Silver Swans
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Silver Swans

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE
Band EDM Alternative




"Obscure Sound review of 'Forever'"

Forever is a very satisfying release that shows why the collaboration of vocalist Yu and DJ/producer Waters has a chance for great longevity. - Obscure Sound

"Brooklyn Vegan CMJ 2011 Picks"

"Keeping things dancey but much more accessible (in a physical, get in the show kind of way) are San Francisco's Silver Swans who [played last night] at The Delancey. Their album Forever is in the can just waiting for someone to release it, and it's terrific I think. A little Knife-y at times but they're doing their own thing. You can download Silver Swans' slinky cover of Fleet Foxes "He Doesn't Know Why" at the top of this post." - Bill
- Brooklyn Vegan

"Death and Taxes premieres new single "Let It Happen""

‘Let It Happen’ bounces into existence with muttering 808 snare claps and a cozy synth, and the line, “Sometimes all I have is time.” One might imagine this track playing near a dance-floor during a whimsical first meeting of future lovers. - Death and taxes

"Death and Taxes premieres new single "Let It Happen""

‘Let It Happen’ bounces into existence with muttering 808 snare claps and a cozy synth, and the line, “Sometimes all I have is time.” One might imagine this track playing near a dance-floor during a whimsical first meeting of future lovers. - Death and taxes

"MTV Iggy: Bands We Like"

"...sweet guilty pleasure, where New Order sequencing meets Raveonettes melodies." - MTV Iggy

"Silver Swans video projected at Deli's CMJ show"

Next week many attendees of the CMJ Music Marathon in NYC will suddenly realize that they developed a desperate need for hand claps and wave balloons along the coast of San Francisco - and for Silver Swans' delicately melancholic music. This video was selected to be projected in between bands at The Deli/INDMUSIC CMJ Music Marathon Shows with 35 others.

- The Deli

"Silver Swans Fleet Foxes Cover Prefix Premier"

If you have ever wondered what Fleet Foxes would sound like translated through more electronic means, Silver Swans have the answer. The San Francisco-based, synth-loving duo has become more and more known for their remixes and covers over the past few months. And their take on "He Doesn't Know Why," off Fleet Foxes' eponymous debut, might be their finest yet.

Ann Yu's breathy, understatedly strong vocals float and glide by rather than soar like those heard on the original tune. They're a perfect complement to Jon Waters' luminous, elastic production, which bounces with layers of synths, keys, and drum machines. It all sounds like something you'd expect to hear coming from Sweden's Labrador Records, home of acts such as the Radio Dept., Acid House Kings, and Amanda Mair.

- Prefix Mag

"Silver Swans Play Brooklyn Vegan Day Party CMJ 2011"

San Francisco's Silver Swans were a late addition to our day party on Friday afternoon (10/21) and their slinky synth pop made for a nice pairing with Xeno & Oaklander who played after them. If you missed them at CMJ you can still catch Silver Swans tonight (10/24) at Pianos. They DON'T play with Sweden's Buvette and Australian trio Cameras.

UPDATE: Silver Swans are not playing Pianos tonight afterall. Scheduling mixup. You can however hear one of them DJing tonight on East Village Radio from 8-10pm. More dates HERE.

Look for Silver Swans' debut album, Forever, in early December. Meanwhile check out pics and video from the show below

"Silver Swans "He Doesn't Know Why" (Fleet Foxes cover)"

It’s been nearly a year since Listen Before You Buy‘s dream-pop darlings Silver Swans put out their “Secrets” EP. In September they gave us the sweet remix of Burning Hearts’ “Into The Wilderness” as a reminder that they are still playing the fantastic music that has made them so easy to love but also still having their hands creating incredible music even if it’s not a song of their own. A little more than a month later they are giving us this Fleet Foxes cover.

I stand firmly by my feelings that if you want respect when doing a cover things should sound just close enough to the original to keep everything familiar but the texture should be a personal stamp from the band, which is exactly what Silver Swans have accomplished with “He Doesn’t Know Why.”

Crosby, Stills, And Nash influenced chamber folk is exchanged for heavy synths and a simple yet focused rhythm. Shifting the Oregon vibe that is the cornerstone of Fleet Foxes into the San Francisco infused dreaminess saturating every Silver Swans track.

As far as I’ve been able to find out, the band is yet to announce anything official but the original plan was for them to release a full length at the beginning of summer 2012. They have played a few new songs live though and thrown the video’s up on their facebook page and thus far the potential is high.

- Listen Before You Buy

"New Song by Silver Swans"

It’s a crime, a motherfucking crime, that so many bands, musicians, artists, and Kriss Kros tribute duos go without notice and attention.

What makes it worse is the amount of time and energy and money and passion these artists pour into every aspect of their art, all to go without the millions of people hearing it who should hear it. Silver Swans are such a band, a band that I hadn’t heard of until perusing I Guess I’m Floating a few months back and stumbled across the winsome thumping lament of “Secrets”, and that’s about all it took for me to be hooked.

The cool thing about that was that after I posted their song on here, they got in touch with me and were interested in being featured on the site some more, which lead to an Introduction piece on them as well as the b-side to “Korean Secrets”, and now for the fourth time we’ve got a new demo that’s going to be on their debut album “Forever”, due out sometime in the future. After “Secrets” this might just be my favourite of their songs, brisk and exposed, with blinking keys and singer Ann Yu’s airy vocal stylings.

I’ll have more songs for you guys from the album as we get closer to release day, but for now tuck in to “Mother Of Pearl”. - Listen Before You Buy

"Silver Swans Mother of Pearl"

Silver Swans, the dreamy electronic-pop duo that I once wrote about and described as makers of music that’s reminiscent of a dream, has released another single called “Mother of Pearl.” Once again it’s got a sweeping sound that whirls and it twirls and makes me want to do an interpretive dance to its wistful ways. Ann Yu’s voice is so sincere, it makes this song feel close to home. This song is a demo from their upcoming full-length album called Forever. - Sunset in the Rear View

"NYC Popfest 2011"

Lots more: I've been wanting to see San Francisco's Silver Swans since I first heard the spooky, minimal "Secrets" last fall. It's one of these songs that doesn't seem like much on first listen, but then its charms get under your skin and next thing you know you've listened to it 10 times in a row. You can download it at the top of this post, along with a a demo of new song "Mother of Pearl" and a cover of The National's "Anyone's Ghost." Definitely one of my Popfest picks.
- Brooklyn Vegan

"Secrets by Silver Swans"

Haunting and beautiful, Silver Swans is the moniker of songwriter Ann Yu and DJ producer Jon Waters. Having both hailed from prolific music backgrounds, Silver Swans construct dynamic lullaby's which teeter somewhere in between 80s new wave and dream-pop; fitting considering their entire EP was recorded late at night under the covers. The EP’s title track “Secrets” is mellow, charming and the perfect end to a long day.
- Time to Sign Off

"Silver Swans - Mother of Pearl"

Here comes some smooth audio goodness from Silver Swans – a San Francisco-based electro dream-pop comprised of Ann Yu and Jon Waters. Both have prolific backgrounds within the music industry. Songwriter Yu has been in bands that have shared the stage with acts such as The Radio Dept, La Roux, Handclap Band, Mates of State, Jose Gonzales and many more whereas Jon has produced and DJ’d all around the globe. Now they teamed up to fuse their creative forces which results in a exultant sounds that capture various emotive levels. "Mother of Pearl" is a perfect example of their craft and should whet your appetite for their upcoming Forever LP, due later this year. Enjoy! - Hypetrak

"Download: Silver Swans - "Secrets""

Silver Swans share a vocalist with LoveLikeFire, the inimitable Ann Yu, cooing here instead of beliting as in her other band, creating more shoegazing and swirling in the place of rising wails of guitars and soaring elements. Silver Swans' first cut track, "Secrets", is evidence of this all. Yu and band mate Jon Waters are creating real indie pop music, in the vein of Asobi Seksu (not just pigeonholing here because of the obvious Asian aspect of the two bands) or School Of Seven Bells. The band have an EP coming this November. - Culture of Me

"Silver Swans "Secrets""

Although we make it our mission to discover new bands and mp3s for you guys, sometimes otherwise great tracks go unnoticed. Sometimes it’s intentional (like SALEM, never saw that shit on IGIF and you never will) and other times, well, we’re so focused in that we miss the forest for the trees. That’s the case with Silver Swans and one of the new year’s hook-ier tracks “Secrets” »

[MP3] Silver Swans – Secrets

There’s an urge to lump Silver Swans into a category of lush, female-fronted electronic dream-pop along with Little Dragon, Phantogram, maybe even Sleigh Bells. The verdict is out on whether the addictiveness of “Secrets” is sustainable across their new EP Secrets, although Coke Machine Glow is a fan… but I guess we’ll have to wait and see, or take a leap of faith and buy the record. - I Guess I'm Floating

"Silver Swans Record Review"

2010 was a good year for swans: Yellow Swans’ Going Places earned the noise duo some posthumous worship; Michael Gira’s Swans reformed for My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky; actual swans/mute cygnets celebrated nine centuries of royal protection; and newly-formed Silver Swans slowly floated to the top of the blog scene. Ann Yu’s and Jon Walters’ disco dream-pop was causing ripples beyond their native San Francisco, and it wasn’t long before the heavy-lidded couple found themselves courted by the man who broke the Drums. Both acts had a kind of bubblegum appeal—they could subdue the kids with waves of warm pop hooks, angst on standby for the verses—but while the Drums channeled Brian Wilson with stories of girls and volleyball, Silver Swans were more introspective, meaning they stood a slightly higher chance of making waves on the east.

Taking the words “bedroom pop” to heights only an employment lawyer would dream of, Yu and Walters recorded their debut EP in the small hours/under duvets/in the toilet. So when I say that the dreaminess on Secrets feels sincere, I mean it’s drowsy, semi-conscious, should-I-have-a-piss-or-not sincere. Yu exhales her 2am monologues while Walters pumps out tight keyboard sequencing, creating a kind of subconscious twee. And the Swan brand of twee is one everyone can enjoy: indie enough to appease the recluses, but with enough pop muscle to keep the undecided nodding.

One of those nodders must be Liz Harris, because the Swans have trained their wily eye on her blurred style as Grouper. Secrets is essentially Grouper’s Dragging a Dead Deer Up A Hill (2009) under a mirrorball, and once you make it past the breathy intro of the title, Yu confirms this herself, half-visible washes of light spinning off her. Her first song finds her being woken one night by an old flame’s drunk text, drowsy reactions smothering Walter’s keyboard swells like white throws draped over furniture. “Are you happy? / I know you shiver like stone,” she sighs, wondering what happened to her former fuck-buddy as the Scarface soundtrack freezes behind her. The recipe generates one hypnotizing break-up song, and it’s hard not to thrust to Yu’s cruel tongue while Water beats out half-remembered melodies.

This simple formula keeps the whole EP flowing, with some neat twists occurring later on. For a non-comedy record it’s one of the first to emulate the early nineties’ peace vibes seriously: “BF!”‘s stripped-down dance and hyperfunky bass could come straight from a German chart cassette, the lazy disco drop and prog house currents sharp enough to give old ravers flashbacks. If you did drugs fifteen to twenty years ago you might have crashed out to this track’s ancestor, awaking in the afternoon with the urge to drink soup, not talk to anyone, sleep, and press repeat. “Let Me Know How” is even more bouncily nostalgic, and reminds me so much of Candyflip’s “Redhills Road” I frantically read the song’s credits. Never heard of Candyflip, you say? No, nor have most people except a handful of ex-festival survivors, so either Waters and Yu are dream-pop grave robbers or they’re writing like they don’t know what year it is. My money’s on the latter, and I hope the kids who hear this stuff investigate many more hits from circa May 1991. They can then stun their parents with the new ones recorded here, proving simultaneously that a) not everything’s commercial and b) everything is cyclic.

Silver Swans escape the pure nostalgia label through an understated flair for experiments, making Secrets flightier than the well-trod checklist of most retro-electronica. Instead of old Yamaha effects and drum beats rescued from the CS-70M, the band incorporate more modern thinking into their songs, such as the operatic pulses on “Those Days” which show Yu’s full range and softness. OK, so the panpipe intro might grate a little at first, but by the time the note-perfect xylophone line opens up you’ll want to snuggle up and stay in bed forever. Even the cloning of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on “Meet Me Somewhere Nice” is done subtly, its stylophone production soon eclipsed by pianos so fast they sound like guitar chords. This is the song for singletons at the end of the disco, and when Yu sings “I never meant to hurt you,” she means it (she must do—no one can lie while sounding that fatigued). The way she cries “Oh” implies she’s wishing there was a shortcut to cut these pesky emotions out forever. Sorry, Ann, I’ve tried it myself and all bromide does is eat your knee muscles and give you bronchitis. And anyway, the emotions harvested here are definitely worth experiencing. If Silver Swans had dropped Secrets in ’92 then they’d have at least one chart smash under their belt. As it is they’ll have to wait patiently on the stairs, then drag listeners up to the bedroom where they rule. - Coke Machine Glow

"Bands We Like: San Fran's Airy Silver Swans"

San Francisco duo Silver Swans are soaring to great heights, and if you haven’t already heard their wide array of synthpop, now is the time.

Last year the group dropped the LP Realize The Ghost, which ventures into attitude-soaked, bass-packed dance punk, dancehall, and deep dark Kraftwerk-style throwbacks.

Venturing away from the clubs and into the hearts of lovers and indie kids, their latest EP Secrets is an airy, sweet guilty pleasure, where New Order sequencing meets Raveonettes melodies. They’ve retained their tense bassline synth undercurrents, but they rarely override melancholy decibels.

It’s f**king beautiful, in other words.

Ann Yu and Jon Waters (no, not that Jon Waters) named their band after Wonder Woman characters who fight off bad guys with their voices. These Silver Swans would probably lull the villains into a candy-coated dreamland.

Hear “Secrets.” - MTV Iggy Blog

"Silver Swans"

I want more. Or is it all just a dream?

Apparently, it is not. It is Secrets, the new record from Silver Swans, a duo from San Francisco, California, formed in 2007 and made up of members Ann Yu (singer, songwriter) & Jon Waters (DJ producer).

The 5-tracks EP may be short on quantity, but that sure doesn’t compromise the quality of the music.

In a reverie-like, dream pop style similar to that made popular by Beach House’s 2010 record Teen Dream, and adding the extra touches and elements of electro beats and sounds, the music of Silver Swans is thereby firmly established. It is thus no wonder that they have been compared to the likes of Beach House, Chairlift, Asobi Seksu, School Of Seven Bells, The Knife and Ladytron – famous indie bands that most hipsters would have probably heard of in recent times.

As I am being exposed into the music world of Silver Swans in their latest EP offering, the dividing line, as well as the visions of life and dreams blur indefinitely, and it feels as though I am being transported into another world filled with overshadowed sceneries and motions, otherwise a journey into the unknown.

So for now, dream on. - Power of Pop

"REVIEW: Silver Swans' "Secrets" EP"

Silver Swans have been drawing attention for their music in 2010, in anticipation for more in the new year. The new year is almost two months in, and the group have finally released an EP in the form of Secrets. In the days of the post-modern “alternative nation”, music like this was everywhere, where a group would get synthy and hard, while a female vocalist with a breathy, dreamy voice would speak and offer lessons about the peculiar world we live in. That’s what you get here, with a slight retro 90's feel in the music, in fact “BF!” sounds like what it would sound like if Silver Swans vocalist Ann Yu (whom you may know from the group LoveLikeFire) joined 808 State and hooked up with Miki Berenyi.

Yet take a deeper listen and you’ll find some incredible layers in their simplicity, a good portion of this coming from multi-instrumentalist Jon Waters. If you are used to hearing Yu in LoveLikeFire with a much more active sound, Silver Swans is a bit more ethereal, the kind of music you’ll want to take to a river stream, lay on the shore, and just absorb. On a slightly different feel is the closing track, “Meet Me Somewhere Else”, which seems to take a slight nod to the mid-60's with its poppy feel, as if you’re expecting for Cee-Lo or Amy Winehouse to jump into the mix and join the party (as they should).

Even with only five songs on the EP, Secrets offer the kind of stories and emotions that you can’t (or don’t want to) keep to yourself. Would it mean being called a snitch if you told everyone about Silver Swans’ Secrets? No.

(You can hear the title track for Secrets by heading to - This Is Books Music

"Silver Swans' Secret"

am accustomed to quality material from Twentyseven Media. The NYC-based label broke out local bands like The Drums and This Is Ivy League, exposed underrated Swedish gems (Acid House Kings, Irene, Pelle Carlberg) to American audiences, and are headed by people who are music fans first and foremost. If founder Clyde Erwin Barretto focused full-time on compiling music recommendations through a personal blog, it would be quite popular simply because of his knack for discovering artists with lofty potential. Their latest discovery is a duo by the name of Silver Swans, a San Francisco-based project starring Ann Yu and Jon Waters. Like most artists past and present on Twentyseven, their material is extremely accessible despite a sound contrary to conventional radio pop. With graceful electronic-pop artists like Portishead and Ladytron showing off as influences, Silver Swans produce sounds detailing a perfect fusion of both members. Waters’ experience as a producer and DJ is prominent on Silver Swans’ impressive Secrets EP, as are Yu’s melodic charms. They are the same charms that earned her openings alongside acts like The Radio Dept., Mates of State, and Jose Gonzales throughout her various projects.

Lead single “Secrets” begins with Yu’s ghostly croon assembling itself over a post-punk guitar progression, which reverberates in a way reminiscent of late ‘80s/early ‘90s indie-rock acts. The intro has no evident boundaries until some crisp drum loops and synth-bass establish it with an authoritative electro-pop swagger. This stylistic reveal arrives with little surprise considering Yu’s vocal strengths, which like Portishead’s Beth Gibbons feature a tendency to turn minimal key-driven arrangements into grandiose hooks with her impeccable tonal development. Yu’s voice nearly sounds like a shiver in the intro when only accompanied by the percussion, guitar, and synth-bass. As she opens with “are you happy? I know you shiver like a stone”, it is clear that her vocals contain an almost ethereal child-like quality that some modern punk-rock bands view as the golden goose egg. Fortunately for our ears, both Yu and Waters specialize in electronic hybrids of pop, not melodramatic nonsense for MTV audiences. Their songs contain just the right amount of subtle confidence and production chops to sound original, resulting in a smart mix of electro-pop and indie-rock that remains polished without being overly glamorized; Waters’ production does not disrupt the naturalistic flow of their music, preventing any songs from sounding stiff or over-produced. Such is the work of an experienced DJ/producer.
The hazy synth line in the gradually appearing chorus of “Secrets” is subdued yet melodic, resembling Sally Shapiro’s acclaimed takes on italo-disco with Yu’s sweet-as-sugar vocals coating the elegant synths that eventually dominate melodically without taking over the production. Again, Silver Swans are not going to blow your socks off with anthemic bluster. But like most electronic-pop acts that have aged well, like Portishead and Massive Attack, their music resonates enough to haunt listeners in the best way possible. They also make the type of music that results in great remixes; there are already interesting remixes of “Secrets” (by Letting Up Despite Great Faults) and “Best Friend in Love” (by Bachelors of Science). Another Silver Swans highlight, “Holidays”, will likely get similar treatment. Jingle bells? Check. Breezy, gospel-like vocal harmonies? Check again. Add to these a bubbly synth-bass and percussive pitter-patter and you have another Shapiro-like take on electro-pop and italo-disco. Perfect for future remixes and pretty damn good on its own too. It has a fun factor inherent in a lot of Swedish electronic-pop, so it is hardly a surprise why this appealed to Twentyseven Media. The hook – “I only dance when it’s the holidays” – adds that essential dose of melancholy-over-upbeat-music trend that Swedes seem to do so well.

Also to note is Silver Swans’ cover of The National’s “Anyone’s Ghost”, one of the best tracks from one of last year’s best albums, High Violet (#11 on my Top 50). The brooding bass line is hardly different from The National’s unbeatable original, but Waters’ use of eerie synths in the background really adds to the heartrending allure of the song. The synth-strings during the chorus are minimal but affecting as well, as is the push of percussion during the verse’s second go-around. Here the chorus repeats like before, but now the additional percussion breathes new life into an already moving interpretation. It is interesting to note that Yu’s angelic voice is nearly the opposite of Matt Berninger’s solemnly poignant croon, so that she carries over the emotion from the original successfully is a major achievement and demonstration of her dynamic range. It is a great job by Silver Swans, even if they would admit themselves that covering a great song like “Anyone’s Ghost” is pretty much a win-win for any competent group. With inventively catchy and memorable songs like “Secrets” and “Holidays” though, there is certainly no questioning Silver Swans’ originality and promising future. More of the same from Twentyseven.

- Obscure Sound


Secrets (single release July 2010)
Anyone's Ghost (cover of the National release Nov. 2010)
Secrets EP (released November 2nd, 2010)
Holidays (released Dec. 2010)
He Doesn't Know Why (cover of Fleet Foxes released September 2011)
Forever (to be released February 7th, 2012)



Silver Swans take their name from the group of super-villains in the Wonder Woman comic book series. The evil Swans have the ability to create a powerful “swan song” of sound waves using their voices that is capable of devouring a small area of land with its destructive force. By creating a low-level humming, the Silver Swan can also form a protective shield around herself to deflect bullets and other projectiles. The musical counterpart Silver Swans, however, are far from the evil and destruction of their namesake. The electro dream-pop project captures the haunting dramatics and the pure beauty of life and dreams to build a dynamic, exultant sound all their own.

They formed from the collaboration of DJ producer Jon Waters and songwriter Ann Yu. Both artists also have prolific backgrounds. Ann Yu has been in bands that have shared the stage with acts such as The Radio Dept, La Roux, Black Kids, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Mates of State, Jose Gonzales and many more. Jon has produced and DJ’d all over the world. But with all of the experience the duo decided to take a different route when it comes to creating music together. Silver Swans puts a special meaning to the idea of bedroom recordings. All tracks were recorded in late night sessions hidden under covers, in their bathrooms, and right before bed. The songs you hear are a reflection of the dreams they’ve uncovered and hope to discover.