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

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mahogany Frog - Do5 – Canada’s Mahogany Frog has been slightly off the main prog radar in their native Winnipeg honing their own incarnation of the 70s classic prog rock sound. On the quartet’s third instrumental...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues