Sister Swire cut deep with their darkly disturbing new single My Sister Is A Butcher — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
“My Sister Is A Butcher is a singalong song about witnessing alcoholism bloom in a loved one,” explains bandleader and actress Sarah Swire. “Or, you know, a comedy horror about a lady butcher. You decide.”
Pinning down the elusive, poisonous butterfly of Sister Swire‘s sound is no simpler. While the chunky acoustic guitar thrums that drive the song point you towards indie-folk a la Beck in his busking days, the thumpy drums, ghostly ringing piano and genearal spooky ambience — not to mention Swire’s seductively dusty, dusky pipes — pull you into stranger, more ominous unmapped terrain. Before you know it, you’ve lost your bearings. And there’s no turning back.
So you might as well settle in while we put a little more meat on the bones of Sarah Swire’s bio. She is what happens when you try to conjure Beetlejuice but get Sylvia Plath. She is a timeless, malevolent entity trapped in the body of a young Ottawa Valley brat; a force that can be conjured, but not without consequence. On a more earthly level, Swire is an actor, choreographer and musician whose work spans stage, screen and TV. She grew up listening to The White Stripes, Laura Marling, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, Captain Beefheart, Led Zeppelin, Heart, Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra. After graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, she set out on a world tour with Belle and Sebastian. By age 25, she had creatively directed, choreographed and played sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall, Red Rocks Amphitheater and the Glastonbury Music Festival.
As a music director, Swire has arranged and composed original music for the BBC, Avalon Arts and The National Theatre of Scotland. As an actor, she is best known for starring in and choreographing the musical Anna and the Apocalypse. She has two recurring roles on Murdoch Mysteries as the evil twin sisters Dorothy & Amelia Ernst, with an upcoming role on the third season of The Boys. Above all, she is a stage performer trying to make sense of a film/TV career, and a songwriter attempting to weave theatrics into the Canadian indie music scene. This band is her scheme to thread the needle.
Ah yes, the band. The female-led rock entity are currently in the studio working towards the launch of their debut concept album — produced by none other than beloved Canadian musician Joel Plaskett (who also handles bass and drums on My Sister Is A Butcher). The songs on said album are a series of semi-fictionalized portraits about its titular character. They serve as a lens into the experiences that steer women towards madness as selfhood crystallizes in genetic trauma, substances, mental health, and the use (and misuse) of love. These songs come from the pits of her addictions and have been reworked as comedic parables. This is therapy through music, drama and dance. This is her pushing the monster on stage so she can head out back for a quick smoke.
Or you could take it from Plaskett, who says Sister Swire is the inevitable result when “Laura Marling writes songs for a musical about Robert Plant filing a self-indulgent, unsuccessful lawsuit against Heart while he’s squatting at Jack White’s summer cottage with Martha Wainwright.”