Posts tagged ‘Xiu Xiu’
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.
A new video for Xiu Xiu’s song, “Born to Suffer’, from off its latest 12-song album, “Always” — out now via Polyvinyl Record Co. in the U.S. and Bella Union for the UK and Europe. Video was directed by Adriana Alba. For a closer look at the record by Their Bated Breath, click here. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Xiu Xiu have a new video for their song, “Honeysuckle”, from their latest release, “Always”. Amir Shoucri directed the video — which should be titled “A Day In the Life of Angela Seo”. Read a full review of the album here in the Their Bated Breath archives. You can purchase the record at Polyvinyl. – David D. Robbins Jr
By David D. Robbins Jr. | Their Bated Breath
Xiu Xiu “Always” (Polyvinyl Records)
Release date: March 6, 2012
It could be said Xiu Xiu and lead singer Jamie Stewart wear weird like a badge of honor. This is a band that loves to wallow, giving morbidity a kind of religious reverence. Let’s face it, Xiu Xiu is the manifestation of Stewart, who is unafraid of being aberrant, revolting, and often self-lacerating. But don’t mistake it all for cheap theatrics or solipsism. At its best, Xiu Xiu combine a real pop aesthetic with arresting moments of lyricism, finding innovative combinations of rhythms and melodies to underscore Stewart’s oscillating sad-sack voice. After a decade of playing music, Xiu Xiu titled their newest record “Always” as an acknowledgment to a cult of devoted fans who have followed the band through a career of singing songs for outsiders, obsessives, rabble-rousers, miscreants, masochists, fringe-dwellers, castaways, and those bold enough to tattoo their Xiu Xiu love, like the image on the record cover. The frenzied album opener, “Hi”, is littered with loner aesthetics and unmistakable Xiu Xiu lyricism: “If you’re wasting your life say hi / If you’re alone tonight say hi / If you wish he should die say hi / Hi, hi, hi, hi / If there is a hole in your head say hi / If you have a stitch in your wrist say hi / If when you look at the sky, it is black and shredded /Sliver of bone could get caught in your throat, well silence is golden /A shard of bone sticking out of your arm, well blood is beautiful.” Imagery slip-slides through broken glass, being gagged, and a hippopotamus devouring a crocodile. It’s a wonderful stream of synthized-arcade melodies, brutal poetics, driving rhythm, and Stewart’s breathy utterances of h-heavy words like “hole”, “head”, “behind”, and “hi”, infusing the song with an infectious kind of heaving histrionics. Where else but Xiu Xiu music would you get verses like this: “If your bed is a living hell say hi … / If you have poked out your eyes say hi … / If there is a bomb in your mouth / Broken glass will shine for with the moon”?
A Their Bated Breath favorite, Xiu Xiu, has a new video for “Hi” from off the upcoming LP release “Always”. “Always” follows 2010′s release, “Dear God, I Hate Myself”. Pre-order “Always” in the U.S. here at Polyvinyl. Click here to pre-order in the UK and Europe. Video for “Hi” is directed by Jamie Stewart and David Horvitz. – David D. Robbins Jr.
I think someone’s going to have to take away my Xiu Xiu fan-club card. Not sure how I missed this one from more than a week back, but Xiu Xiu posted a free track called “Hi” from off the upcoming LP release “Always”. At the end of last year I posted a link to an acoustic version of this song, featured on the “Polyvinyl: 15-Year Sampler” Record. “Always” is slated for a March 6th release via Polyvinyl and on February 28th for the UK and Europe. The label says the record will be released on white vinyl, and a limited 500 copies of translucent pink. The tracklist is as follow (with a few titles, in true Xiu Xiu fashion, sure to raise eyebrows): 1. “Hi”, 2. “Joey’s Song”, 3. “Beauty Towne”, 4. “Honeysuckle”, 5. “I Luv Abortion’, 6. “The Oldness’, 7. “Chimneys Afire’, 8. “Gul Mudin’, 9. “Born to Suffer’, 10. “Factory Girls’, 11. “Smear the Queen’, 12. “Black Drum Machine”. “Always” follows 2010′s release, “Dear God, I Hate Myself”. Pre-order “Always” in the U.S. here. Click here to pre-order in the UK and Europe. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Just wanted to put this 30-song Polyvinyl sampler on your radar. In celebration of the record company’s 15th anniversary, Polyvinyl posted 30 free tracks from a variety of their artists for you. It includes a song from Casiokids, Deerhoof, 31Knots, Joan of Arc, Architecture in Helsinki, Someone Still Love You Boris Yeltsin and others. It also includes a song from one of my favorite Polyvinyl artists, Xiu Xiu. Listen to “Hi (Acoustic)” below. Here is the link for the free songs, courtesy of the label, for the low cost of an e-mail. The label is also throwing a party for itself, on September 24 in Champagne, Illinois at The Highdive Outdoor Annex, 2 p.m.-10 p.m. It’s part of the Pygmalion Music Festival and will feature eight of the label’s bands. For info about tickets click here. – David D. Robbins Jr.