It’s safe to say Xiu Xiu, the synthetic pop and experimental noise band from Oakland and Seattle, takes some risks. On their 2004 release, Fabulous Muscles, considered by most to be the band’s most mainstream effort, frontman Jamie Stewart sings “cremate me after you cum on my lips” on one track and takes a swing at the troops with the line, “Why should I care if you get killed?” on another. The lurid lyrics are delivered against anything ranging from an acoustic six string to a steady stream of reverb.
And yet, talking while driving to the band’s next gig in upstate New York, Stewart says nonchalantly, “Our next album is a whole lot more experimental. There’s pop, sure, but we’re continuing to work in a very experimental framework.” He adds, “It’ll be more political than Fabulous Muscles.”
Look out. Xiu Xiu’s new CD, La Foret (5 Rue Christine), is due in July and the band is already incorporating about five of the fresh songs into their current string of live shows. Stewart says the live tracks lean toward the pop category, but he’s still messing with some of the deliveries. Like a lot of musicians, Stewart is hesitant to categorize Xiu Xiu’s ever-evolving overall sound.
“I don’t impose my own ideas about the music on people,” he says. “I know what it is to me, what the vision is. But I don’t share that with people. I know I’ve built up certain bands to be certain things, and then I hear what they’re really about and it ruins it.”
Among Xiu Xiu’s politicized targets on the new album are the tsunami disaster, the environment and, of course, Dubya. The last reference, according to Stewart, comes in a song that’s more personal statement than political. “It’s really more of a diatribe on my absolute hate for the man and his family and everything he stands for,” Stewart says.
A couple of years ago when Xiu Xiu came to town, the band had its tour van broken into and a slew of personal items stolen. The robbery’s impact was overblown, according to Stewart, but indicative of the group’s early run in the Garden City. But like the risks the group continues to take on its albums, Stewart still thinks a Missoula show is worth the effort.
Xiu Xiu plays at The Other Side Monday, March 28. Doors open at 9 PM, and the show’s at 10 PM Tickets are $6 for those 21-and-up and $8 for 18-21.