Saturday, March 26, 2011


Mazzy Star- Among My Swan (1996) MP3 & FLAC


"Take away everything that feels fine. Catch a shape in the circles of my mind."

Mazzy Star's final (?) album, Among My Swan, has long been saddled with the reputation of being inferior to the band's two earlier LPs, She Hangs Brightly  and So Tonight That I Might See. The arguments for this have ranged from "sounds too similar to the previous stuff" to "sounds too dirge-like to retain listener interest." This negative critical response was partly due to the fact that three years had passed since the release of Mazzy Star's breakthrough second album, and the hushed confidence of Among My Swan, despite evidencing a number of subtle changes to the band's sound, was deemed an unworthy product for such a long hiatus. It is true that on Among My Swan, David Roback has turned the reverb (and thus the pysch-haze) dial down a notch or two, but in its place are many new textural nuances, such as glockenspiel and harmonica, that allow the songs to tread in a slightly less claustrophobic country-folk direction. The first single, "Flowers in December," is a perfect example of this. Here, Hope Sandoval's harmonica takes the melodic lead that would have been handled by Roback's guitar on one of the previous albums. This gives the song a distinctly desolate feel, and opens things up for one of Sandoval's best vocal turns. Conversely, on "Roseblood," the psych-rock gloom returns with Sandoval's vocal at its sleepy-sultry best, but what really pulls the song together is the backwards guitar effects that handle the main instrumental breaks. A masterstroke Mr. Roback. Rather than their "weakest" album, Among My Swan is their most "underrated" album, a distinction that, while wholeheartedly undeserved, makes this album ripe for rediscovery.

Among My Swan
 1. Disappear  (4:05)
 2. Flowers in December  (4:58)
 3. Rhymes of an Hour  (4:13)
 4. Cry, Cry  (3:58)
 5. Take Everything  (4:54)
 6. Still Cold  (4:48)
 7. All Your Sisters  (5:17)
 8. I've Been Let Down  (3:18)
 9. Roseblood  (4:51)
10. Happy  (3:59)
11. Umbilical  (4:59)
12. Look on Down from the Bridge  (4:47)



14 comments:

  1. will definitely be returning to this...
    thanks mr. luna!

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  2. Sometimes the critics have it all wrong. Maybe turning down the reverb is not a bad thing. Maybe, as an artist, trying a new approach is from sheer boredom. Who knows? I mean even KISS took their makeup off. Who would have ever seen THAT coming? ;)

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  3. scurfie, this album isn't radically different from the previous two and the songs are great. Never understood why it got the cold shoulder from the critics and the public

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  4. Mark Kozelek eventually turned off the reverb, once he felt a little more comfortable with his vocals. I don't know how this is relevant to the discussion. I just like to hear myself talk I think.

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  5. Jeff, well, it makes me realize that Luna needs some Red House Painters

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  6. Ah, good point. Everybody needs a little RHP every once in a while, or maybe some Sun Kil Moon.

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  7. Jeff, yes, I'm a huge fan and somehow they haven't made an appearance yet. I'm think "Blue Guitar" might be a good start....come to think of it, a Kozelek series would be cool. Too many series, too little time!!!

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  8. Blue Guitar would be a wonderful start.

    I've put together some Kozelek comps for people in the past and the material is all so good it is really hard to pare it down; there are virtually no bad songs to cull. I have even pulled some material from His Name Is Alive - Stars On ESP, though his involvement on the album is limited, he has a way of making it feel like so much more. All he has to do is play a solitary note on his guitar and it changes the entire timbre of a song. He really owns the HNIA songs when he gets going. I wish he would collaborate more.

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  9. Ohh, I buyed this record when comes out, then somebody stole it.
    ultra.under.rated

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