Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The 7s, part 4: 1997

Since the beginning of the year, we have been revisiting some of our favorite albums and songs released in previous years ending in 7. So far we’ve listened to the punk sounds of 1977, the UK indie scene of 1987, as represented by the recent Cherry Red compilation C87, and the wonderful guitar noise emanating from the US underground of the same year

In the 4th part of this series, we are going twenty years back to 1997, a year that gave us plenty of great albums by the likes of Pavement, Spiritualized, Blur, The Verve, The Dandy Warhols, Cornershop, Wu-Tang Clan, Prodigy, Portishead, Foo Fighters to name just a few of the year’s high profile and critically acclaimed releases.

The seven albums that we have chosen to represent 1997 in this feature, include a few releases that have gained cult status over the years as the prestige of their creators has risen with each subsequent release, along with some more obscure choices which are just as dear to us and we think more people need to discover. In the first category there is Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse and Built To Spill, three of the greatest US rock bands to come from the Pacific Northwest really hitting their stride with their 1997 releases, and in the second there is the last ever albums in the brief but excellent discography of '90s cult heroes Helium and The Geraldine Fibbers, plus a couple of outstanding records by Swell and Prolapse, who were also at their very best around that time. Have a listen to the indie sound of 1997


Turn It On

The Lonesome Crowded West - MODEST MOUSE

Heart Cooks Brain

Perfect From Now On - BUILT TO SPILL

I Would Hurt A Fly

The Magic City - HELIUM

Leon's Space Song


California Tuffy

Too Many Days Without Thinking - SWELL

(I Know) The Trip

The Italian Flag - PROLAPSE


Sunday, March 05, 2017

Live: Swans @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, March 3rd, 2017)

For their fourth gig in Athens, Michael Gira's Swans returned to Gagarin 205, the venue where we first saw them six years ago. In these six years the band has released three of the best rock albums of this decade, three epic works unlike anything else out there, and it's no exaggeration to say that all of their live shows have been nothing short of a revelation.

This means there was no way I would let my 38°C fever (which I still haven't shaken off completely as I write these lines) to prevent me from attending this sold-out gig and experiencing once again the magnificent sonic constructions that only Swans can create on-stage.

The two hour and 15 minute set masterfully balanced extended, drone-noise pieces like the new composition "The Knot" that occupied the first half hour of the set or "Cloud of Unknowing", with shorter (for their standards, of course, meaning around the 10-minute mark!), leaner, rhythmic noise-punk explosions as the exquisite "Screen Shot" (off our 2014 Album of the Year "To Be Kind") or "The Man Who Refused to Be Unhappy", another excellent new number that prepares us for the next chapter in the Swans history.

The triumphant gig reached its climactic ending with another epic composition, "The Glowing Man", the title track off their latest album. If this album, and therefore this tour, turns out to be, as announced, the end of their current line-up, I can't imaging a more fitting epilogue than this great show. And as the new songs have shown, there is a lot more to expect from Gira and any new reincarnation of the Swans.

The gig opened with something completely different, an hour-long set of Cretan music with the unique voice and lyra playing style of Psarantonis. Gira, a big fan of folk music, is among his admirers and picked him for the opening slot, which was warmly received by the crowd.

Psarantonis, live @ Gagarin 205
Check out below two of the highlights from the fourth Athens gig of the Swans, "Screen Shot" and "The Man Who Refused to Be Unhappy" and click on this tag if you want to remember what went down at their three previous shows here (and more Swans related posts).

Swans - Screen Shot (live @ Gagarin 205)

Swans - The Man Who Refused To Be Unhappy (live @ Gagarin 205)

Swans, live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, March 3rd, 2017)