Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I just don’t get references to The Cure when Xiu Xiu are discussed. Sure the San Jose art-rockers have moments of goth atmospherics with angular post-punk guitar and have had plenty of line-up changes since forming in 2000; but Xiu Xiu are just much more interesting than gloomy Robert Smith’s bunch.

Consider the collaborations (Parenthetical Girls, Deerhoof, Grouper, Devendra Banhart, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone), the constantly evolving range of instruments used (autoharp, Croatian bells, Chinese percussion), the provocative package of art-and-sexuality that accompanies the music or just the fact that band leader Jamie Stewart can do morbid introspection and self-loathing with such a shocking intensity.

This year’s album “Dear God I Hate Myself” is a pretty good summation of this (a limited edition version came with a handmade t-shirt with real blood on it). Rough Trade Shop’s conclusion is “the result is a record that proves that art can be pop and pop can challenge you to look inside yourself… an utterly original mixture of home-studio goth-pop, confessional singer-songwriter outpourings and chamber music”.

Xiu Xiu’s short UK tour calls in Manchester tonight at Salford’s Islington Mill (could there be a more perfect venue for them?). Support is from Deaf To Van Gogh’s Ear and Model Warships – the latter have some free downloads on their Last.fm page. This is another WotGodForgot promotion after last week's exceptional tUnE-yArDs show.

The Cure may have sold 27 million records worldwide (and counting) but as we all know if ain't all about album sales. Tonight is likely to be a hot ticket for all the right reasons. Best to get advance tickets or miss out.

Xiu Xiu
Dear God, I Hate Myself [BUY]

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