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Michael Gira at Tractor Tavern, Seattle

March 4, 2009

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Michael Gira is playing at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard tonight. While Gira’s bands, Angels of Light and the Swans (who I usually describe as ‘the band that makes Sonic Youth look like commercial sellouts’), are pretty well-known in their own right, he may be best known for bringing Devendra Banhart and Akron/Family to the masses, via his label, Young God Records.

I saw Gira play a few years ago (with Banhart and the Dresden Dolls), and I asked him about the story behind my favourite Swans song, “God Damn the Sun.” It’s a narrative about being left by his lover and learning that his best friend was found “face down in the street, with a bottle in your hand, and a wide smile on your face, and a knife in your back.” It turns out that he did write it about a particular friend who, however, was still alive and well (and none too pleased about his fictional demise).

If you are at all prone to depression or self-pity, you may not want to listen to this song; I’d prefer not to be responsible for a rash of z=z-related suicides. Cheerfully optimistic people only, please.

MP3: Swans – God Damn the Sun [buy]

[photo credit: Anne Helmond]

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