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Paul Simpson

Revolutionary Spirit : A Post-Punk Exorcism: The Teardrop Explodes, Care, The Wild Swans, And Beyond

    Part memoir, part social history, Revolutionary Spirit is the poignant, often hilarious story of a cult Liverpool musician s scenic route to fame and artistic validation. If Morrissey was the Oscar Wilde of the 1980s indie scene, Simpson was its William Blake, a self-destructive genius so lost in mystical visions of a new arcadia that he couldn t meet the rent. Simpson s career begins alongside fellow Liverpool luminaries Julian Cope, Ian McCulloch, Bill Drummond, Ian Broudie, Will Sergeant, Pete Wylie, Pete Burns, and Pete de Freitas at the infamous Eric s club, where, in 1976, he finds himself at the birth of the city s second great musical explosion.

    Along the way, he co-founds and christens the neo-psychedelic pop group The Teardrop Explodes, shares a flat with a teenage Courtney Love, and forms The Wild Swans, the indie band of choice for literary-minded teens in the early 1980s, who burn bright and brief, in the process recording one of the all-time great cult hit singles, Revolutionary Spirit . Marriage, fatherhood, and tropical illness follow, interspersed with artistic collaborations with Bill Drummond and members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, among others. Following an onstage reunion with Cope at the Royal Festival Hall, Simpson discovers that seven thousand miles away, in the Philippines, he is considered a musical god.

    Presidential suites, armed guards, police escorts . . .

    you couldn t make it up, and, incredibly, he doesn t need to. Revolutionary Spirit marks the arrival of an original literary voice. It is the story of a musician driven by an unerring belief that artistic integrity will bring its own rewards, and an elliptical elegy to the ways it does.


    The Beggar

      Swans present their sixteenth studio album The Beggar.

      The Beggar was written and produced by founding member Michael Gira and features contributions from recent and former Swans members, members of Angels Of Light, as well as guest Swan Ben Frost.

      Following 2019’s leaving meaning, the album emerged from the 2020 lockdown with Micheal explaining, “after numerous pandemic-induced cancellations of tours for the previous Swans album leaving meaning, and an apparent bottomless pit of waiting, waiting, waiting, and the strange disorientation that came with this sudden but interminable forced isolation I decided it was time to write songs for a new Swans album and forget about everything else. They came relatively easily, always informed by the suspicion that these could be my last. When I finally was able to travel, songs in hand, to Berlin to work with my friends recording this record, the feeling was akin to the moment in The Wizard of Oz when the film changes from Black and White to Color. Now I’m feeling quite optimistic. My favourite color is pink. I hope you enjoy the album.”


      Barry says: There are few bands more incendiary than Swans, and 'The Beggar' has been a hotly anticipated arrival in the shop for me especially. The atmospheric gloom and soaring heft of Gira & Co's previous LP's is as present as ever, but lightened with a (dare I say it?) more song-based structure to a few of the pieces. It's classic swans, but it's also a perfect sidestep for one of the most visceral bands in the game.


      Vinyl Tracklist:
      1. Paradise Is Mine
      2. The Beggar
      3. Los Angeles: City Of Death
      4. The Parasite
      5. The Memorious
      6. Michael Is Done
      7. Why Can't I Have What I Want Any Time That I Want
      8. Unforming
      9. Ebbing
      10. No More Of This

      + 'The Beggar Lover (Three)' Included In The Digital Download.

      CD Tracklist
      1. The Parasite
      2. Paradise Is Mine
      3. Los Angeles: City Of Death
      4. Michael Is Done
      5. Unforming
      6. The Beggar
      7. No More Of This
      8. Ebbing
      9. Why Can't I Have What I Want Any Time That I Want?
      1. The Beggar Lover (Three)
      2. The Memorious


      The Glowing Man

        After 2014’s epic To Be Kind, SWANS return with a new album, The Glowing Man, announced as the last album release of Swans’ current incarnation.
        The Glowing Man was recorded at Sonic Ranch, near El Paso, Texas, with John Congleton as recording engineer. Further recordings were made in Dallas, Seattle and Berlin.

        Swans, led by Michael Gira, formed in 1982 and, after disbanding in 1997, returned with the critically acclaimed albums My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky (2010), 2012’s The Seer and 2014’s To Be Kind.


        Barry says: Another monolithic collection from gloom-merchants Swans. Equal parts brooding and pensive, but with a rarely embraced melodic sensibility. Further evidence of their unrivalled talents.


        Disc 1
        1. Cloud Of Forgetting
        2. Cloud Of Unknowing
        3. The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black
        4. People Like Us

        Disc 2
        5. Frankie M
        6. When Will I Return
        7. The Glowing Man
        8. Finally Peace

        2CD / DVD
        Disc 1
        1. Cloud Of Forgetting
        2. Cloud Of Unknowing
        3. The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black
        4. People Like Us

        Disc 2
        5. Frankie M
        6. When Will I Return
        7. The Glowing Man
        8. Finally Peace
        DVD – Swans Live 2015

        TRIPLE VINYL (With Poster)
        Side 1
        1 Cloud Of Forgetting
        2 Cloud Of Unknowing

        Side 2
        3 Cloud Of Unknowing Pt2

        Side 3
        4 The World Looks Red / The World Looks Black
        5 People Like Us

        Side 4
        6 Frankie M

        Side 5
        7 When Will I Return
        8 The Glowing Man Pt1

        Side 6
        9 The Glowing Man Pt2
        10 Finally Peace

        The Swans

        Love Of Life

          Led by Michael Gira, Swans formed in 1982 and, after disbanding in 1997, returned with the critically acclaimed albums ‘My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky’ (2010), ‘The Seer’ (2012) and 2014’s ‘To Be Kind’.

          Swans’ classic album ‘Love Of Life’ (1992) is now re-mastered and reissued as a deluxe vinyl edition with an exclusive poster and digital download code.

          The digital download code for ‘Love Of Life’ also includes 18 bonus tracks.


          The Seer

            "The Seer took 30 years to make. It’s the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I’ve ever made, been involved in, or imagined. But it’s unfinished, like the songs themselves. It’s one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade.

            The songs began on an acoustic guitar, then were fleshed out with (invaluable) help from my friends, then were further tortured and seduced in rehearsals, live, and in the studio, and now they await further cannibalism and force-feeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they’ll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while.

            Despite what you might have heard or presumed, my quest is to spread light and joy through the world. My friends in Swans are all stellar men. Without them I’m a kitten, an infant. Our goal is the same: ecstasy!" - Michael Gira.

            “For the last two years, one of the world’s most bellicose bands has paid respect to its legacy largely by leaving it alone and tried to expand it by testing its old limits … this is exactly the kind of forward-pointing roadmark Swans deserve.” —Pitchfork

            “The Swans are currently the greatest rock band on the planet....” —The Quietus

            “[Gira] is looking for beauty, pure and simple, unfettered by meaning or standard songwriting notions of emotional resonance.” —The Wire

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Darryl says: The mighty Swans return with 'The Seer'. From ribcage crushing noise to gentle acoustic passages, this has all the hallmarks of the classic Swans "sound"; intense, powerful and pure.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Lunacy
            2. Mother Of The World
            3. The Wolf
            4. The Seer
            5. The Seer Returns
            6. 93 Ave. B Blues
            7. The Daughter Brings The Water
            8. Song For A Warrior
            9. Avatar
            10. A Piece Of The Sky
            11. The Apostate …


            My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

              After years of pursuing Angels of Light and recording and producing a diverse roster of artists for his Young God label, Michael Gira has reconvened his legendary group Swans. As he says: 'This is not a reunion. It's not some dumb-ass nostalgia act. It is not repeating the past. After five Angels of Light albums, I need a way to move forward, in a new direction, and it just so happens that revivifying the idea of Swans allows me to do that'.

              This highly anticipated album is as powerful and diverse as anything Gira's ever done, in Swans or otherwise. It opens with the epic, soul-crushing "No Words / No Thoughts", but quickly veers to more pastoral terrain, and on to ever-ascending monotonal grooves. A filmic-folk idyll featuring Devendra Banhart on lead vocal abruptly shifts to cataclysm, and is followed by more airplane-taking-off ascensions, art songs and lethal sonic pummelling. In short, this is the new Swans album, a significant advance from where they left off and as challenging and emotionally demanding as ever.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Darryl says: An album that encompasses all that is the Swans; from the brutal pummelling of your rib cage to the gentle caressing of your senses, this is the Swans on majestic top form. The swans are back, long live the Swans!

              TRACK LISTING

              1. No Worlds / No Thoughts
              2. Reeling The Liars In
              3. Jim
              4. My Birth
              5. You Fucking People Make Me Sick
              6. Inside Madeline
              7. Eden Prison
              8. Little Mouth

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