It seems like Jamie Stewart had been putting out a new album every year... I am not complaining though! I love this man. But it is hard to keep up with everything he does. If he isn't releasing a brand new album then he is probably releasing a live album, a remix album, a collaboration of some sort, or an EP, or single, or 7". Sade should be ashamed of herself! How long did it take her to make her new album? 10 years. Xiu Xiu was just getting its start when the last Sade album came out. During those nearly 10 years, Xiu Xiu had released about 10 albums and 10 7"s. He has also put out a remix album, a couple of singles and EPs and a couple collaboration albums. Additionally, he took it one step further last year when he released a 12 disc/12 month music subscription service limited to only 50 super fans. The amazing thing about Jamie Stewart, the man behind Xiu Xiu, is that everything he puts out is good. I still have not been let down. Each new album and single is as good and brilliant as the last. He keeps putting out weird and experimental albums that are also somehow extremely accessible. Xiu Xiu is sort of like the experimental version of Morrissey. Just as dramatic and catchy. Just as well written and brilliant. I first became a fan of Xiu Xiu about 8 years ago when I had first moved to Los Angeles. I saw them for the first time at the Smell and was immediately a fan for life. I had never seen anything like Xiu Xiu and still haven't. He took all the things that I loved about pop music and new wave music, punk, indie rock and classical and glitch electronica and mixed them all up together. I was impressed and wanted more. Luckily for me, Jamie Stewart and Xiu Xiu have been very busy.
I was a big fan of the last Xiu Xiu album, Women As Lovers, but the new album, Dear God, I Hate Myself, is just as good. It just gets better the more that I listen to it. The stand out tracks for me are "This Too Shall Pass Away" and "Chocolate Makes You Happy." There are always a couple of songs on each album that I get obsessed with. Xiu Xiu is not for everyone, and I really don't think he wants to make albums for everybody. Xiu Xiu is an acquired taste for sure. He is dramatic and much of the music is experimental. Many genres are mixed up together to make the brilliance of Xiu Xiu, but at the same time he makes totally accessible pop music. It is the perfect combination for me. I like my pop music a bit experimental and weird and I like my experimental music more on the accessible side. I still want to be able to sing along. Xiu Xiu is also one of those bands where you want to try and figure out their lyrics to the songs. Some of the songs are not so obvious at first -- you actually have to sit down and do some research and read the lyrics. It is sort of like a scavenger hunt, finding the lyrics and then trying to figure out what they mean. Xiu Xiu has not failed me yet. I love this album just like the last. Can't wait for the next one. Maybe he can take on a box set of songs like The Magnetic Fields. I would love to hear Jamie Stewart's 69 songs about love or hate or anything!
Here are some samples of the brilliance of Xiu Xiu...
Listen to "Chocolate Makes You Happy" from the album Dear God I Hate Myself by Xiu Xiu...
Listen to "Crank Heart" from the album Fabulous Muscles by Xiu Xiu...
Here is a fun video game video for "Boy Soprano" from the album The Air Force by Xiu Xiu...
I have managed to stay clear from Joanna Newsom for her first two albums. I never really gave her much of a chance. I had friends that were really, really into her -- good friends that I respect and often agree with about music. But I just couldn't do it. I love a lot of female singers and I can often put up with strange and unusual voices, but her voice just rubbed me the wrong way. I loved the music on her albums -- I often wished that I could just listen to the karaoke versions without her vocals! But something happened with this last album. Either I just got more accustomed to her voice and finally learned to deal with it or something about it to changed. When I first heard that she was putting out a 3 disc set of albums, I was a bit worried. Was I going to be able to get through all of them? But I was so pleasantly surprised! Now I can't stop listening to them. I love this new album. I might venture back and listen to those first two albums now, but perhaps it might be wise for me to just stay with this new one. Not sure yet. The fantastic Kelly Sweeney gives a great review of the new album that you can read here on her blog. The new album is called Have One On Me. I think you will love it if you have already been a fan, but you also might be a new fan just like me. I am happy to now have Joanna and her music in my life. The album is haunting and beautiful. There are a ton of great songs on this new album! It is hard to pick my favorites, but here are two of them.
Listen to "Go Long" from disc 2 of Have One On Me by Joanna Newsom...
Listen to "No Provenance" from disc 1 of Have One On Me by Joanna Newsom...
also out 2/16...
Rough Frame by Art Museums
In Black Robes by Sarah June
Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You by Lightspeed Champion
Gorilla Manor by Local Natives
Sigh No More by Mumford & Sons
Periphery by Seven Fields of Aphelion
Kollaps Tradixion by Silver Mt. Zion
Falling Down A Mountain by The Tindersticks
also out 2/23...
Constellations by Balmorhea
Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? by Brian Jonestown Massacre
Magic Chairs by Efterklang
Similes by Eluvium
Gay Singles CD by Hunx & His Punx
American Gong by Quasi
Golden Archipelago by Shearwater
Work by The Shout Out Louds
Change In the Neon Light by Veil Veil Vanish