Why did Haley Foher (Circuit Des Yeux) appear 10 feet tall when she suddenly rose from her chair toward the end of her commanding set of stripped-down tracks from 2014’s excellent Overdue? Why does Matt Espy lend his virtuosic drumming talents to pretentious cock rockers Dead Rider (aptly dubbed “dad metal” by friend and KSPC DJ Ignatz)?
Yes, there are many questions with which last week’s Xiu Xiu show at The Echo left us. None of which, however, pertain to Xiu Xiu themselves. Xiu Xiu make sense. Or they make themselves make sense. Or they straight up reconfigure what sense is. Whatever, whichever. All I know: they pounded through most of their 2014 album Angel Guts: Red Classroom from a pulsing red cube, closed with “I Luv the Valley OH!”, and it was the rightest thing that ever happened.
Jamie Stewart and Angela Seo showed no interest in building toward a climax or even moving smoothly between songs. (Each song was punctuated by thirty or so seconds of silence as Jamie Stewart pushed buttons on a box that clanged and screeched, making sounds that never seemed to appear in any actual songs.) Regardless, each song, in its isolation, was breathtaking—and sometimes suffocating—and Stewart’s contorted choreography—gasps, twirls, mincing hops, and mimed suicides—drove home what we already felt about Xiu Xiu, but were perhaps too disturbed to admit: that they make body music, in every way. It is music for the body and against the body. It is music to make you dance and music to make you cringe, shrivel, and wither.
Oh, and Jamie Stewart is playing “Ian Curtis Wishlist” live this year to which I bleat out, “I LOVE YOU, JAMIE STEWART!”
– J. Seph