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    Later this week, the avant-garde rock group Swans will be making a stop in Louisville at Headliners Music Hall. The group was formed in the early ‘80s and has since undergone a multitude of drastic evolutions. The presence of Michael Gira, the band’s now 62-year-old front man and songwriter, has been the only constant.

    When Swans first began, they were an abrasive no-wave group with a dense, malevolent sound. Since then, the band has taken on a number of genres and forms, from post-rock to goth rock, post-punk and art rock, with the focus always on change and experimentation. “It’s sort of an internal necessity,” says Gira. “It just felt like what we needed to make at the time.”

    Swans ended in 1997, but Gira reformed it with a new set of musicians in 2010. Since then, they have released four albums, including 2014’s To Be Kind, which even debuted in the US Billboard top 40. The Glowing Man, released last month, is the latest addition to their post-reunion albums. In addition, The Glowing Man completes a trilogy of conceptually-similar albums, including To Be Kind and The Seer (2012). Each of these three albums is around two hours long, with some tracks stretching beyond 30 minutes. Structurally and thematically, they are all similar - instrumentation building through repetition, a simple chord eventually growing incredibly dense and to colossal heights, all accentuated by Gira’s cryptic lyrics. This makes their live act a particularly enrapturing experience. The music is loud and focused on creating an enthralling atmosphere, rather than something catchy and easy.

    The Glowing Man will be the final record from this iteration of Swans, according to Gira.  He feels that it’s time to shift and move on to something new. Whatever that may be, even he doesn’t know. “I just set out to make the best record I can,” Gira says, “And the music develops organically.”

    Swans will be playing at Headliners Music Hall on Thursday, July 21. Click here for tickets.

    The Glowing Man can be purchased here.

     

    Cover Image: Swans

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    About Aaron Hartley

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