Swans Are Dead

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Swans Are Dead
Swans are dead cover art.jpg
Live album (double album) by Swans
Released January 20, 1998
Recorded 1995 and 1997
Genre Experimental rock, post-rock, post-punk, art rock
Length 142:53
Language English
Label Young God
Swans chronology
Soundtracks for the Blind
(1996)Soundtracks for the Blind1996
Swans Are Dead
Various Failures
(1999)Various Failures1999

Swans Are Dead is a double live album by American experimental rock band Swans. It was released in 1998 and was recorded in 1995 and 1997 on the band's final tours, before reuniting in 2010.

The setlists of this era in the Swans live show were probably the most varied in terms of chronology. Although many of the songs performed were culled from Soundtracks for the Blind, the band also resurrected songs from much earlier albums, including a reworking of "I Crawled" from Young God.


Disc one (Black) was recorded in Amsterdam, New York City, Trondheim, Prague, Brussels and Atlanta on the band's final tour in 1997. Two other songs were performed on this tour, "The Man With the Silver Tongue", which appeared in a revised form on Angels of Light's 1999 debut LP New Mother; and "My Birth", which remained unreleased until it appeared on Swans's 2010 album My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky. However, neither tracks were included on the album. Other songs were also sporadically performed, such as "The Sound" (at least twice on the American leg of the tour).

The liner notes state that disc two (white) was recorded in Norway on the band's 1995 tour. The songs "In", "Alcohol the Seed", and "Animus", that had been played during the tour and also for the Amsterdam concert, did not appear on Swans Are Dead (the concert has been recorded by the radio station VPRO, Animus is also cut on that recording).

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media 7.7/10[2]

The Rough Guide to Rock described the album as "a head-churning final statement".[3]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Michael Gira, except "Yum Yab" and "Lavender", written by Jarboe, and "I Crawled", written by Gira/Crosby/Mossimann/Westberg. "Lavender" would be released as "Lavender Girl" on Jarboe's 1995 album Sacrificial Cake.

Disc one (Black, final tour 1997)
No. Title Also on Length
1. "Feel Happiness" None 16:57
2. "Low Life Form" Drainland 4:54
3. "Not Alone" New Mother 13:12
4. "Blood On Yr Hands" Blood, Women, Roses 2:59
5. "Hypogirl" Soundtracks for the Blind 3:22
6. "I Crawled" Young God (EP) 10:05
7. "I Am The Sun" The Great Annihilator 5:27
8. "Blood Promise" The Great Annihilator 15:23
Disc two (White, 1995 tour)
No. Title Also on Length
1. "Final Sac" Soundtracks for the Blind (as "The Final Sacrifice") 8:44
2. "The Sound" Soundtracks for the Blind 12:52
3. "I See Them All Lined Up" Drainland and Soundtracks for the Blind (as "All Lined Up") 6:27
4. "Lavender" Sacrificial Cake (as "Lavender Girl") 8:03
5. "YR PRP" Soundtracks for the Blind (as "YRP") 8:51
6. "Yum Yab" Soundtracks for the Blind (as "Yum-Yab Killers") 4:36
7. "Helpless Child" Soundtracks for the Blind 17:44
8. "M/F" The Great Annihilator (as "Mother/Father") 3:25


Credits for Swans Are Dead adapted from liner notes.[4]

Disc one (Black)
  • Michael Gira - vocals, guitar, compiling, mastering, producer, lyrics, music
  • Jarboe - vocals, keyboards
  • Bill Bronson - bass guitar
  • Clinton Steele - guitar
  • Phil Puleo - percussion, dulcimer (hammer)
  • Dave Ouimet - performer
  • Kris Force - performer
  • Berry Kamer - recording
  • Josh Wertheimer - live engineer, recording
  • Chris Griffin - engineer
Disc two (White)
  • Michael Gira - vocals, guitar, compiling, mastering, producer, lyrics, music
  • Jarboe - vocals, keyboards
  • Joe Goldring - bass guitar, guitar
  • Vudi - guitar, keyboards
  • Larry Mullins - percussion, vibraphone
  • Andy Ray - live engineer
  • Chris Griffin - engineer


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Swans Are Dead (Live '95-'97)". Allmusic. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ Mirov, Nick. "Swans: Swans Are Dead". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on November 26, 2001. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ Buckley, Peter, ed. (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 1042. ISBN 1858284570. 
  4. ^ Track listing and credits as per liner notes for Swans Are Dead album