Michael Gira Gears Up For A Swans Reissue, A Solo Tour And An Oral History On His 35-Year Career

Michael Gira’s Young God label has just released Swans’ seminal Soundtracks For The Blind on vinyl for the first time. The double album was initially issued in 1996 and was the last Swans studio record prior to the band’s reformation (sans Jarboe, the only constant member aside from Gira for a decade) four years later. The initial 4,000 copies of the vinyl Soundtracks For The Blind reissue come as a four-LP boxed set with a poster. After that version sells out, Young God will issue a non-limited-edition gatefold-sleeve edition. Soundtracks is also available as a three-CD set, with a disc featuring German-only 1996 EP Die Tür Ist Zu, which was issued earlier this year on vinyl for Record Store Day.

Soundtracks For The Blind was an intensely personal album for both Gira and Jarboe. “Michael and I were both going through the decline of a parent,” Jarboe told MAGNET in 2016. “This was a significant aspect of our lives, and, indeed, aging parents who become ill is a significant part of the lives of many others.”

“My father and I didn’t speak—he was out of my life—for about 12 years,” said Gira. “I wanted to get to know him again without the tension of the earlier years. He was a great man, though. I wanted to capture that as he went through the process of going blind.”

“Our personal field recordings used on Soundtracks gave both a true soundtrack feel and provide a document of our lives,” said Jarboe. “And I also believe listeners have a deep experience because of this.”

Gira will be hitting the road this fall for a handful of solo West Coast dates as well as a one-off Brooklyn show. In the meantime, though, Jawbone Press has published Swans: Sacrifice And Transcendence, An Oral History, a book by Nick Soulsby tracing the 35-year career of Gira’s one-of-a-kind musical ensemble.

Tour dates and album artwork below. And while you’re here, read our MAGNET Classics on the making of Soundtracks For The Blind:

MAGNET Classics: The Making Of Swans’ “Soundtracks For The Blind”

Tour Dates
9/27 – Los Angeles, Regent Theatre
9/29 – Berkeley, CA, The UC Theatre
10/4 – Portland, The Old Church Concert Hall
10/5 – Seattle, Columbia City Theater
10/25 – Brooklyn, Warsaw

A New Public Image Ltd Boxed Set Is Both From The Heart And Rotten

It’s a bitter “pil” to swallow, but Public Image Ltd does indeed turn 40 this year. Happy? Disappointed?

After quitting the Sex Pistols in January 1978, Johnny Rotten reverted back to his birth name—John Lydon—and immediately formed PiL with guitarist Keith Levene (Clash), bassist Jah Wobble and drummer Jim Walker. By the end of 1980, only Levene remained from Lydon’s original lineup, a sign of the countless personnel changes to follow during the band’s initial 14-year run. Lydon “reunited” PiL in 2009 with guitarist Lu Edmonds (Damned), drummer Bruce Smith (Slits) and bassist Scott Firth (Spice Girls, John Martyn, Elvis Costello), and the quartet has self-released two albums, the last being What The World Needs Now… in 2015.

What comes next for Lydon and Co. is both a brave new world and the same old story: On Friday, UMe will release The Public Image Is Rotten (Songs From The Heart), a five-CD/two-DVD boxed set also available as a six-LP collection. The former contains Singles 1978-2015 (CD1), B-sides, Rarities & Radio Sessions (CD2), 12″ Mixes & Dance Tracks (CD3), Unreleased Mixes & Tracks (CD4) and Live @ New York Ritz: July 16th 1989 (CD5) and Promo Videos And Tallinn Rock Summer Festival, Estonia August 26th 1988 (DVD1) and BBC TV Performances: Archive And Sydney, Enmore Theatre, Australia, April 10th 2013 (DVD2). The LP set has all the singles, b-sides and 12-inch mixes and dance tracks, plus some of the unreleased material.

PiL’s public image will be bolstered even more this year when the Tabbert Fiiller-directed The Public Image Is Rotten documentary hits theaters and the band hits North American for a four-week tour this fall.

Back in 2012, Lydon told MAGNET that PiL was about “personal politics. Looking inwards and solving your own problems. You can go a long way toward helping others if you can get ahead of that game. When I started, the targets were institutions and governments, not easy targets, not in the social landscape of that time. Groundbreaking on my part, really. PiL is about clearing yourself up inside and, by example, hoping that lifestyle improves the lifestyle of others. My general principle, and that goes for PiL as well, has always been to not tell lies. Cheat no one. I never have.”

That’s no selfish rubbish.

Live dates and track listings for both boxed sets after the jump.

Continue reading “A New Public Image Ltd Boxed Set Is Both From The Heart And Rotten”

In The News: Mogwai, Eric Bachmann, Joy Formidable, Marissa Nadler, Murder By Death, Sun Kil Moon, Say Hi, Marc Ribot, Jack Drag, Blues Traveller And More

On August 31, Temporary Residence will release Mogwai’s soundtrack to Kin, a sci-fi/crime drama directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker. Although the Scottish post-rockers have scored documentaries such as Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Before The Flood and Atomic: Living In Dread And Promise and contributed to the likes of Miami Vice and The Fountain, Kin marks Mogwai’s first feature-film soundtrack. We think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship … Longtime MAGNET fave Eric Bachmann delivers the stripped-down follow-up to his excellent 2016 self-titled album on September 7; the nine-track No Recover (Merge) features Liz Durrett as well as Bachmann’s Archers Of Loaf bandmate Eric Johnson … The Joy Formidable‘s AAARTH is the Welsh trio’s fourth album, out September 28 via Hassle … For My Crimes is Marissa Nadler’s eighth album, out September 28 via Sacred Bones/Bella Union and featuring Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Kristin Kontrol and Patty Schemel … Also on album number eight are Murder By Death (whose The Other Shore will be issued by Bloodshot on August 24) and Josh Groban (whose Bridges is out via Reprise on September 21) … Sun Kil Moon‘s This Is My Dinner is out November 1 on Caldo Verde, and yes, it features an AC/DC cover (“Rock ‘N’ Roll Singer”) … Your mom will be thrilled to know that Say Hi’s latest, Caterpillar Centipede, is due September 7 on Euphobia … This just in: We’re getting a vague impression some people might not love Trump—like guitar hero Marc Ribot, whose Songs Of Resistance 1942-2018 (Anti-, September 14) is self-described as “anti-Trump” and features guest vocalists including Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Meshell Ndegeocello, Sam Amidon and Tift Merritt … It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a decade since the Mendoza Line broke up, but it’s nice to know Shannon McArdle’s third solo album since, A Touch Of Class, is out August 24 on Bar/None … Around the time we first got turned on to the Mendoza Line around the MAGNET office, we were also grooving to Jack Drag‘s excellent Dope Box; now songwriter/composer/producer John Dragonetti (Submarines) is back with 2018, his first Jack Drag album in 16 years and one that features contributions from Aimee Mann, Dylan Gardner and members of Belle And Sebastian, Eels and Dispatch … With now having marked three decades in the music biz, Blues Traveler returns October 12 with 13th LP Hurry Up & Hang Around (BMG) … Third Eye Blind’s Thanks For Everything (Mega Collider, August 24) is a covers EP of songs by Queens Of The Stone Age, Tim Buckley, Santigold, Bon Iver, Babyshambles, Chastity Belt and Happy Diving … Speaking of covers: Ann Wilson will release Immortal (BMG, September 14), on which the Heart singer/guitarist pays tribute to songs by departed heroes like David Bowie, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen, Chris Cornell, Amy Winehouse and more … In Doubt, Shadow Him! is a documentary about Lee Ranaldo that finds director Arnaud Maguet following the Sonic Youth guitarist around NYC while he interacts with other music and visual artists; Ranaldo and Hifiklub composed and performed the film’s six-track soundtrack, out July 6 on Joyful Noise … Secret Club, Pohgoh’s first album of new material in 21 years, is out September 7 via New Granada.

In The News: Paul McCartney, The Dig, Dirty Projectors, Villagers, Mirah, Gillian Welch, Circles Around The Sun, Salim Nourallah, Boz Scaggs And More

Roll up for the Magical Mystery Tour—step right this way. Paul McCartney is set to take you away on a musical journey that kicks off September 7 at Egypt Station. The Capitol Records-sponsored jaunt includes 14 brand-new stops, including exotic locales such as “I Don’t Know,” “Come On To Me,” “Happy With You,” “People Want Peace” and “Despite Repeated Warnings,” bookended by “Station I” and “Station II.” Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck, Foo Fighters, et al) oversaw the production of McCartney’s first guided tour in five years, providing everything you need to have your satisfaction guaranteed. Consider this your invitation to make a reservation … If you bought the Dig‘s Moonlight Baby EP last month, you already have half of the band’s new album; Moonlight Baby will be combined with the forthcoming Afternoon With Caroline EP on October 19 as El Dig: A Year Of Music (or maybe just as Moonlight Baby / Afternoon With Caroline; it’s confusing) and released via Roll Call … Lamp Lit Prose is the eighth album from Dirty Projectors, and it will see a July 13 release on Domino … Go folk yourself with the new Villagers LP, The Art Of Pretending To Swim, out September 21, also on Domino … Understanding is Mirah‘s sixth solo album, out September 7 via Absolute Magnitude … The great Gillian Welch is celebrating the 15th anniversary of her Soul Journey with an audiophile-quality-vinyl reissue of the 2003 album, marking the first time the record is available as, uh, a record … Circles Around The Sun is guitarist Neal Casal (Ryan Adams, Beachwood Sparks, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Hard Working Americans), keyboardist Adam MacDougall (CRB, Black Crowes), bassist Dan Horne (Allah-Las, Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson) and drummer Mark Levy (Phil Lesh & Friends, Congress); the supergroup will release sophomore double album Let It Wander on August 17 via Rhino … Also seeing double is Salim Nourallah (Old 97’s, Damnwells, Rhett Miller, Deathray Davies), whose 21-track Somewhere South Of Sane is out September 28 on Palo Santo … Who’s the boz, you ask—well, it’s Boz Scaggs, of course, whose 19th solo album (by our count) Out Of The Blues is out July 27 on Concord … King Of The Road: A Tribute To Roger Miller (BMG, August 31) is, well, a tribute to legendary singer/songwriter Roger Miller, most popular for his song “King Of The Road”; the two-CD set features the likes of Ringo Starr, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, John Goodman,  Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam and Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson & Merle Haggard tackling the Miller songbook. (Fun fact: Like Miller, all those listed above have had careers in both music and acting.)

In The News: Death Cab For Cutie, Spiritualized, Jon Spencer, Brant Bjork, Mighty Mighty BossToneS, Houndmouth, James, Blitzen Trapper And More

It seems like just yesterday we had the brilliant Dave Eggers interview Death Cab For Cutie for the cover of MAGNET, but, kids, that was so three and half years ago. Back then, Trump had no chance of every becoming president. But luckily, on August 17 and thanks to the fine folks at Atlantic Records, we’ll have a new DCFC album to escape reality with. Thank You For Today is the ninth LP from Ben Gibbard and his band of renown, which now officially includes Dave Depper (Menomena, Fruit Bats, Corin Tucker, Ray Lamontagne) and Zac Rae (My Brightest Diamond, Fiona Apple, Lana Del Rey, Gnarls Barkley). Like Grammy-nominated predecessor Kintsugi, the 10-track Thank You For Today was produced by Rich Costey (Fiona Apple, Franz Ferdinand, Muse). Catch Death Cab live starting in August, cuties … Another former MAGNET cover star, Spiritualized, is back September 7 with And Nothing Hurt (Fat Possum), Jason “Spaceman” Pierce and Co.’s first LP since 2012’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light (a.k.a. The Huh? Album) … Blues Explosion frontman Jon Spencer, whose handsome mug has adorned the cover of MAGNET twice, will release his debut solo album, Spencer Sings The Hits!, this fall via In The Red … We wish Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu) luck with new album Mankind Woman (Heavy Psych Sounds, September 14), his 13th solo LP … It’s only taken Pram 11 years, but the British quartet is back with the July 20 release of Across The Meridian (Domino) … Big Rig just released While We’re At It, the 10th album from the Mighty Mighty BossToneS and their first in seven years … Merge is issuing Someday Everything Will Be Fine, the third LP from Spider Bags, on August 3 … Houndmouth will release third album (and Reprise debut) Golden Age on August 3 … There’s a new James album coming (so, we guess, she’s on top), and it’s called Living In Extraordinary Times and out August 3 through Infectious/BMG … Blitzen Trapper‘s Furr gets the 10th-anniversary reissue treatment on September 14 courtesy of Sub Pop … Soundtrack To The World’s End (Dead Frog), the Mommyheads‘ first album in six years, is due September 7 … Original Public Image Ltd bassist Jah Wobble is self-releasing Dream World on August 3 … On October 26, Decca/Sugar will issue Andrea Bocelli‘s first album of all-new material in 14 years.

MAGNET Fave The Green Pajamas To Play Last Show

When the Green Pajamas first started playing together, a gallon of gas cost 91 cents, a pack of cigarettes cost 82 cents, Ronald Reagan was in the middle of fighting the Second Cold War, the USA Today began publishing and Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the number-one album in the world. 36 years later, the Jeff Kelly-led cult band with more than 30 well-worth-seeking-out albums under its belt is playing its last show ever. This Friday, at Slim’s Last Chance in the band’s native Seattle, the Pajamas will take the stage for the final time with the promise of giving their devoted fans something special to remember them by.

Kelly and Co. say they’re leaving the door open for the possibility of new music being released under the Green Pajamas moniker, and he and his bandmates will continue on with their solo and group projects. Yet June 29, 2018, will remain a sad day for the small-but-loyal number of us who were lucky enough to have had the Pajamas and their music in our lives for so long.

Even though it’s time for bed, you can bet we’re gonna stay up extra late, ordering cognacs from Kim The Waitress, eating peppermint sticks, wearing our favorite Green Pajamas one last time and knowing this is where they disappear.

Read our 2009 Pajamas tour diary, the band’s 2012 guest-editing stint, Jeff and Suzanne Kelly’s 2014 guest-editing stint, our Q&A with Jeff …

Q&A With The Green Pajamas

… our feature on Susanne’s Fur For Fairies …

Fur For Fairies: Devil Down

… and, finally, our feature on both Jeff and Susanne:

Susanne And Jeff Kelly: Reckless Abandon

In The News (Reissues And Collections Edition): John Coltrane, U2, Phish, Grateful Dead, Nick Mason, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, J Balvin And More

55 years ago John Coltrane and his classic quartet—bassist Jimmy Garrison, drummer Elvin Jones and pianist McCoy Tyner—recorded a full-on studio album, and when finished, Trane brought the reference tape home and never did anything with it. After the family of Contrane’s first wife, Naima, brought its existence to the attention of Impulse!, the label is releasing it June 29 as Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album, available as a standard seven-track CD or LP as well as a deluxe 14-track double CD or LP. Kids, as far as jazz history goes, this is a huge deal … On July 27, UMC/Island/Interscope will reissue three U2 albums on double vinyl: 1991’s landmark Achtung Baby, 1993’s Zooropa and 1998’s The Best Of 1980-1990Phish‘s The Baker’s Dozen: Live At Madison Square Garden documents the 13 shows and 26 unique sets the band performed a year ago at the NYC venue over 17 nights; it’s available in three formats: a three-CD or six-LP set (with 13 tracks hand-picked by the band) as well as the 36-CD The Complete Baker’s Dozen Box Set, which compiles all of the performances … The three-CD C89 (Cherry Red, July 27) follows C86, C87 and C88 in documenting in the incredibly vibrant ’80s indie scene across the pond, featuring tons of great bands you’ve never heard of as well as faves such as the Stone Roses, the La’s, the Telescopes, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, Pooh Sticks and more … On June 29, Verve/UMe gives a slightly early 100th birthday gift to the legendary Leonard Bernstein via the two-CD Jazz Loves Bernstein featuring jazz greats—including Billie Holiday, Bill Evans, Sarah Vaughan, Mel Tormé, Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall—interpreting some of his classics … Rhino’s got the cure for your post-Labor Day blues September 7 with the Grateful Dead‘s Pacific Northwest ’73-’74: The Complete Recordings, a limited-edition 19-CD boxed set featuring six previously unreleased shows from Portland, Seattle and Vancouver; also available the same day is Pacific Northwest ’73-’74: Believe It If You Need It, a three-CD best-of from those shows … Eric B & Rakim‘s long out-of-print catalog will be out of print no longer July 13 thanks to UMe, which is releasing The Complete Collection 1987-1992, a 10-disc (eight LPs and two CDs) boxed set featuring the duo’s four albums—1987’s Paid In Full, 1988’s Follow The Leader, 1990’s Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em and 1992’s Don’t Sweat The Technique—plus two CDs of rare, vintage remixes … The next time you’re at a hipster party and someone mentions Japanese cult musician Haruomi Hosono (Yellow Magic Orchestra, Happy End), you don’t have to pretend to know who he is; Light In The Attic is reissuing five of his Japanese-only solo albums: 1978’s Paraiso, 1982’s Philharmony and 1989’s Omni Sight Seeing (August 10) and 1973’s Hosono House and 1978’s Cochin Moon (September 28) … Some trivia to impress your not-very-bright friends: Pink Floyd co-founder Nick Mason is the only constant member of the legendary band; Unattended Luggage (Warner Music, August 31) collects his three solo albums—1981’s Fictitious Sports, 1985’s Profiles and 1987’s White Of The Eye—as three-CD and three-LP sets … A remastered/expanded edition of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone‘s Etiquette (from 2006) is out July 13 via Orindal … Country Singer’s Prayer, Buck Owens’ final, unreleased Capitol album from 1975, will finally see the light of day August 17 on Omnivore … Afro-Cuban All StarsA Toda Cuba Le Gusta will be reissued on heavyweight vinyl on September 7 by World Circuit … On July 27, Alpha Dog 2T/UMe will reissue Styx‘s The Mission as a two-disc package including the original LP as well as a Blu-ray with the album mixed in 5.1 Surround Sound that has accompanying visuals for each track, a documentary and music videos; prior to that, on June 29, Eagle Rock will issue CD and Blue-ray versions of Tommy Shaw‘s Sing For The Day!, a performance by the singer/guitarist with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra featuring both Styx and solo material … You might know Latin superstar J Balvin from his collaborations with the likes of Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Pharrell and Major Lazer, but you can get to know him ever better with Bruuttal, a 26-track concert-film DVD out July 20 on Eagle Vision … On July 20, Craft Recordings will release five hip-hop albums on vinyl that were originally issued by the Delicious Vinyl between 1989 and 1995: Tone-Lōc‘s Lōc-ed After Dark, Young MC‘s Stone Cold Rhymin’, Masta Ace Incorporated‘s SlaughtaHouse and Sittin’ On Chrome and the Pharcyde‘s Labcabincalifornia.