O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

Not That There's Anything Wrong with Loving Xiu Xiu

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: January, 2005
I was a distraught teen with tendencies for overreaction, and think how Xiu Xiu would've been talking about my life, man, just like I thought Bauhaus was.
by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: January, 2005
I was a distraught teen with tendencies for overreaction, and think how Xiu Xiu would've been talking about my life, man, just like I thought Bauhaus was.

Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles

Ah youth! Carefree and full of mischief! Trotting down gravel roads, setting a hoop to spin with trusty stick, beloved pals in tow. Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu seems to have a had a similar halcyon childhood, 'cept his was augmented by cold leather daddies who made scary use of his oft-mentioned anus and left him weeping in the rain, the cries of his cracked adolescence bouncing off dead ears to head to the unfeeling moon. OK, I don't actually know Jamie Stewart or anything, but if the overwrought melodramatic frank narrative of Xiu Xiu's output is to be believed to be 25% true, the boy did not grow up on Walton's Mountain.

Xiu Xiu the band backs up JS's histrionics (picture a more dramatic sounding Connor Obrest, if you can) with a combination of video game bleeps, sensitive acoustic guitars, an exploratory bass, with a rhythm so disjointed that it has not experienced since The Blue Nile's "A Walk Across the Rooftops." I think they fall into some post-emo nether category with fellow drama club stars Destroyer and the aforementioned Bright Eyes guy. And every fiber of my musical tastes wants to hate this corny off-Broadway-musical-grade shit, but then I harken back to when I was a distraught teen with tendencies for overreaction, and think how Xiu Xiu would've been talking about my life, man, just like I thought Bauhaus was. And, the songs, bent as they are, are pretty catchy. The opening "Crank Heart" sounds like a Merlin has gone horribly awry, and this was the last goddamn straw for our hero. Highlights for me are the scathing polar-opposite-of-Toby-Keith "Support Our Troops", bravely indicting soldiers directly for being part of a cold, violent war with the after-school special bravery of the spazz finally standing up to the jock; "I Love the Valley (Oh!)" is like Joy Division gone roller skating and the plaintive title track contains the winner lyric of the whole this thing:

Cremate me after you cum on my lips
Honey boy place my ashes in a vase
Beneath your workout bench

All of a sudden, Morrissey's wanting to plummet off the Ferris wheel seems rather well adjusted.

The whole thing reeks of piqued teen angst, but so much so that it totally works and I unabashedly love this weepy lil group, bless their tortured hearts.

Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

more stories you really could read...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

You Are About to Be Sucked into the Xanadu Universe
Xanadu means something to everyone...a chance meeting leads Kelsey down its mystifyingly dark and unremitting paths
The Velvet Jackhammer of Einstürzende Neubauten
Blixa Bargeld and his band of provocateurs show the softer side of destroying civilization on their latest release Alles Wieder Offen
Brian Jonestown Massacre: Idiots, or Harbingers of the Boring Endtimes?
BJM succeeds by caring less about success than any other band ever.
Oral Sex Takes a Backseat To No One.
From the way things appear lately, you'd think the blowjob wasn't important at all anymore. Maxim would have you think a good session of anal has knocked oral right off the top of the list of Things Guys Most Wanna Do With Their Penis, but I don't think that's true at all.
The Hissing of Herbie Hancock
How the Grammys managed to pick such a rich and complex album as River: the Joni Letters for 2007's Album of the Year is anyone's guess. I do know that Tina Turner can still kick all y'alls ass.
No Time Like the Present to Not Present Things
Sweet Procrastination - it is the frosting on the cake of indolence - but it keeps me from telling you about some really good records.
Some of our favorite things...