Rarely is so much meaning conveyed in the space of six letters. And with regard to Xiu Xiu, its applications are infinite: always relevant, always provocative, always surprising, always evolving, always glittering.
It s fitting, then, that as the band (now comprised of Jamie Stewart, Angela Seo, Bettina Escauriza, Marc Riordan, and returning member Devin Hoff) marks a decade in existence, such a powerful sentiment would serve as the title of its latest album.
At its core, Always symbolizes the mutual camaraderie with and deep dedication to each person who has internalized Xiu Xiu’s work, tattooed its name on their skin or soul, and throughout the past ten years made the band a part of their lives.
Xiu Xiu | Beauty Towne
The origin of these intense, everlasting bonds is Stewart. His fearless lyrics have given voice to life s most untouchable and taboo subjects, while his distinctively committed but hushed vocals crystallize and medicate their unsettling impact.
While it’s writing is worthy of reverence, Always most arresting moments lie in its sonic innovation — transforming avant pop elements from an undertone into a bright black focal point while adding new influences such a choral music, krautrock and animal field recordings.
During recording, Stewart saw a Bible verse spray painted on the wall of his gym. He interpreted the verse to mean, “Horror and beauty are the same love and hate are the same, the tireless dread of our own lives and of living can be embraced with the same fervency as what we find beautiful.”
Composed of this essence, the album proves that perhaps the only six letters to carry the same weight as “always ” are these: Xiu Xiu.
AU is Luke Wyland and Dana Valatka and their first release on the Leaf Label will be ‘Solid Gold’, taken from their forthcoming album, Both Lights. AU (pronounced ‘ay-you’) first came to attention in 2009 with the brilliant Versions EP, but Both Lights is really the long-gestating follow-up to 2008’s Verbs album.
In the interim Wyland has stripped his previously extensive band down to a two-piece, rewriting his own rulebook and honing the duo’s considerable talents. They’re quite capable of delivering astonishing, muscular live shows (Dana on drums, Luke playing everything else).
Xiu Xiu & AU LIVE
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 | 20:00 CET
Festsaal Kreuzberg | Skalitzer Str. 130 | 10999 Berlin/Kreuzberg
xiuxiu.org | au-au-au.com | festsaal-kreuzberg.de