July 17, 2011

Public Castration Is a Good Idea - 1986

I've heard Swans described as sounding like a Brontosaurus fucking a cement truck. I, personally, have described them as sounding like a bunch of cave men threatening to rape someone. No matter what kind of metaphors you want to apply to the band, everyone can agree that it is heavy, crushing, violent, and angry.

Swans frequently get lumped in with no wave bands but really don't belong there. Swans makes Mars sound like 30 Seconds To Mars. Okay, maybe Filth sounds a little no wave but by the next album, Cop, Swans had spiraled so far down that it can no longer be labeled as no wave. Maybe I would call it simply "no" music.

By 1986 Jarbo was in the band but her influence wasn't really there, yet. I love her creepy background vocals, but there is no denying that the band mellows out once she joins (compare Cop to Holy Money or Children Of God). I'm not commenting on whether or not she is responsible for the change of Swans' sound, rather stating that the change happened shortly after she joined the band. That's what makes this live album such an anomaly. With Holy Money Swans were loosening up a bit, but none of that is present on this record. Children Of God must have been quite a shock after witnessing this album live. Instruments??!! Melodies?!?! A woman singing?!?! I wonder if Gira and Co. figured they couldn't go any further with this sound after this album.

I really love how this is a metal album without sounding at all like heavy metal music. I have no idea why metal didn't progress more toward this. Why metal is huge and glossy is a mystery to me. No other band can move this much air with such few instruments.

I generally think live albums are sub-par. They usually sound horrible and just end up being the artists greatest hits played faster. I do, however, think there are a few stand outs. I'd say this album, (the) Melvins' Colussus Of Destiny, Throbbing Gristle's Heathen Earth, The Blue Meanies' A Sonic Documentation Of Exhibition And Banter, Mayhem's Live In Leipzig and Sam Cooke's Live At The Harlem Square Club are pretty much the only live albums I think are better or equal to the artist's studio work.

Download and play this as loudly as you can stand it.....

Note: There is a silent gap at the end of Fool. This is on both copies of the CD that I have heard. Also, this CD sounds like it's just recorded from a vinyl copy. Again, both copies of this CD that I have heard sound this way. This is the version on Thirsty Ear that came out in 1999.

Track listing:
from CD:
1. Money Is Flesh
2. Fool
3. A Screw
4. Anything For You
5. Coward
6. A Hanging
7. Stupid Child
8. Another You

Download Public Castration Is a Good Idea from DivShare (151.2 MB)


. said...

Got any Donovan?

Anonymous said...

Know where I can score some H?