Can someone explain to me the appeal of Swans?
I don't understand why people like them so much. Can someone try and explain what I should like about them? I really want to be able to get into them and listen to them. They seem to be such a phenomenon on this board, and I just don't get it.
Where should I start? What am I not "getting"?
Listen to Filth, then listen to To Be Kind. Make sure the volume is high and the sound is clear.
What don't you like about them? It's OK not to like them, just don't be one of those "it's just noise" guys.
It was a while back. I think it was "to be kind". It just felt very all over the place. If that makes sense. It was very "noisy" but I don't want to seem like that was a criticism.
Swans' output is incredibly diverse to a point where almost anyone should be able to find something they like provided they enjoy rock on any level. They generally work a noisy, hypnotic repetition angle but their mid-era post punk material is considerably more melodic. If the early or later albums are giving you trouble then try White Light at the Mouth of Infinity, Love of Life, and The Great Annihilator. From there you can go to the more sprawling, cinematic stuff starting with Soundtracks for the Blind or the bleaker, more repetitive stuff that Children of God began easing out of. There's also The Burning World I guess but that one's mediocre and pretty skippable.
>>61871201 isn't actually into Swans and is just parroting their most popular and critically acclaimed records.
Swans have covered a LOT of ground stylistically (angry no-wave/noise rock, goth rock, neofolk, post-punk and finally full blown ecstatic post-rock, which /mu/ loves because the board is full of teenagers). If you want an actually good starting point, listen to The Great Annihilator. It's a very solid middle ground between styles that incorporates most of the identifiable Swans themes and, intentionally or not, tastefully creates a pastiche. It's also fairly easy listening, a straightforward post-punk album, and won't fuck you up.
From there, go to either Children Of God or White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity / Love Of Life and see how you feel. If you want angrier, move to their earlier period, and if you want decent post-rock wankery then move to post-reformation Swans.
Soundtracks For The Blind is good, but if To Be Kind genuinely screwed you over then don't bother.
I started with to be kind, I didn't liked that much.
Then I listened the great anihilator, I fell in love.
Filth just confirmed my love for them.
Now I enjoy almost all of their albums.
Seriously, up to a couple months I didn't get Swans. I tried a few albums a couple times and it never clicked for me. A little while back, I happened to catch the live version of The Sound off of Swans are Dead, absolutely loved it, and decided to listen to SAD from beginning to end and I seriously loved it with the live vibe. Ever since, even the albums I didn't like at first have one by one been falling into place for me. I've gotten to the point where I can actually say I love the Swans, it's the craziest thing. I actually was just listening to TBK this morning.
Not saying you have to like them, just saying this is what happened to me. Don't give up on them yet because it took me a few times and it was really sudden that I started to really like them.
I know you've probably seen this chart, but I actually wouldn't suggest following it exactly, just use it as a reference as to the relationships between the different styled they've evolved to. Personally I'd suggest starting at Swans are Dead, The Seer, or The Great Annihilator just because they're the most accessible projects in their catalog in my opinion. But it's all up to you. I'd get if you don't like them, but you sound like you really want to give them a fair shot so here's input from someone who magically did a 180 on my opinion of them, so it's possible.
No I haven't.
This is a great read. Thanks mate. I'll check out the chart too regardless. And yes, I really do want to give them a genuine chance. I'd love to get into them and experience them. It seems that they are an incredible band.
Kinda hard to recommend Swans at all out of that list. Their output generally rides on visceral energy, textural density, and hypnotic atmosphere. To be honest, some of To Be Kind's funkier material would be some of the easiest recommendations to make but if you didn't like that then I dunno, maybe Love of Life and The Great Annihilator will be listenable due to their relative accessibility.
>More critically acclaimed/popular than Children of God, Soundtracks, My Father, or The Seer
OK dude. I just recommended Filth and To Be Kind because it's cool to see where they started out (excluding their s/t EP) and then see where they are now and what aspects of their earlier music they've retained.
I'd agree with the guy I replied to, though and say that Children of God isn't a bad place to start.
Another rec I keep seeing is Filth or Children of God, if you wanna go into their dirtier side and see what that offers, Children of God by far. Filth is like the surface of the deep end of their noise/obscure music and Children of God gently pushes you toward the deep end.
Why not at least The Seer as well?
I believe it depends because it all comes from different sources but I never had the pleasure of discovering this when I started out to be totally honest. Sorry about that.
Filth, Children of God, and The Great Annihilator are probably the most ideal entry-level Swans albums. Filth is a great introduction to their droning, noisy no-wave era, Children of God is a transition from that no wave era to their post-punk era, and TGA is their brand of post-punk refined to a shine while hinting at their future post-rock direction on occasion. Listening to those 3 albums is probably the fastest, most accessible way to be exposed to the whole of Swans, or at least very close to it.
Don't apologise. I appreciate it.
Yeah I've decided on starting on their debut. I've got high hopes. It'll take several listens though before I fully get into it I think.
The swans tend to appear minimalist, slow, and incompetent at first.
But sooner or later you find that one song of theirs that proves that there's heart underneath the artiface. Then everything else starts to make sense. For me it was God Damn the Sun.