Filth (Swans album)

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Studio album by Swans
Released 1983
Recorded April 1983 at Vanguard Studios, New York City, United States
Genre No wave[1]
Length 36:50
Label Neutral
Producer Michael Gira
Swans chronology

Filth is the debut studio album by American post-punk band Swans. It was released in 1983, following their self-titled debut EP, through record label Neutral.


Only band leader and vocalist Michael Gira and drummer Jonathan Kane remained from the original lineup. This is the first Swans release to feature the experimental and noisy playing style that the band's early work would become known for. The album's distinct sound is partly the product of a new lineup featuring two drummers (Roli Mosimann and Kane). It also marks the first appearance of future Swans regular Norman Westberg.

Release history[edit]

The 1990 CD and audio tape releases featured the four tracks from Swans' first EP as bonus tracks. The 1990 vinyl re-release preserved the original nine-song track listing.

The double CD re-release in 2000 on Gira's label Young God Records (paired with Body to Body, Job to Job) included a 1982/1983 live set from The Kitchen in New York City. This 24:18 long extra track consisted of the songs "Strip/Burn", "Heatsheet", "Blackout", "Clay Man", "Stay Here" and "Weakling". The tracks from the first EP were not included.

As of 2012, a bootleg/unofficial repress of Filth was released by Neutral. It's inauthenticity has been confirmed by Gira[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau B+[1]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau found the album "fun" and described its music as "no wave with five years of practice, too messy for mysticism and too funny for suicide."[1] In their retrospective review, AllMusic's Ned Raggett wrote, "early Swans really is like little else on the planet before or since."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Michael Gira, all music composed by Swans (Gira, Jonathan Kane, Roli Mosimann, Norman Westberg, Harry Crosby).

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Stay Here"   5:44
2. "Big Strong Boss"   3:07
3. "Blackout"   3:49
4. "Power for Power"   6:03
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Freak"   1:15
2. "Right Wrong"   4:48
3. "Thank You"   3:56
4. "Weakling"   5:30
5. "Gang"   3:20



Additional personnel[edit]

  • Sonda Andersson – "mechanicals"
  • Mike Berry – engineering


  1. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (March 24, 1984). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 25, 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Ned Raggett. "Filth". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 February 2012. 

External links[edit]