Red Swan
Gig Seeker Pro

Red Swan


Band Rock Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Review: Cold Winters Dawn"

Cold has it all: banjo, fuzz bass, surfy leads, big walls of sound and a voice that’s a combo of Mike Ness, D. Boon and Gordon Lightfoot. Think Sonic Youth, the Minutemen, Led Zep blues and bluegrass all squeezed together on a couch, talking to Jawbox on the phone. - BK - Real Detroit

"Review: Cold Winters Dawn"

A bit of a last-minute entry, as Red Swan celebrated the release of this album only two weeks ago, “Cold Winter’s Dawn� caught this listener by surprise. A Lansing band with a tendency to fly under the local radar, Red Swan favored a noisy, warts-and-all approach with last year’s “After the Barn Goes.� Expecting a similar, good-but-not great offering from the 2005 follow-up, I was pleasantly surprised by an album where not only have the bars been raised on each member’s individual performance, but the song-writing actually stumbles upon some musical beauty. It’s one of the richest and fullest recordings from a Lansing act in any genre. Tossing aside some of the dissonance in favor of psychedelia, Red Swan delves into something wholly original that seems to mate the most adventurous rock of the late 60’s with some of the doomiest metal sounds of the 00’s '" while simultaneously inviting over Irish folk rock and banjo virtuosity for the baby shower. Outstanding. - City Pulse

"Oddball rockers have a tale or two to tell"


The members of Lansing’s Red Swan want you to know what really happened out at Rose Lake that night. They want to tell you what really happened at Fenner Arboretum. They want you to know about Andrew Kehoe and why he blew up Bath Conso-lidated schools in 1927.

They also want you to come out to hear the tales on Saturday, June 12, when they perform at Mac’s Bar with local math-rockers Charlevoix and Australian import Valina.

In many ways, Red Swan’s songs are like a venerable old-timer, sitting on an dilapidated porch in a creaky rocking chair. There are a lot of things Red Swan would like to tell you about — if you have a willing ear and time to sit a spell.

“I’ve never felt too comfortable writing love songs, ambivalent songs about how ‘cool’ rock n’ roll is or about politics,” says Red Swan singer/guitarist Tom Muth. “I like story songs, so that’s mostly what I write.”

When trying to relate the appeal of Red Swan’s distinctive sound, one must start by noting the history-buff-next-door appeal of Muth’s lyrics. With his history degree and an apparent fondness for all things rural, Muth comes off like a grizzled-but-well-cultivated recluse. He’s the guy that I am almost sure every small town has: He knows everyone and he knows what they’re up to but no one knows quite what he is all about.

Lyrically speaking, this puts him in a league inhabited by the likes of such storytelling, bucolic-enthusiasts Ted Nugent and Les Claypool (of Primus). The main difference is that he’s shiftier than Nugent and darker than Claypool when it comes to spinning a yarn. Chuck Eddy of New York publication the Village Voice even dropped “the Nuge” for reference in a review for Red Swan’s full-length album, “After the Barn Goes,” calling it “the best ursine rock from Michigan since Ted Nugent’s ‘Fred Bear.’”

When it comes to the music, let’s just say these guys are probably not going to join the Nuge around a campfire with acoustic guitars or runn around an arena offering wailing guitar solos any time soon. “Initially we were trying to go for a swamp rock sound, something not too dissimilar to The Scientists or The U-Men, but as with most things it’s turned out quite different,” Muth says.

The songs still sound a bit swampy, but with homemade amps that seem to be customized to crank up to 11 and a unique instrumentation, the band packs more of a crunch than had initially been planned. The sound is actually more reminiscent of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Touch & Go bands such as Shellac or Killdozer or more recently, U.S. Maple, than “swamp rock.”

Jim Donaldson has a lot to do with the band’s signature sound. He not only plays intricate bass lines on a baritone guitar, he also adds the occasional banjo. Richard Keyes provides drumming that shifts dynamics effortlessly between metal pounding and country shuffle while Andy Lewis adds yet another layer of thick guitar. - The City Pulse

"Smartass Midwesterners take field trip to forest, confront flora"

You could say Red Swan's tales of insane people out in the middle of the Midwestern piney woods are to Warrant's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" as their mid-'80s Wisconsin sludge-blooze method-acting predecessors Killdozer's were to the Charlie Daniels Band's "Legend of Wooley Swamp," but you'd just confuse people so never mind. These Michiganders are the most entertaining new pigfuckers in years anyway, and no wonder the Steve Albini who wrote "Jordan, Minnesota" and "Kerosene" opted to, er, "record" them.
They start with a mysteriously lovely weirdass banjo hoedown, they're fond of Iron John drum circle parts and the rumbling underwater grind that the Butthole Surfers' "Dum Dum" took from Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave," and they've got a real knack for building downturned fuzz riffs into a dragging-corpse-through-dense-forest-wearing-muddy-boots-with-holes-in-soles rhythm that actually moves. Guitar plasma's all over the top, or spoken staccato resembling some Sonic Youth car-crash oldie. Tribute's paid twice to a school board member who set off a bomb in a Michigan grammar school in 1927, killing 45 and injuring 58, to protest his farm being foreclosed to pay education taxes. Plus: Bestiality! Hillbilly baby sacrifice on the peacock range! Christmas tree farms burnt down in revenge for stealing of spouses! Theme song about huntin' snake-eatin' scarlet waterfowl with a frog-catchin' sack! Finale: the best ursine rock from Michigan since Ted Nugent's "Fred Bear." - The Village Voice

"Review: After the Barn Goes"

"Last time I saw him, he was holdin' his bitch in heat"

There is something to be said for a song entitled 'You son of a bitch, you stole my woman, now I'm gunna burn down your Christmas tree farm'. What that something is shall be decided by the listener.

Have you ever - and you have, so the question is pointless - heard a band that reminded you of another band you liked, but failed to put a finger on that relation? Yes - as I said - you have, and Red Swan had me all in a frantic fit , knowing I was particularly fond of their dirty romp. Let's see, lyrics about taxes, murder, revenge.. . wait a goddamn second - Steve Albini had a hand in this. Shellac - that's who Red Swan brings to mind, the "fuck all humans" swank of Shellac, around the late '1000 Hurts' album (think "Prayer to God").
Vocalist / guitarist Tom Muth slings off lyrics like he belongs on Touch & Go, maybe 7 or 8 beers down and an entire set to go. The entire album comes of like it was recorded over a weekend that included several quarts of whiskey - and it all sounds like it was a damn good time. The music is noisy & layered - completely complimenting the words this guy is tossing around. 'What Really Happening at Rose Lake' brings to the front of the mind Primus on a steady diet of Clutch - then the banjo comes lurking on 'The First Ballad of Andy Kehoe', an instrumental (the 'second ballad' has vocals) that still has this "sharks in the ocean, swim careful" vibe. "Creepy" may be a good adjective to place here. Coming off as a band that may just be able to serve a few whippins', be it human or animal ('his feets been bound, he's got a broken neck / he's been like that for fourteen days",) ,hearing them may be the best advice I can give you partner. Also, them woods ain't no place for a stranger after dark - unless you like your asshole tickled. - The SCTAS

"Review: Michigan Blood Games"

Yet another musically diverse band recorded by the great Steve Albini. They obviously take a lot of time recrafting their songs and picking out topics for their lyrics, and it shows. After a casual listen, you might write them off as a Primus-type band (mostly due to the vocal style and crazy bass lines), but they are so much more than that. Take their topics for songs like the 1927 elementary school bombing in and the legend of the "Godbear." Crazy stuff lined up with interesting arrangements that will keep you guessing as to what beats or melodies you will hear next. Using instruments like banjos and baritones (it's a wind instrument for you punk dumbasses [The baritone used on this recording is actually a baritone guitar. -RS]), the band keeps the sound coming at you. They plan to tour, so I would for sure be on the look out for the flight of the Red Swan. - Punk Planet


Michigan Blood Games 7"
Recorded December 2002 at Electrical Audio Studios, Chicago IL. Engineered by Steve Albini.
Mixed January of 2003 at Electrical Audio Studios, Chicago IL. Mixed by Steve Albini and Red Swan.

After the Barn Goes CD
Recorded May 2003 at Key Club Studios, Benton Harbor MI by Bill Skibbe. Mixed September 2003 at Electrical Audio by Red Swan

Cold Winters Dawn CD
Recorded & Mixed 2004-2005 at Key Club Studios, Benton Harbor MI by Bill Skibbe.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Red Swan formed in Lansing Michigan in the Fall of 2002. The initial premise was to emulate swamp rock greats such as The Birthday Party or The U-Men. But as with most things, it became a band unto itself. The music focused itself on rural darkness of the North.
Red Swan's first 7" Michigan Blood Games (recorded by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio Studios) and the followup full length After the Barn Goes (recorded by Bill Skibbe at Key Club Studios) found critical success in publications such as Punk Planet, Detroit's Metro Times, and The Village Voice. From the Village Voice review: "[Red Swan's] ot a real knack for building downturned fuzz riffs into a dragging-corpse-through-dense-forest-wearing-muddy-boots-
with-holes- in-soles rhythm that actually moves. Guitar plasma's all over the top, or spoken staccato resembling some Sonic Youth car-crash oldie." (Chuck Eddie Village Voice March 10-16 2004). After the Barn Goes was also awarded a place in their annual Pazz & Jop best of 2004.
2005 found a lineup change as original guitarist Jon Christensen returned to school for post grad work. Andrew Lucas, a long time friend of the band more than filled the role for Red Swan's second full length, Cold Winter's Dawn. Cold Winter introduced a darker, denser sound. Cale Sauter of The Lansing City Pulse wrote of it, "the song-writing actually stumbles upon some musical beauty. It's one of the richest and fullest recordings from a Lansing act in any genre. Tossing aside some of the dissonance in favor of psychedelia, Red Swan delves into something wholly original that seems to mate the most adventurous rock of the late 60's with some of the doomiest metal sounds of the 00's."
All the while Red Swan has maintained a steady touring schedule playing throughout the United States and Canada with bands such as US Maple, Easy Action, Dalek, and countless others.
With the demise of their label, Red Swan is currently looking for a new home. Until then, they are working on material for their next release, due out sometime in 2007. It's tenatively titled "Fearsome Creatures from the Lumber Woods" based off of a turn of the century beastiopedia of the same title.