Working with bands such as Angels of Light, World of Skin and, most famously, Swans -- not to mention what he describes as enough collaborators to fill a small stadium -- post-punk pioneer Michael Gira has been experimenting with sonic extremes for over three decades.
In the days following the New York No-Wave scene of the late '70s, Swans, Gira's most critically celebrated and commercially successful endeavor, made a name for itself as a furious progenitor of experimental American rock. The band's signatures: tortured guitar drones; industrial, guttural percussion; and the maniacal howling of Gira, the group's frontman and lone constant.
But the careful listener knows Gira isn't always about crushing volume, Swans included. In fact, when pressed to discuss contemporary sounds, Gira immediately namedrops Lykke Li and Fever Ray.
"I've noticed there's a lot of interesting music coming out of Sweden," Gira says. He particularly enjoys electro-pop acts like Lykke Li, Fever Ray, and The Knife for "the great singing."
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While tracks like "Reeling The Liars In" from the recently reformed Swans' first full-length in over 10 years, My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, are a far cry from the spunk of Lykke Li or the digital epics of Fever Ray, Gira's newest work is still indicative of his broad sonic palette.
And even though Swans was put on hold to take a break from the pounding, Gira seems to be realizing more every day that extremes are that much more extreme when split with a little silence.
Swans with Sir Richard Bishop and Axe and the Oak. Wednesday, September 14. Respectable Street, 518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. The show starts at 8 p.m. and advance tickets cost $18.50. Ages 18 and up. Call 561-832-9999 or visit respectablestreet.com.