They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons

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They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons
Swirlies Salons Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 1996
RecordedAugust 1994 – August 1995
  • Big House Studios
  • Unique Studios
  • Water Music
  • Q Division Studios
  • Looking Glass Studios
  • Studio 45
  • Sound Techniques
  • at home
ProducerRich Costey
Swirlies chronology
Blonder Tongue Audio Baton
They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons
Strictly East Coast Sneaky Flute Music
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3.5/5 stars[1]

They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons is the second full-length album by Boston indie rock band Swirlies.[1] Released in April 1996, three years after their previous LP, this was the group's first major recording effort after a change in half of Swirlies' lineup.[2] Working again with producer Rich Costey, the album's sound demonstrates a wider scope than the shoegaze and lo-fi pop that the band had presented on earlier releases, as Salons makes heavier use of synthesizers, dance beats, and other electronic sounds, drawing comparisons to groups like Stereolab and their Krautrock forebears.[3] In 2014 music writer Andrew Earles placed the record on his list of 500 essential American underground rock albums.[4]


After signing to Taang! Records and touring to support their initial releases, Swirlies underwent several line up changes, resulting in the departure of original guitarist/vocalist Seana Carmody and drummer Ben Drucker, who were replaced by Christina Files and Anthony De Luca respectively.[5] The band spent two years conceiving and writing new material for a second LP. They recorded songs gradually as they came, booking time at various studios with sound engineer Rich Costey who had recently moved from Boston to New York to head the studio run by Philip Glass.[6] The resultant album and songs were much more reliant on instrument-swapping, as Files traded duties with bass player Andy Bermick and all but drummer Da Luca attended keyboards, samplers, vocoders, drum machines, and other electronic equipment.[7]

In December 1995 with the album's songs recorded but not yet fully mixed or sequenced, Swirlies released versions of the songs "San Cristobal de las Casas" and "You Can't Be Told It, You Must Behold it" on the EP Sneaky Flutes and Sneaky Flute Music amidst a cluster of lo-fi tracks and soundbites. The full album came out in April 1996 on CD only. The band had spent considerably more time in the studio sequencing Salons than they had their previous records, resulting in seamless transitions between varied styles of music, giving it the feel of a well-crafted mixtape.[8] Bandleader Damon Tutunjian later called the record the band's "longest labor of love."[9]


Nine of the album's 14 tracks have sung lyrics, while a few others offer instrumental peeks at the band jamming along to drum machine beats or organ drones. "San Cristobal de las Casas", named after the town of the same name in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, is Tutunjian's reflection on the then-recent Zapatista uprising and subsequent government and paramilitary backlash. On "Two Girls Kissing", Files presents a danceable anecdote of Cantabrigian sexuality. The album's lead track, "In Harmony New Found Freedom" completes Swirles' "Freedom Trilogy", being the band's third song title to end with the word after 1992's "Her Life of Artistic Freedom" and 1993's "His Life of Academic Freedom".[9]

As on previous releases, Swirlies employed bits of field recording and found tape to thread their songs together. The album fanfares 18 seconds of "French Radio" captured over the airwaves while the band was in England recording a session for The John Peel Show.[10] "Do Any of You Know Anything About Love?" is a snippet of relationship advice taken from a CB radio conversation between an anonymous trucker and a recurring voice that appears on many Swirlies records. The album's final track samples a monologue from an English-speaking francophone cat owner and the sounds made by said cat.[11]


They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons was released on CD as Taang! #101/Swirlies #10. Due to the album's extended production time, Taang! issued it a lower catalog number than the previously released CD EP, Sneaky Flutes and Sneaky Flute Music (Taang! #111/Swirlies #9), indicating the initial delay in its release.[9]

In 1998 Taang! re-packaged Salons with the band's next album, Strictly East Coast Sneaky Flute Music (Taang! #132/Swirlies #15) as a gatefold double LP.[9]


The album's 13-word (73-character) title prefigured even longer album titles connected to people associated with Swirlies. One of producer Rich Costey's next major production credits would be Fiona Apple's 1999 album When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might so When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right, at 90 words (444 characters).[12][13] Both Costey and Tutunjian were also involved in the production of No More Stories Are Told Today, I'm Sorry They Washed Away // No More Stories, The World Is Grey, I'm Tired, Let's Wash Away, the 2009 album by Danish pop band Mew.[12][14]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "French Radio" – 0:18
  2. "In Harmony New Found Freedom" – 5:47
  3. "No Identifier" – 1:44
  4. "Sounds Of Sebring" – 4:21
  5. "San Cristobal De Las Casas" – 4:22
  6. "You Can't Be Told It, You Must Behold It" – 2:22
  7. "Pony" – 3:15
  8. "Do Any Of You Know Anything About Love?" – 0:34
  9. "Two Girls Kissing" – 6:03
  10. "Sterling Moss" – 3:44
  11. "Boys, Protect Yourselves From Aliens" – 0:57
  12. "Sunn" – 5:39
  13. "The Vehicle Is Invisible" – 5:12
  14. "French Outro" – 2:41

For the 1998 vinyl release, tracks 1–8 of Salons comprised side C and the rest side D of the double LP with the subsequent Stictly East Cosst Sneaky Flute Music album on sides A and B.

Sneaky Flutes and Sneaky Flute Music EP[edit]

  1. "Intro" – 0:13
  2. "San Cristobal de las Casas" – 4:06
  3. "San Cristobal Outro" – 0:24
  4. "Disobedience (James Morrison)" – 1:58
  5. "You Can't Be Told It, You Must Behold It" – 2:31
  6. "Wet Naps" – 2:31
  7. "Tapes for the Blind (for Morgan)" – 0:48


  • Damon Tutunjian – guitar, vocals, e-bow guitar, vocoder, keyboars, drum machine, samples
  • Andy Bernick – bass, e-bow guitar, keyboards, claptrap
  • Anthony De Luca – drums
  • Christina Files – guitar, vocals, bass, keyboards, samples, artwork
  • Ron Regé, Jr. – artwork
  • Rich Costey – production
  • Swirlies – production


  1. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons – The Swirlies | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Swirlies at Johnny Brenda's – Philadelphia, PA". R5 Productions. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  3. ^ Jarman, David (Aug 1996). "Swirlies: They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days in the Glittering World of the Salons". College Music Journal. CMJ.
  4. ^ Earles, Andrew (2014). Gimme Indie Rock: 500 essential American underground rock albums 1981–1996. Voyageur Press. p. 322. ISBN 9780760346488.
  5. ^ Wolk, Douglas. "Swirlies". Trouser Press. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Biography". Richmond County Archives. Swirlies. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  7. ^ Swirlies (1996). They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days In The Glittering World of the Salons (Compact Disc)|format= requires |url= (help). Boston: Taang!.
  8. ^ Carpenter, Susan (1996). "Option" (72). Sonic Options Network. p. 58.
  9. ^ a b c d Tutunjian, Damon. "This is Swirlies Number...An exhaustive list of Swirlies recordings". Richmond County Archives. Swirlies. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  10. ^ Peel, John (23 January 1994). "Swirlies Peel Session". The John Peel Show (Radio broadcast)|format= requires |url= (help). BBC.
  11. ^ Goddard, edited by Michael; Halligan, Benjamin; Spelman, Nicola (2013). Resonances Noise and Contemporary Music. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 9781441118370.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  12. ^ a b "Rich Costey Credits". Artist Direct. p. 3. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  13. ^ Barlass, Tyler (23 August 2009). "No More Stories..." JustPressPlay. Retrieved 9 September 2009.
  14. ^ Marcopoulos, An (6 August 2009). "Interview: Jonas Bjerre of Mew". Verbicide. Retrieved 19 February 2017.

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