Recently, Astral Swans‘ (Matthew Swann) released the new self-titled LP and a live video performance of the album track “Blackhole Town”, a love song “about a desperate person living in a small redneck town,” says Swann.
Now, he has shared a new official video for the track from animator Jordan Minkoff.
“I appreciate the notion that an individual within a black hole perceives time differently than an observer viewing the individual from outside the black hole’s gravitational field,” Swann tells RANGE Magazine about “Blackhole Town” for today’s video premiere. “Similarly, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking that your hometown is the only reality.”
The new self-titled album is their most upbeat, catchy, and immediate Astral Swans album to date. Each song operates as an absurdist short story filled with Swann’s wry observations of the sad beauty of mundane moments. Swann almost exclusively composed the songs internally on solo walks throughout various cities around the world (pre-covid), and the same city over and over again (during covid). As Swann describes it, “the melodies were written in my head, on long walks alone, like spontaneous flowers sprouted from the id; ecstatic downloads from the cosmos. Sometimes the lyrics appeared with the melodies, other times they were refined more consciously, after the fact.”
Astral Swans is Matthew Swann – a human song-maker specializing in abstract narratives of lonerism, frailty, absurdity, and whimsy, all told with darkly comedic empathy, and helpless concern.
The songs on Astral Swans range from affirmations of joy amidst dread, composed in the streets of Shimokitazawa Tokyo (“Wind In A Mindless Universe”), to ballads of disoriented uncertainty set against the backdrop of early quarantine (“Spiral”). Songs about birds heckling the anxious and heartbroken in Vondel Park Amsterdam (“Bird Songs”), to a cover of the Cat Power classic, “Cross Bones Style” sung as a duet with Julie Doiron (Eric’s Trip, Mt. Eerie). The album closer “Awake For A While”, is an interrogation of somebody who is trying to piece together the events that transpired over many days of, well…being awake.
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.