Noise rock band Swans have announced that they’ll be releasing a new “handmade CD” called What Is This?. According to the Young God Records website, orders of the previously-unannounced release will ship today, March 18, 2019. The album appears to have been quietly announced by Swans on February 27.
1. Leaving Meaning
2. Hanging Man
4. The Nub
5. Cathedrals of Heaven
7. What is This?
8. My Phantom Limb
10. It’s Coming and It’s Real
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat
The product description says this CD is made up of 10 acoustic songs by Michael Gira, which are intended to be used on the band’s new album with a new lineup. Gira, who is the lone founding member still in Swans, has routinely changed up the band’s lineup over the band’s decades-long existence. The previous iteration played their last shows in 2017.
The CD comes in a handmade package with woodblock print, which was designed by Gira and hand-printed by Nicole Boitos. The CD is available in a variety of packages. The most basic costs $40 and comes with an extensive lyric sheet, which will come in handy if Gira delivers on his earlier promise that the upcoming album’s songs are “lyrically driven.” The CD is signed, numbered and “doodled upon.”
More expensive packages include option 2, which costs $55 also includes a CD copy of the upcoming Swans album when it’s completed. Ten more dollars will get you the What Is This? CD as well as a vinyl copy of the upcoming Swans record.
The final available option is $100 and includes the What Is This? CD package, your choice of the upcoming Swans record on vinyl or CD and an “Executive Producer” credit on that album. All other options are sold out – option 5 included an exclusive What Is This? t-shirt, option 6 included all of option 5 plus a fine art screen print poster by Gira. There were only 200 copies of the poster available.
Option 7 included all of option 6 as well as two guest list passes for a show on the upcoming Swans tour (no dates on that yet). Finally, option 8 is a massive box set, of which only 40 were made. It includes everything in option 7, plus a unique art object called “Gravity Machine” which is hand-numbered and comes in a black velvet pouch. It also includes a polaroid portrait by Gira, a “Thought Knot,” a postcard with the poster image that features a personalized note from Gira. This all comes in a professionally-crafted oak wood box made by The Brothers Dressler. The funds from the release will go towards the creation of the upcoming album.