# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Xiu Xiu - Dear God I Hate Myself

  by Jamie Rowland

published: 29 / 1 / 2010

Xiu Xiu - Dear God I Hate Myself
Label: Kill Rock Stars
Format: CD


Challenging and eccentric, but ultimately fulfilling latest album from Californian experimentalists and avanat-garde pioneers, Xiu Xiu

As one might expect from the title, Xiu Xiu’s seventh album is not the most jovial of works – but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fulfilling listening experience. Xiu Xiu’s sound – if they have just one – could perhaps best be described as idiosyncratic. It’s a jumble of pop, folk and electro music; you could maybe says it’s like the art school experimentation of bands like Dirty Projectors, mixed with 'Hounds of Love'-era Kate Bush – but quite honestly, Xiu Xiu sound like no one else, and no one else sounds like Xiu Xiu. At various points banjo-led folk, epic ballad and 8-bit experimentation For many people, I imagine 'Dear God…' will not be an easy listen. Jamie Stewart’s vocals often sound as if he is about to break into tears, and random bursts of discordant noise crash in unexpectedly in otherwise subtle, melodic moments. ‘Hyunhye’s Theme’, essentially a subtle and sombre track, seems to fall apart completely in its closing bars under the weight of invading noise and musical confusion, and only barely seems to hold itself together before that. That might sound like a criticism – it isn’t, but it does illustrate the unusual nature of this album, and the challenge it may present to some listeners. Having said that, there are some real treats to be found on this record. The title track surprisingly has one of the more upbeat melodies to be found on the album, and I’ve found myself humming ‘Chocolate Makes You Happy’ on more than one occasion in the last few weeks. Personally, my favourite track is probably ‘This Too Shall Pass Away (For Freddy)’; it combines all the best elements found on the rest of the album and, for me, is the song which best compliments Stewart’s haunting voice. Another appealing element of 'Dear God…' is the use of a Nintendo DS on four of the songs. This is the most interesting use of 8-bit or Nintendo-core music I have heard since the trend started coming up five or so years ago. Normally associated with hip-hop, grime and electro, it’s unusual to hear these bleeps and plips accompanying the kind of soulful singing found on this record. Overall then, not an easy album to describe, other than to say that if you like your music by-the-numbers this is probably not the record for you. I personally found it an enjoyable and interesting listening experience, and I don’t think the strangeness of it will outweigh the good things it has to offer for anyone who likes their music served a little differently.

Track Listing:-
1 Gray Death
2 Chocolate Makes You Happy
3 Apple For A Brain
4 House Sparrow
5 Hyunhye's Theme
6 Dear God, I Hate Myself
7 Secret Motel
8 Falkland Rd.
9 The Fabrizio Palumbo Retaliation
10 Cumberland Gap
11 This Too Shall Pass Away (For Freddy)
12 Impossible Feeling

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Interview (2010)
Xiu Xiu - Interview
Jamie Rowland talks to founder and front man with Californian experimental art-rock band Xiu Xiu, Jamie Stewart, about his group's recent first full length tour of Britain, their tenth and latest album, and his early musical influences

live reviews

XOYO, London, 16/10/2010
Xiu Xiu - XOYO, London, 16/10/2010
Chris O' Toole watches Californian avant-garde duo Xiu Xiu play a confrontational, but compelling show at the new venue of the XOYO in London
Babylon, Ottawa, 5/6/2007

digital downloads


Women as Lovers (2008)
Menacing and near psychotic, but compelling eighth album from Xiu Xiu, the project of avant garde musician Jamie Stewart.
The Air Force (2006)
Knife Play (2002)

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