So for this post I have decided to write about a Cult artist called Xiu Xiu (Ithink its pronounced Shu Shu). And when I use the term cult artist I mean they are an act that may be laundered with praise by certain sections of the press. but may not have entered the sub concious of general public, or maybe never want to be forced into the mainstream.
this was partly inspired by seeing them play at the Fleece the other week which was and absolutely incredible gig that was pretty sparsely attended, 59 people in a 400 capacity room and they are an incredible band.
Xiu Xiu have nailed the sounds of post punk and disco together in a way that has not really been heard since Spoon were singing I Turn My Camera On. Its like as if they have taken splices of Fisherspooners clinical cool electronica with Talking Heads styled post punk.
Fronted by Jamie Stewart who is a vocalist that seems to have been created from the dna of David Byrne, Robert Smith and Anthony Heggarty together. His voice is one of the most captivating things I have heard or seen recently, it is something that is very emtoionally draining. His voice just hits so many raw nerves.
Both times I have seen Xiu Xiu live he has drawn tears from my eyes with a voice that arches and flexes around the continued sonic experiments. so weather he takes it out as just himself or as a full live band the result has been pretty damn intoxicating.
The first time I saw him live was back in the trailing end of 2010, where he played Mountain of Nine in the Arnolfini along with Mount Kimbie, Holy Ghost and Munch Munch. I can remember both Xiu Xiu and Holy Ghosts shows really stuck out for me because they both played very emotional electronica.
Most of the people who were there, were there to see Mount Kimbie who for me could not cope with following up XIu Xiu. Up until this point I had only seen Xiu Xiu’s name on websites like Drowned in Sound, that had been giving them more then favourable reviews, so I had an inkling that this might be a little bit good. But oh My I was not expecting what my ears would hear.
It was like as if someone had just sparked a fire in my ears with so many rich sonic textures, layered up with fractured beats and echoing guitars. They were way more interesting then Mount Kimbie. In fact there is an element of Art of Noise in the way they set about creating avant guard melodies and structural changes.
Live there’s is something slightly cold about them, not in an un emotional kind of way, but in-between each song was pure silence. like as if they feared speaking to the audience creating an un comfortable feeling. I can kind of understand if they are realy shy but something about their quietnes sugests there might something more to it then just shynes
Xiu Xiu are a band that are loved by the likes of Drowned In Sound and Pitchfork amongst many other lesser known internet fanzineand its easy to see why. they are a band that sounds is in one word unique, and they have playful quirkiness, that makes them interesting to listen to without getting lost and it gives them an energy to yield with.