Exposé Online banner

Swans — Cop/Young God, Greed/Holy Money
(Thirsty Ear thi57059.2, 1986/1999, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-05-01

Cop/Young God, Greed/Holy Money Cover art

For those of you unfamiliar with this ensemble on this reissue two disc set, Swans is an artsy cult band who blazed a trail of punishing punk metal which is fairly popular in certain circles. The band is now recent history, the members having finally moved onto higher ground from the carnage remaining after over ten years of violent musical expression. Disc one is Cop / Young God and indicates a certain fascination with heavy themes, but in an experimental tone which fits into a more punk approach unique for its time. I guess you could say when Van Halen was coaxing an audience to "Go ahead, Jump", these guys were blazing away with a new sound which wouldn't surface until much later. From the band's early influences (Black Sabbath and techno primarily), it was clear that the group was pounding its way into a pulsing and purlverizing musical warzone. This two disc set collects their most influential early work from the mid 80s onto two almost 80 minute discs. There is an almost subversive Jim Morrison-like prose delivery from Michael Gira on "Another You" which showcases the group's ability sustain aggression. This set is the most crushing ambient approach I've heard yet within a band context: the stuff that major label reps analyzed to determine if they wanted to sign the band to their mainstream label. That probably tells you why indie label Thirsty Ear scooped up these recordings long after the group decimated their own musical landscape. And should this appeal to a progrock enthusiast, you ask? There is some grungy heavy material on the albums which should long ago have found an inroad into modern progressive attitude. From that point alone I believe there is a relevant viewpoint to acknowledge the band in addition to influencing other modern bands such as Tool.

Filed under: Archives, Issue 19, 1999 releases, 1986 recordings

Related artist(s): Swans

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Porcupine Tree - Waiting – This is Porcupine Tree's latest three-song CD EP, appropriately titled I suppose, while we are waiting for the release of their next full length CD Signify this coming fall. The music here is a...  (1996) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues