Bird Songs

by Astral Swans

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about

The music of Astral Swans is a spellbinding portal into the psyche of acclaimed Canadian songwriter Matthew Swann. Following the release of his acclaimed 2018 album, Strange Prison, the Calgary-based musician returns with “Bird Songs.”

Expanding on the intimate sound of Astral Swans’ previous recordings, this single’s subtle psychedelic flourishes (courtesy of recording engineer Paul Chirka from the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra) reveal the melancholy musings at its core, as Swann meditates on the difficult truths of his actions causing a relationship to fall apart.

“This is a breakup song about self-sabotage,” Swann explains. “Out of fear, self-protection, and mental illness I kept someone really wonderful at arms’ length and pushed them away. I self-isolated and was unavailable. When the person (quite reasonably) terminated the relationship, I was devastated. I had actually met someone that I liked, and I brutally fucked it up, slowly and almost methodically, operating on some terrible instinct of warped, misguided self-protection.”

Still stewing on his actions several months later, Astral Swans embarked on a tour of the Netherlands. With the support of Tiny Room Records, he has joined a group of beloved North American artists on their roster including Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Karl Blau, and Guided By Voices’ Todd Tobias. While visiting a friend in Amsterdam at the tail end of 2019, Swann experienced a hallucinatory trip with bird songs echoing his dark thoughts.

“The song is about walking through Amsterdam’s Vondelpark right before Christmas,” he details. “I was alone, underdressed, and completely submerged in the loss of this relationship, and all the shitty ways I’d repeatedly behaved as a human. The lyrics are the paranoid heckling of the animals within the park (of my mind). They mock me and the reality I have brought upon myself, over a lysergic 1960s TV commercial melody in a drop C John Fahey tuning.”

lyrics

Lyrics:

ALL THE SWANS IN
VONDEL PARK SAY
I DIDN'T DESERVE YOU ANYWAY

IM FREE I DON'T KNOW IF I'M HAPPY
I'M FREE I DON'T KNOW IF I'M HAPPY

BECAUSE COMBINATIONS
OF HUMAN PERSONS
MIGHT BE THE ONLY MEANING

I'M FREE I DON'T KNOW IF I'M HAPPY
I'M FREE I DON'T KNOW IF I'M HAPPY

THE WORLD SPEAKS VOLUMES
OF THESE SAD TRUTHS

ALL THE DOGS IN
TINY CLOTHES SAY
YOU'RE BETTER WITHOUT ME ANYWAY

I'M FREE I DON'T KNOW IF I'M HAPPY
I'M FREE I DON'T KNOW IF I'M HAPPY

credits

released July 10, 2020
Matthew Swann - vocals, guitar, bass
Brock Geiger - drums, guitar
Paul Chirka - keys
Jim Bryson - guitar, background vocals
Laura Hickli - background vocals
Lyrics and music by Matthew Swann.
Recorded and mixed by Paul Chirka at the department of creativity and mischief.
Artwork by Stefan Breuer
All Bandcamp sales will be donated to the Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society

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about

Astral Swans Calgary, Alberta

Astral Swans is the main project of acclaimed Canadian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Swann. After forming in 2012, Astral Swans was previously signed to Madic Records for the 2015 debut release 'All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson'. Swann is now signed with Saved by Vinyl (Calgary), Moorworks (Japan), and Tiny Room Records (Netherlands). ... more

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