Three years ago, Swans released what was heralded as their final album, The Glowing Man. However, frontman Michael Gira went out of his way to consistently clarify the effort was only the last from the project’s then-current incarnation. True to his word, Gira has revitalized the Swans name for a new LP, Leaving Meaning, which is being previewed today with the lead single “It’s Coming It’s Real”.
Due out October 25th via Young God Records/Mute, Leaving Meaning marks Swans’ 15th studio full-length. Though Gira wrote and produced the record himself, it features over a dozen contributors — including all the members from the Glowing Man-era lineup. Yes, guitarist Norman Westberg, multi-instrumentalist Thor Harris, lap steel player/guitarist Kristof Hahn, drummer Phil Puelo (here, only playing hammer dulcimer on “Amnesia”), bassist Christopher Pravdica, and pianist Paul Wallfisch all appear on the 12-track effort.
And they are far from alone. Larry Mullins (The Stooges, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds); Angels of Light’s Dana Schecther, Larry Mullins, and Cassis Staudt; The Necks members Chris Abrahams, Tony Buck, and Lloyd Swanton; A Hawk and a Hacksaw’s Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost; composer Ben Frost; and Gira’s wife, Jennifer, can be heard in various capacities throughout Leaving Meaning.
Speaking in a press release about this massive collaborative effort, Michael Gira says,
“Swans is now comprised of a revolving cast of musicians, selected for both their musical and personal character, chosen according to what I intuit best suits the atmosphere in which I’d like to see the songs I’ve written presented. In collaboration with me, the musicians, through their personality, skill and taste, contribute greatly to the arrangement of the material. They’re all people whose work I admire and whose company I personally enjoy.”
As a first taste of what this loosely defined Swans lineup can do, Gira has shared the new single “It’s Coming It’s Real”. The track has a carefully layered mosey to it, like a lone ranger shuffling around a campfire. As the flames build, so does the music, becoming something of a creeping boom. Take a listen below.
Pre-orders for Leaving Meaning are available now. This fall, Gira and Norma Westerberg will tour select European cities, with a more expansive Swans trek planned for spring 2020.
Below, find the Leaving Meaning artwork and tracklist, as well as an image featuring all of the record’s contributors.
Leaving Meaning Artwork:
Leaving Meaning Tracklist:
03. The Hanging Man
04. Amnesia (feat. Anna and Maria von Hausswolff on backing vocals)
05. Leaving Meaning (feat. The Necks)
06. Sunfucker – (feat. Anna and Maria von Hausswolff on backing vocals)
07. Cathedrals of Heaven
08. The Nub (feat. The Necks, Baby Dee on guest vocals)
09. It’s Coming It’s Real (feat. Anna and Maria von Hausswolff on backing vocals)
10. Some New Things *
11. What Is This
12. My Phantom Limb
* = only on digital/CD