Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Post Rock/Math rock

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Swans Public Castration is a Good Idea album cover
4.02 | 28 ratings | 1 reviews | 48% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy SWANS Music
from partners
Live, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Money Is Flesh (12:06)
2. Fool (8:08)
3. A Screw (7:27)
4. Anything for You (9:09)
5. Coward (8:33)
6. A Hanging (12:32)
7. Stupid Child (5:41)
8. Another You (10:16)

Line-up / Musicians

- Michael Gira / vocals, samples, tape operation, piano, bass guitar, production, album cover design
- Jarboe / backing vocals
- Norman Westberg / guitar
- Harry Crosby / bass guitar
- Ronaldo Gonzalez / drums
- Ted Parsons / drums
- Ivan Nahem / drums

Releases information

Burn One Records
Thirsty Ear Recordings

Thanks to The Truth for the addition
Edit this entry

Buy SWANS Public Castration is a Good Idea Music

SWANS Public Castration is a Good Idea ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(48%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(30%)
Good, but non-essential (4%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

SWANS Public Castration is a Good Idea reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars n SWANS' busiest year ever, the band released two studio albums ("Greed," "Holy Money"), one non-album single that some call an EP ("Time Is Money (Bastard) / Sealed in Skin") which featured the debut appearance of Jarbie, one bonafide EP in the form of "A Screw" and its first live album with the catchy and non-cuddly title PUBLIC CASTRATION IS A GOOD IDEA. The year 1986 was one of reinvention of SWANS from a caustic industrial no wave band to an extraordinarily creative visionary act that somehow merged the worlds of gothic rock, post-punk, industrial, noise, neofolk and post-rock into one single artistic statement all without losing that thread of no wave detachment. This live album featured tracks from the "Greed" and "Holy Money" tour and showcases the band's evolution during this transitional period.

PUBLIC CASTRATION IS A GOOD IDEA was recorded on the "Greed" and "Holy Money" tour from performances in London and Nottingham, England. While originally released as an indie bootleg, the recordings were approved by SWANS and thus officially became its first live album and self-released however it wouldn't be until 1999 that the Thirsty Ear label would finally release the album on CD form. This one is a lengthy beast that despite featuring only eight tracks takes up 74 minutes of playing time. Like the albums, SWANS toured with a guitarist, bassist and THREE drummers! The percussive bombast at this stage in the SWANS sound was integral in crafting that bombastic dirge-like military march procession tension that allowed all the atonalities and dissonance to wreak its sonic havoc.

Michael Gira, the mastermind of SWANS also played occasional bass guitar as well as offered his bedeviled moaning techniques for delivering his bleak and gloomy lyrics but in the live setting he also implemented many of the samples and sound effects although for the most part PUBLIC CASTRATION IS A GOOD IDEA has a much more stripped down approach than the studio albums. While many bands just play their music much as it sounds on the albums, the music on this live album that features tracks from only the "Greed" and Holy Money" albums do exhibit enough differences to warrant making this excellent live recording an essential part of your SWANS canon. Although not substantially different than the studio recordings, enough variations make it an interesting listen however PUBLIC CASTRATION does feel more jarring through its atonalities and minimalism than the spruced up studio recordings.

These live versions are real sprawlers. For example the opening "Money Is Flesh" from the "Greed" album is only over 6 minutes on the studio album and on PUBLIC CASTRATION is doubled to over 12. Likewise "Fool" originally at 5 1/2 has been extended to over 8. The lengthy repetitive sequences give these live renditions and even gloomier and more depressive veneer than the studio tracks. Another main difference is that in the moments of silence between drums and quite time there's also a use of the echo effect from the venues acoustical layout. Overall this live album will be of little interest to non-SWANS fans trying to acquire a taste for the band's avant-garde extremism as this period and the earlier recordings crafted some of the most inaccessible and cacophonous din of the band's career but served as a gateway to the more experiment arty albums that followed. While i'm not the hugest fan of live albums i really love some of the sounds they get from the echoey drumming and the overall torturous bleakness of it all. SWANS proves it was not limited to the studio on this release and made an excellent live act.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of SWANS "Public Castration is a Good Idea"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.