August 26 — “Diary Land” by Silver Swans

Silver Swans

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Diary Land” by Silver Swans (2012, from the album Forever).

For the last week or so, and for the next 10 days, we’re adding a bit of flavor to our “song du jour” theme. We’re turning our focus on the bands who will be playing during the 2012 Hopscotch Music Festival, which will be held September 6-8 in Raleigh. This is the third year of the festival, and it’s the biggest yet. This year’s roster lists more than 175 bands. It’ll be my first year attending the entire festival, and it’s going to be all about discovery. I’ve already made a bunch of excellent discoveries, and I’m sure that there are still more to come.

Silver Swans is one of those “new to me” bands. They’re an electro-indie dream-pop duo from San Francisco. Singer and principal songwriter Ann Yu is also in the San Francisco indie-rock band LoveLikeFire. She’s a native of Los Vegas. Apparently, people live there. Jon Waters is a producer/DJ who came from Birmingham, England. I think he built a drum machine that they use. He cites Cocteau Twins and The Cure among his favorite bands. She cites Magnetic Fields and Beach House among hers. Collectively, almost everybody compares them to the Swedish electro-pop band The Knife. Unfortunately, some compare them to Asobi Seksu. That’s a horrible comparison which seems like it’s based on not listening to music. Quite frankly, it’s a bit racist to boot.

Anyway, Silver Swans released a “digital only” album called Realize The Ghost in 2010, and released Forever this year. They’ve also released a boatload of singles and a bunch of “digital only” cover songs. One of which will be offered as an extra credit assignment at the end of this post

In today’s song, the bundle of synths, drums, and keys wraps around Yu’s honey-drenched voice like a cheese cloth around lemon cookies. The whole thing is so light and delicate. And I absolutely love it. The more I listen to this song, the more I want to keep listening.

This is that song
“Diary Land” by Silver Swans

I absolutely love the fact that it starts off with that iconic drum beat from “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes. That’s arguably the most recognizable and the most “borrowed” drum beat hook. After a few bars of that, there’s a sudden shift to a thicker, busier drum beat at 0:49. Then everything gets ridiculously dreamy.

The song sort of breaks down at 3:21 and there’s some almost spoken lyrics with little accompaniment apart from a bit of piano:

And maybe one day we can be friends again
And sometimes I pretend that we are speaking still
And sometimes I look at your name for no reason
And only good things I think of
And only good things I hope for you

That “thicker, busier” drum beat crashes in at 4:10, but heavier this time. The final minute or so of the song is a reprise of that “ridiculously dreamy” bit.

For extra credit, I’ll also highly recommend Silver Swans’ eerie cover of The National’s “Anyone’s Ghost”

You should buy the digital copy of Forever using the Silver Swans bandcamp page here.

Silver Swans will be playing on Saturday night of Hopscotch. They’ve got the 11pm to midnight slot at The Hive. I’ll be there.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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