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Either/Or: Sonic Youth vs. Swans

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New York Noise makers: Either/Or

Sonic Youth
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Swans
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Total votes : 113

Postby Into the Void on Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:53 pm

yaledelay wrote: I think Faiz would like Children the best
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Postby rzs on Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:20 am

Hopefully this will help clarify this polarizing question.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_w-O9CbjP4

At first I assumed he was using a microphone, but it looks suspiciously like he's holding a flashlight to his face "scary story" style...
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Postby 242sumner on Sun Aug 06, 2006 9:57 am

Swans,of course.Much more original and darker.
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Postby SecondEdition on Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:05 am

For me, Swans are superior, though Sonic Youth is probably far more influential.

A dead heat between Children of God and Daydream Nation, but for me, Children takes it. There has never been one moment nearly as earth-shaking in SY's discography as there has been in, say, "Beautiful Child," "Like A Drug," "In My Garden," or the title track.
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Postby evolu on Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:38 am

I can't believe there is a debate over this...

Swans - Dull, ploddy dirge and the worst sounding recordings ever made. Saw them live a couple of times in the late 80's early 90's, they literally bored me 7 colours shit-less on all occasions.

Sonic Youth - well, they're Sonic Youth. Have made some mediocre albums and some ball-beltingly good albums. Stayed true and kept it real. Never been that impressed with SY live performances either.
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Postby a. james on Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:47 am

swans.

more balls.
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Postby SecondEdition on Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:15 pm

evolu wrote:I can't believe there is a debate over this...

Swans - Dull, ploddy dirge and the worst sounding recordings ever made. Saw them live a couple of times in the late 80's early 90's, they literally bored me 7 colours shit-less on all occasions.

Sonic Youth - well, they're Sonic Youth. Have made some mediocre albums and some ball-beltingly good albums. Stayed true and kept it real. Never been that impressed with SY live performances either.


well, whether or not you like Swans, and not liking them is certainly understandable, I can't see how you can accuse them of being poorly produced. None of the instruments are obscured or anything, and the vocals are always audible...worst sounding recordings ever made? "Confusion is Sex" has far worse production than any Swans album.
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Postby robert thefamilyghost on Mon Aug 07, 2006 8:17 pm

easy: Sonic Youth...Swans were good for a while there, their best doesn't come close to Sonic Youth's best, their worst easily blows Sonic Youth's worst out of the water in terms of awfulness...Sonic Youth's my favorite band anyway, so...
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Postby evolu on Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:23 am

SecondEdition wrote:
evolu wrote:I can't believe there is a debate over this...

Swans - Dull, ploddy dirge and the worst sounding recordings ever made. Saw them live a couple of times in the late 80's early 90's, they literally bored me 7 colours shit-less on all occasions.

Sonic Youth - well, they're Sonic Youth. Have made some mediocre albums and some ball-beltingly good albums. Stayed true and kept it real. Never been that impressed with SY live performances either.


well, whether or not you like Swans, and not liking them is certainly understandable, I can't see how you can accuse them of being poorly produced. None of the instruments are obscured or anything, and the vocals are always audible...worst sounding recordings ever made? "Confusion is Sex" has far worse production than any Swans album.


I guess it is all subjective.
To me, Swans recordings sound like they were recorded on a 4 track with DI'd guitars and Bass......fizzy, claustrophobic and flat (not at all warm yet punchy).
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Postby cervixFORaHEart on Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:38 am

this thread forced me to finally actually listen to some swans songs.

um, ok...outside of a boring artistic appeal this music i am hearing is cold and lifeless. two words that i would never associate with most of sonic youths catalog. sy have certainly had their ups and downs over the last few decades, but to even put them in the same category as this music is disgraceful, i think.

one of the great things about sonic youth is the balance. they have always had a great pop sensibility while simultaneously walking the tightrope of cacophony. these tracks from swans i am hearing are just elementary noise.

just my opinion.
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Postby cervixFORaHEart on Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:42 am

"sonic youth is so cool...just think how cool i would be if i said they sucked? oh man, swans...hands down, swans. more balls and darker, dude. more real and shit."
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Postby SecondEdition on Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:22 am

cervixFORaHEart wrote:this thread forced me to finally actually listen to some swans songs.

um, ok...outside of a boring artistic appeal this music i am hearing is cold and lifeless. two words that i would never associate with most of sonic youths catalog. sy have certainly had their ups and downs over the last few decades, but to even put them in the same category as this music is disgraceful, i think.

one of the great things about sonic youth is the balance. they have always had a great pop sensibility while simultaneously walking the tightrope of cacophony. these tracks from swans i am hearing are just elementary noise.

just my opinion.


Do yourself a favor and listen to the Swans album "Children of God." That one is amazing. I like the "Cop" era of the band as well for the sheer hideous thrill and violence of it all, but the "Greed" and "Holy Money" stuff (with a few glaring exceptions) can get rather tedious at times.
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Postby placeholder on Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:09 pm

Oooh! Can I change my vote to SY? That Thurston is just so sassy! I love the way his vocals always follow the guitar part he's playing. And Kim's lyrics are brilliant, scathing attacks on the patriarchy!

Again, Swans by a mile. I will say that Swans took a decidedly sharp downturn after Children of God (...which I don't consider their best album even though I think it's mostly great. I seem to be in the minority.), and this is owing to the increased prominence placed on Jarboe's embarassing caterwauling/cheesy "ethereal" goth crooning. Seriously, she just about ruined that band. Jarboe! Stop with the singing!

Sonic Youth had a run of great releases, starting with the self-titled EP and ending with (the horribly overrated) Daydream Nation. I really, really love those records. Since then, they've put out a whole lot of tedious crap and a couple of fairly decent records (I liked Sonic Nurse quite a lot...). I'm not particularly interested in keeping up with Sonic Youth anymore, since they seem to be coasting these days.

I can kind-of see parallels in the ways these two bands changed over time, what with the starting off great and ending up mediocre-to-awful, but Sonic Youth at their best (to me, Bad Moon Rising) cannot touch Swans at theirs (Public Castration is a Good Idea, hell, everything before Children of God).

By the by, that very first Swans EP is worth seeking out. It is much, much different from any of their other work.

I am more than willing to concede that Swans at their worst are much worse than SY at theirs. There are a couple of Swans songs I can't stand to listen to all the way through. These all involve Jarboe singing in a "boo-scary" voice. That live version of "Blind Love" where Gira keeps howling like a damned wolf doesn't get a lot of play at my house, either.

I'll take Swans' elementary noise over SY's exuberant, yet "edgy" pop tunes any day.
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Postby AAAAAAAARGH on Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:50 pm

I cannot fucking fathom voting Swans.
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Postby SecondEdition on Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:11 pm

This is juvenile, but...

matthew wrote:
His Life and his Death gives us LIFE.......supernatural life- which is His own life because he is God and Man.

Doesn't this sound exactly like something Gira would have spouted on "Children of God"? The sad part about it is, whereas Gira was using that kind of verbiage as a comment on televangelism in general, Matthew is actually serious...
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Postby SecondEdition on Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:12 pm

placeholder wrote:Oooh! Can I change my vote to SY? That Thurston is just so sassy! I love the way his vocals always follow the guitar part he's playing. And Kim's lyrics are brilliant, scathing attacks on the patriarchy!

Again, Swans by a mile. I will say that Swans took a decidedly sharp downturn after Children of God (...which I don't consider their best album even though I think it's mostly great. I seem to be in the minority.), and this is owing to the increased prominence placed on Jarboe's embarassing caterwauling/cheesy "ethereal" goth crooning. Seriously, she just about ruined that band. Jarboe! Stop with the singing!

Sonic Youth had a run of great releases, starting with the self-titled EP and ending with (the horribly overrated) Daydream Nation. I really, really love those records. Since then, they've put out a whole lot of tedious crap and a couple of fairly decent records (I liked Sonic Nurse quite a lot...). I'm not particularly interested in keeping up with Sonic Youth anymore, since they seem to be coasting these days.

I can kind-of see parallels in the ways these two bands changed over time, what with the starting off great and ending up mediocre-to-awful, but Sonic Youth at their best (to me, Bad Moon Rising) cannot touch Swans at theirs (Public Castration is a Good Idea, hell, everything before Children of God).

By the by, that very first Swans EP is worth seeking out. It is much, much different from any of their other work.

I am more than willing to concede that Swans at their worst are much worse than SY at theirs. There are a couple of Swans songs I can't stand to listen to all the way through. These all involve Jarboe singing in a "boo-scary" voice. That live version of "Blind Love" where Gira keeps howling like a damned wolf doesn't get a lot of play at my house, either.

I'll take Swans' elementary noise over SY's exuberant, yet "edgy" pop tunes any day.


What was so wrong with Jarboe's singing? Yeah, it's kinda overwrought...but I'll take her over Lydia Lunch any day.
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Postby ironyengine on Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:22 pm

SecondEdition wrote:What was so wrong with Jarboe's singing? Yeah, it's kinda overwrought...but I'll take her over Lydia Lunch any day.


THIS is your metric?
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Postby placeholder on Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:42 pm

SecondEdition wrote:What was so wrong with Jarboe's singing? Yeah, it's kinda overwrought...but I'll take her over Lydia Lunch any day.


I don't know. Lydia Lunch's vocals are plenty silly, but slightly less so than Jarboe's.

Jarboe's singing was really, really embarrassing. Almost uniformly embarrassing. Have you heard "Hypogirl" from Soundtracks for the Blind? Those are the most cringe-inducing vocals I have ever heard, and not because they're terrifying or harrowing or anything; they're just grating and silly. She puts on a lot of silly, annoying voices and I hate it.
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Postby rzs on Tue Aug 08, 2006 8:57 pm

placeholder wrote:
SecondEdition wrote:What was so wrong with Jarboe's singing? Yeah, it's kinda overwrought...but I'll take her over Lydia Lunch any day.


I don't know. Lydia Lunch's vocals are plenty silly, but slightly less so than Jarboe's.

Jarboe's singing was really, really embarrassing. Almost uniformly embarrassing. Have you heard "Hypogirl" from Soundtracks for the Blind? Those are the most cringe-inducing vocals I have ever heard, and not because they're terrifying or harrowing or anything; they're just grating and silly. She puts on a lot of silly, annoying voices and I hate it.



You think that's bad? Try listening to the version "Blood on Your Hands" from Swans are Dead. She changes her voice on virtually every line. It sounds like a female-goth-Robin Williams. True overkill.
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Postby placeholder on Tue Aug 08, 2006 9:05 pm

rzs wrote:You think that's bad? Try listening to the version "Blood on Your Hands" from Swans are Dead. She changes her voice on virtually every line. It sounds like a female-goth-Robin Williams. True overkill.


That's another horrible one! I swear, with a couple of exceptions (from Children of God and earlier), her vocals ruin every song she sings.
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