Tag Archive: Michael Gira

9e1294e6fcdbbaf68ecdf171bd269f81651a92e2“Kill yr idols” advocated Sonic Youth back in the day, an extreme strategy that is not actually an invitation to murder but a warning against putting faith in heroes. Bob Dylan meant something similar when he sang (in Subterranean Homesick Blues) “Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters”.

Be your own person is the implicit message. While it’s ok to admire and respect others, it’s always worth remembering that people have a nasty habit of letting you down. Keeping a healthy sense of detachment avoids being disillusioned. Far safer to set your own goals, maintain your own standards and generally search for the hero inside yourself.

Devendra Banhart is a case in point. I was a huge fan of his when he burst upon the scene under the wing of head Swan Michael Gira. 2004’s Rejoicing In The Hands remains one of my all time favorite albums and I had the good fortune to see him play songs from this and its immediate follow ups – Nino Rojo and Cripple Crow. For a while he could do no wrong in my eyes. His charm, wit and good looks added to his appeal. In short , though not quite an idol , he used to be a hero. Continue reading



Are you looking at me?


Rumours of the death of Swans have been exaggerated.

I can vouch for this having experienced their ear-bruising concert at Bologna’s Locomotiv club.

The volume alone is loud enough to waken corpses and should lay to rest any notion that Michael Gira has reconvened the band as a cosy nostalgia act. These six guys may no longer be in the full flush of youth but they put any snot-nosed noise bands to shame.

Gira, at the tender age of 56 , has the look of someone rejuvenated, a fact already placed on record by the September release of the stunning new Swans album My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky.

He is clearly not kidding when he says that in performance he seeks to achieve a state of  “simultaneous self negation and rebirth”. Continue reading


Kill Your Idols is a film made by Scott Crary in 2004.  It took the prize for Best Documentary at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival and gained a distribution deal with Palm Pictures.
Under the tag line “the New York No Wave scene and those who followed” it features appropriately grainy footage of gigs from the Hardcore heyday of the late 70s/early 80s . There are clips of  the likes of DNA (a wonderfully geeky Arto Lindsay), Teenage Jesus & The Jerks (one of the best band names ever) and The Swans (Michael Gira in primal mode).
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Michael Gira – ‘Gira’ is pronounced as in ‘giraffe’ without the ‘ffe’  – is from the strum and holler school of rock.

On stage in Ravenna, his elegant, dignified bearing together with his courteous stage manners belie the fact that his songs are packed with raw emotion and barely concealed rage.

He sings of  blood , pain, sin, death, desire and, if you’re lucky,  brief glimpses of redemption.

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