Beatroute: Astral Swans - Dark complexities, beauty in sight

Friday 11th, May 2018 - In the three years since releasing his debut as Astral Swans, Calgary’s Matthew Swann has been busy. Touring Canada twice following the release of 2015’s All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson, once in support of Dan Mangan, and a second time playing a series of more intimate shows in alternative venues, from art galleries to microbreweries. 

He has since settled into completing a follow-up recording, Strange Prison, with co-production by Paul Chirka a recording engineer who’s worked with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Juno-winning Dan Mangan and Scott Munro of Preoccupations. 


March 13, 2018 - No one does self-deconstruction quite like Matthew Swann. ... “What Are You Gonna Do With Yourself” finds Swann continuing to craft finely drawn character studies for his next album, Strange Prison, due out later this year. “At one point, I wanted to call this album Fear Myself,” he shared with me via email last week, “I used to have a Daniel Johnston t-shirt that said ‘fear yourself/love your enemy’, which was from the record Fear Thyself that he did with Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse). I always thought that was solid advice.”


THEYYSCENE: Hear the first single from Calgary artist Astral Swans’ forthcoming album

March 12, 2018 - You need a Monday pick-me-up?

Of course you do.

Ice cream? Beer?

All good.

But along with that, how ’bout some new music via local genius Matthew Swann (a.k.a. Astral Swans)?

The bedsit psych folkster is getting set to release his sophomore album Strange Prison on May 18th via hometown label Saved By Radio, which is run by the ridiculously wonderful local scene booster Dawn Loucks. It will also see the light of day in Tokyo thanks to Moorworks and in the Netherlands at the hands of Tiny Room Records.


Calgary Herald: Inside Out - Calgary's Astral Swans expands on intimate sound with sophomore release

May 12, 2018 - Matthew Swann wastes no time setting a mood on Strange Prison, the sophomore record released under his Astral Swans moniker.

A troubled mindset is succinctly established in the opening line on the album’s opening track, Blow Up. Against glacier-paced organ and acoustic guitar, Swann softly and slowly sings: “I had a dream in which I killed all of my friends.”

“It definitely hits you from the start,” says the Calgary singer-songwriter with a laugh.

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PASTE, Daily Dose: Astral Swans, "What Are You Gonna Do With Yourself"

March 12, 2018 - From the forthcoming Strange Prison LP, produced by Scott Munro of Preoccupations. 

Calgary songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Swann, aka Astral Swans, will release his sophomore album, Strange Prison, on May 18. “Despite these songs dealing with hard themes of pain, alienation, and our limitations, the end objective is finding beauty to transcend the shittiness of the world,” Swann says.

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March 13, 2018 - ... Lyrically, ‘Strange Prison’ recalls ’90s lo-fi indie-rockers Bill Callahan and Cat Power, the fragile intimacy of ’60s folk singers Sibylle Baier and Nick Drake, and the inner world-building of Syd Barrett and Daniel Johnston. Swann credits the album’s expressionistic sound painting with an unexpected inspiration from Sly Stone’s early ’70s drug-fueled recordings (There’s a Riot Going On, Fresh, etc.), which he calls “masterpieces of weird production where nothing is used properly.”


TheYYSCENE: Astral Swans finds light in dark places for his brilliant sophomore album Strange Prison

May 17, 2018 - Dark places.

Matthew Swann knows about them.

And he’s not afraid to show you them, take you to them.

It’s very much a part of his musical project Astral Swans and the psych-folk songs he writes: those that haunted his phenomenal 2015 lo-fi debut All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson; and the ones that swallow you whole on his astounding new hi-fi — or, more appropriately, high-fi — followup, Strange Prison.

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exclaim!: Astral Swans Returns with 'Strange Prison'

March 12, 2018 - After delivering All My Favourite Singers Are Willie Nelson back in 2015, Calgary songwriter Matthew Swann has lifted the curtain on his sophomore follow-up as Astral Swans.

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February 25, 2015 - There’s nothing like being the first.

Good or bad, you’re given the opportunity to set the tone for what’s to come, what can be expected and all that will follow.

Which makes Calgary artist Matthew Swann’s new album recorded under his Astral Swans moniker all the more notable and exciting.

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Tiny Mix Tapes: Astral Swans - “Controls”

April 17, 2018 - The moment you’re pleasantly settled into the smoke-curling groove of Astral Swans “Controls” - then realize the song is about a plane crash. Faultless rock & roll haunted by an aviation disaster context is cause to rate “Controls” high on the Buddy Holly Scale. But we’re ok, it’s a crash-as-metaphor.


ION: Astral Swans Release New Video

March 13, 2018 - The Internet is practically synonymous with cats at this point. Countless memes, Instagram accounts and Facebook posts are devoted to those lovable little buddies. Yesterday, Calgary based artist Astral Swans announced the release of his new album Strange Prison with a delightful little video starring one of the cutest little kittens you ever saw. 


February 23, 2015 - Matthew Swann talks about the troubling charm of Willie Nelson on the new album 'All My Favourite Singers Are Willie Nelson'.


March 19th, 2014 - Matthew Swann lives in Calgary, but when the debut LP by his latest project, Astral Swans, comes out in the fall, it’s bound to get a lot of attention on the West Coast. That’s because it will be the first full-length release from Madic Records, the new label run by local hero Dan Mangan (with a little help from his friends at Arts & Crafts).