“The Glowing Man” Swans

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“The Glowing Man” Swans

Setting the Mood

I have seriously been listening to a lot of indie rock lately. I haven’t been keeping up with my video game schedules or Tv shows. All I want to do is keep exploring this culture. Either way, It was a busy day at work today, but now I can sit back and enjoy Friday night. I have a cup of black coffee, and my ears are ready to engage the sounds of creative artist. I decided to listen to a band called Swans. Never heard of them till this album release.

After finally finishing the entire album, I’ll say that Swans may be the most experimental ingenious band I’ve heard ever. I was sitting in my computer chair staring at the ceiling, just watching images come in and out of my mind. Talk about a therapeutic experience. For me this was definitely a roller coaster of my current life and mental reflection. I mean seriously, what were these guys thinking .

The Band

Swans is an American experimental rock band. The band is led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira. The band was one of the few groups to emerge from the early 1980s New York no wave scene and stay intact into the later decades. Formed by Gira in 1982, Swans employed a shifting lineup of musicians until their dissolution in 1997. Besides Gira, the only other constant members were keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Jarboe from 1984 to 1997, and semi-constant guitarist Norman Westberg. The band became known for its experimental instrumentation and repetitive song structures. In 2010, Gira reformed Swans without Jarboe.


Swans band reviewWhen I listen to the new album “The Glowing Man” by Swans, I imagine a world of limitless possibilities. I instantly got put into a trance where all I could think about was life. This is album is very deep and cherishable to Micheal Gira.

The Good

Guitar and bass chords create a loud white noise at times and then a low-fi subtle form throughout the tracks. The drums and percussion also morph and evolve throughout the listen experience. It’s more of a “what’s coming next” kind of feel I was feeling in certain songs. As i did more research, i found out that the track “When will I Return” is actually sung by Jennifer Gira, Micheal’s wife. The song is ultimately about her, and the challenges she has faced in her life. I see the song as such a great interpretation of what goes through the minds of Micheal and Jennifer.

The Bad

Having said that, this album almost completely drains your mind and body to not want to listen to anything else. I would also say that “The Glowing Man” album is very unpredictable maybe discomforting for first time listeners. Vocals and lyrics are sometimes distracting. Mainly because Gira is also being unpredictable with the way he says certain words. It mainly sidetrack me from the intense sounds of the other band members. Listening to the vocal for me was sometimes unbalanced when compared to the experimental instrument chords and patterns that are being played. I find this to be the case for track like “The glowing man”.

Last Words

Overall, Michael Gira is a very creative unbounded person. when it comes to experimental instrumentation, I don’t think I’ve ever heard something more greater than the band Swans. This album that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who a fan of indie rock, and deep experimentation music. I hope to hear more from Swans in the coming years, and hopefully get a chance to see them live. Their new album can be purchased on Amazon. Don’t forget to check out other music reviews on The EXP Grind.

The Good

  • The best experimental American band I've ever heard.
  • The drums and percussion morph and evolve throughout the listen experience.
  • Great interpretation of what goes through the minds of Micheal Gira

The Bad

  • Drains your mind and body to not want to listen to anything else.
  • Very unpredictable sounds for first time listeners
  • Vocals/lyrics distracting and unbalanced comapred to the instruments

Written by: Christian Galvez

Christian is the founder of The EXP Grind. He is interested in Indie musicians, Video Games, Anime, and just about anything in Arts and Entertainment. He tries to find art with true meaning in the new and upcoming artists and hopes to reach more creative professionals.

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