To Be Kind
Swans - 2014
Swans have never been the band to stay within one specific sound. They've experimented with electronics, gone full noise rock, and on their last record, 2012's fantastic The Seer, they returned to a less-folksy sound, instead going more grandiose, world-beating after their first comeback album, 2010's My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope In The Sky, and on To Be Kind, they take that massive sound and expand on it, bringing in a wide range of collaborators and influences. The result? The best Swans album since Soundtracks for the Blind and maybe the best Swans album ever. Highlights include singles "A Little God In My Hands", which sounds like whatever a Swans funk track should sound like, and just as you get comfortable with the sound, ramps up the noise to a near-deafening level, and "Oxygen", an eight-minute build on a single guitar riff that ends in a music sort of explosion. Other high points are massive closer "To Be Kind" and the 34 minute attack on ears, "Bring The Sun / Toussaint l'overture". All in all, Swans has blown away any competition for my album of the year so far, and I can't think of anything that will be able to top this in the next six months. A near perfect record.
Michael Di Gennaro ranks this as the
#9 favorite album of 2014