SWAIN steps out of the studio and onto the stage
One of the best things about searching for much online is that within a few seconds you can find exactly what you are looking for. Spotify and Bandcamp have reduced what used to take hours, days and weeks into a simple operation. There is a downside though. Once you find your new favourite, unless they live near you, it might be really hard to see the live. This is a problem everyone at thisyearinmusic has a lot. One of our recent finds, and favourites, is SWAIN.
This American singer songwriter has us captivated. His low tempo take on the singer-songwriter troubadour is enchanting. So far this year SWAIN has released a slew of singles. Each song has a lo-fi feel to it. They’re like the old delta blues tradition. One song. One take. They are raw and have emotion to them. Basically it’s powerful stuff.
Now he’s released another single, For Shame, but this time it’s from a live set. Off the bat, you can tell this not the same guy, he’s an agenda and something to say. There is a power and level of aggression that isn’t on his studio recordings.
After the whoops and caterwauls from the crowd, SWAIN opens with the line “Styrofoam and xylophones”. This has a touch of Bob Dylan to it, when he would just put words together that rhymed rather than for their meaning. This is a clever technique and shows that SWAIN has more tricks in his box than originally thought. The music is frantic and rhythmic. There is a slight grunge/sludge feel to it, but due to being played on an acoustic it never loses sense of what it’s about. Being angry and venting it!