive drumming and a punchy and aggressive hook to craft a song that sounds as though it were indebted to Wire, Mission of Burma and SWANS; in other words it the song possess a mosh pit worthy, sneering aggression while nodding at industrial metal.




Over the past 15 years, singer/songwriter and musician Jordan Geiger has developed a reputation for being incredibly prolific — he’s been a member of several renowned indie rock acts including Shearwater, The Appleseed Cast, Des Ark and Minus Story, and he’s released three albums with his solo recording project Hospital Ships. Geiger’s fourth full-length Hospital Ships effort, The Past is Not a Flood is slated for a March 11, 2016 release through Graveface Records, and the album features a myriad number of Austin, TX-based collaborators including longtime friend, Swans‘ Thor Harris — and is Geiger’s sixth album with renowned producer John Congleton, best known for his work with St. Vincent, The Walkmen, Modest Mouse and others.

Thematically speaking, The Past is Not a Flood reportedly draws from Geiger’s own battles with mental illness, anxiety and depression, which will arguably make his fourth full-length album his most personal one to date. The album’s first single “You and I” possesses a gorgeous painterly quality as layers of twisting and turning piano chords undulating and chiming percussion and ominously ambient electronics are slowly added like brushstrokes upon a canvas — and then they’re paired with Geiger’s achingly tender vocals expressing vulnerability, shame, regret and confusion over a dysfunctional and fucked up relationship that’s at an impasse. While sonically bearing a resemblance to Amnesiac-era Radiohead, Remember Remember and Mogwai‘s most recent ambient experiments “You and I” manages to feel like a lingering and anxious fever dream.