Xiu Xiu | Lawrence Liquors

Thank the stars for Xiu Xiu. While the rest of music world slumbers away under the cushy and continuous waves of Radioville, U.S.A, this band stretches out the definition of what music means and how it could sound in the future. Jamie Stewart’s efforts don’t always work, but we’re all the better for his grasping in a quest for some kind of Xiu Xiu musical idyll. No, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the pap pleasures of popular music, but life’s way too short to make it the only thing you listen to. And Xiu Xiu is a group whose music begs for listeners to break out of their comfort zones. Sure, Stewart’s brainchild is the receptacle for all his unusual ideas (which included the recent Xiu Xiu Nina Simone cover album) — but they’re usually as intriguing as the band’s latest streaming track, “Lawrence Liquors”. The new song begins with an underlying rattle and arcade game-like noises buzzing about in high pitch like an angry bee hive before the lyrics kick in. The verses are sung in Stewart’s familiar anxiety-ridden, tension-filled and susurrous style: “Don’t tell me someone is waiting / Don’t tell me someone is whispering …” When the song hits the 1:06 mark, the real instrumental fireworks fracture into gorgeous textures of sound. Howling backing vocals blend with staccato electronics and horn effects, searing themselves into one noisy stream to close out the song. The band already posted another stunner, “Stupid In the Dark”, which also will be featured on the upcoming LP release, “Angel Guts: Red Classroom”, available February 4th via Polyvinyl. — David D. Robbins Jr.

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