So you heard somewhere a band called Swans is coming to perform in Taiwan, but you have no idea who they are nor what kind of music they play. You kind of want to go to the concert, but you’re still not sure. Well, we got you covered. Here are all the questions about Swans you were too afraid to ask.

What is Swans?

Swans is an American experimental rock band that was formed in 1982 by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira.

Why are they called Swans? Does the animal have to do with it?

Gira says he decided to call his band Swans as it described the sound he wanted best. According to Gira, “Swans are majestic, beautiful looking creatures. With really ugly temperaments.”

Who are the members?

The current members are Gira (guitar, vocals), Christopher Hahn (guitar, lap steel guitar), Thor Harris (drums, percussion, vibes, dulcimer, keyboards), Christopher Pravdica (bass guitar), Phil Puleo (drums, percussion, dulcimer) and Norman Westberg (guitar). From its formation in 1982 to its temporary dissolution in 1997, Swans had a shifting lineup of musicians besides Gira, Jarboe – keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter – and guitarist Norman Westberg. Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore was also a past member.

What kind of music do they play?

Swans’ music is associated with experimental rock, no wave, post-punk, noise rock, industrial, gothic rock, art rock, post-rock and neofolk. The band is known for its experimental instrumentation and repetitive song structures.

What are their most famous songs?

Some of their best songs as agreed by netizens and fans alike include:

  • “The Apostate”
  • “A Piece of the Sky”
  • “Bring the Sun/Toussaint L’Ouverture”
  • “The Seer”
  • “A Little God in My Hands”
  • “She Loves Us”
  • “Screenshot”
Are their works well-received?

Yes. The band’s newest albums The Seer and To Be Kind have both received critical acclaim and hailed as being at the forefront of experimental rock. The two albums were ranked on Pitchfork Media‘s “Top 100 Albums of the Decade so Far 2010-2014”

What can I expect from a live show?

Loud noises. Swans is known for the intensity of its live shows, saying it is at once “soul-uplifting and body-destroying.”

I’m sold. When and where can I see them?

Swans will be performing in Taipei at Legacy on Saturday January 31, 2015.

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