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Either/Or: Sonic Youth vs. Swans

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New York Noise makers: Either/Or

Sonic Youth
65
58%
Swans
48
42%
 
Total votes : 113

Either/Or: Sonic Youth vs. Swans

Postby Hector_the_Dwarf on Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:09 pm

Both were a product of the post no-wave period in New York in the early eighties, making challenging, abrasive music at the begining of their careers. I think the period of Confusion is Sex to EVOL was SY's most accomplished while Sister and Daydream Nation prefigured the formula they would follow on the future Geffen records, playing it a little more safe in the process. Likewise the Swans enjoyed a fruitful time from their inception to at least 87. I think the Swans lost some of their teeth after the inclusion of Jarboe neutered their sound but they still made good albums even though that acoustic stuff was a little maulding. Although it falls down to a matter of personal taste I would say the Swans by a close margin. Overall darker and their live performances were crushing.
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Postby kerble on Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:15 pm

I haven't heard Swans actually, but there was a long stretch of my musical formative years where sonic youth were very important to me.

Even with the possibility of great music by Swans, I don't think they would have that kind of long-lasting impact that SY did because of growing up with their albums. Right place, right time.



SY.
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Postby Into the Void on Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:18 pm

Swans, definitely the Swans.
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Postby gio on Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:22 pm

From what I've heard of both (which is some Swans and a lot of SY) it sounds to me like the Swans do one thing very well, which is the style that SY were doing at the outset in the early 80s, and that SY do that well and then went on to do other things well in addition.

If you're comparing only on "No Wave" terms... no comment.

In career terms... no contest. SY hands down.
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Postby Peripatetic on Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:24 pm

Sonic Youth.

Easily.
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Postby Champion Rabbit on Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:58 pm

Swans by a country mile.

Whatever one might think of either band, at least Swans didn't inspire thousands of feeble, boring, anaemic college bands.
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Postby Champion Rabbit on Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:09 pm

Also:

Image

vs

Image
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Postby tommydski on Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:20 pm

sonic youth.

all of their stuff up to daydream nation was pretty darn good. 'sister' and 'evol' obviously being the high points. plus they are nice people.
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Postby Jeremy B on Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:32 pm

Champion Rabbit wrote:Whatever one might think of either band, at least Swans didn't inspire thousands of feeble, boring, anaemic college bands.



Though the Swans did inspire an equal amount of boring, one note "industrial" bands. I don't think you should ever judge a band by the bands they influenced (not that I am necessarily saying you were).

It's a dead heat for me, the Swans best moments (Greed/Holy Money, Children of God) match up equally, if not supercede some of Sonic Youth's best moments (Sister, Evol, Bad Moon Rising). I probably listen to Sonic Youth more on a regular basis. They were both great bands who would go on to make some awful music. I guess I'll say Swans, Michael Gira is still making pretty great music, and, aside from Murray Street, Sonic Youth have been pretty boring for quite awhile.

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Postby yaledelay on Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:33 pm

why do you people hate me??? why do I have to choose between some of my favoritist of bands? what have I done wrong to deserve this fate?
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Postby tommydski on Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:46 pm

*world shoves forward tommydski*

:shock:
well....there was that one time you punched a baby.
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Postby placeholder on Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:55 pm

Swans, easily, though I like SY quite a bit.
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Postby bigc on Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:33 pm

Swans all the way. I saw them a long time ago and I can almost still feel the crush of volume on my chest. The early stuff is pure filth.

Tada!
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Postby cjh on Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:37 pm

Image

Image

(sonic youth!)
Image
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Postby Zach english on Wed Mar 08, 2006 1:54 pm

Though both bands were comrades in the post-No Wave scene, I see no musical similarities between them.

This is an easy vote for me, because Sonic Youth's early records--particularly "Evol" and "Sister"--are completely off-the-wall and cacophonous, yet imbued throughout with gorgeous melodies. The Swans can't properly be said to make "music" at all, just a dull and excruciating thud.

Lyrically, Sonic Youth was breaking new ground, and almost nobody every mentions this. "Bad Moon Rising" is an exploration of how society warps peoples' minds by repressing their urges, and "Evol" depicts "love" as being eradicated by technological progress. "Sister" is even more confusing and striking, dealing with all sorts of ideas, from Philip Dick's apocalyptic visions to schizophrenia, presenting a sort of "reality/appearance" dichotomy. I think a thorough, close reading of Sonic Youth's lyrics would be a great thing to have, but no one has seemed interested in it.

My vote: Sonic Youth.
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Postby yaledelay on Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:08 pm

tommydski wrote:*world shoves forward tommydski*

:shock:
well....there was that one time you punched a baby.


that baby asked for it!, did you see what it was wearing?
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Postby Ivan Dobsky on Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:17 pm

yaledelay wrote:why do you people hate me??? why do I have to choose between some of my favoritist of bands? what have I done wrong to deserve this fate?


You don't.

Behold

Image

All is now well.

b
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Postby yaledelay on Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:54 pm

kerble wrote:I haven't heard Swans actually, but there was a long stretch of my musical formative years where sonic youth were very important to me.

Even with the possibility of great music by Swans, I don't think they would have that kind of long-lasting impact that SY did because of growing up with their albums. Right place, right time.



SY.


Kerble do yourself a favor and pick up Children of God it is very very very good...
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Postby Into the Void on Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:26 pm

yaledelay wrote:Kerble do yourself a favor and pick up Children of God it is very very very good...


Actually, I wouldn't start there. Check out Cop/Young God, Greed/Holy Money, or Filth first to get what I would call the "best" Swans sound. Contrary to the statements above their sound did evolve quite a bit, more than Sonic Youth's in my opinion.
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....

Postby syntaxfree07 on Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:33 pm

I think Swans are better. I do like Sonic Youth more, however. No band has influnced me more than they have. No one has even come close. Their live show beats the shit out of anything.
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