After lead singer Michael Gira rejoined the band in 2010, Swans is back to touring the United States. The experimental rock band will perform at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on Friday, March 27.
Swans originally formed in 1982 in New York City and emerged as one of the preeminent no wave and post-punk bands. In the formative years, the band went through a rotating list of musicians, though Gira, Norman Westberg and Jarboe remained constants until its dissolution in 1997.
The band would release several records in their early years, including their self-titlted EP, Swans and Cop in 1984. The Young God EP was also released in 1984. Swans’ early music has been described as aggressive, haunting with its slow tempos, distorted guitar work and morbid lyrics. The group’s bombastic reputation carried over to their live shows. The band was known for its obscenely-loud shows and for band members physically attacking members of the audience.
The band’s hardcore reputation started to shift after Jarboe, the female vocalist and keyboardist, joined the band in 1986. The band’s sound start to mellow out, with the addition of Jarboe’s vocals pitted against those of Gira, and the group would also incorporate piano and more acoustic elements into the music.
Swans would later sign to the major label Uni/MCA Records in 1989 and released The Burning World. The major label release would mark more of deviation towards a pop sound and further tempering of Gira’s morose lyrics and abrasive sound. The band would release several albums returning to the sound of earlier years after separating from the major label.
The band would release one more album, Soundtracks for the Blind, in 1996 before their dissolution in 1997. Swans reunited in 2010 without Jarboe. After a solo release by Gira, the band would release several more studio and live albums. The band recently signed to Young God and Mute Records and released To Be Kind in 2014.
Tickets for the Swans show on March 27 at Cat’s Cradle start at $18.