Xiu Xiu announce duet LP ft Sharon Van Etten & more (hear “A Bottle of Rum” ft. Grouper)
Experimental duo Xiu Xiu are returning with their twelfth album, OH NO, due out March 26 via Polyvinyl. It's a collection of duets with friends and influences, including Sharon Van Etten, Chelsea Wolfe, Alice Bag, Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux, Owen Pallet, Angus Andrew of Liars, Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater, Deb Demure of Drab Majesty, Greg Saunier of Deerhoof, George Lewis Jr. of Twin Shadow, and more. The album was born from betrayal, Jamie Stewart says, but came to be thanks to a "profound rediscovery of community and friendship."
"The guest stars of OH NO reflect the types of people, and many of the very same, who helped remind me that the ratio of beautiful humans to shitty humans is more like 60/40 rather than what I have always assumed was 1/99," Stewart continues. "Although there is an ‘I HATE PEOPLE’ pin on my guitar strap, I hate them less now."
The first single off the record, "A Bottle of Rum," featuring Liz Harris of Grouper, is out today, and you can hear it below. About its origins, Jamie says:
About a year ago I bought a cheap bajo quinto, which is a 10 string low register guitar like instrument used in Tejano, conjunto and norteño musics. As it is a cheap one, only certain chords sound good on it. One of them, annoyingly, is the open ‘cowboy’ voicing of D major. When we started Xiu Xiu, founding member Cory McCulloch had a lot of rules for the band. One of them was we could never use this chord. It has become a creative game in the last few years to try and break some of these rules but in a way that respects that Cory had very good reasons for imposing them in the first place. I.e. in this voicing, D major is an insipid chord.
I had been trying to write a song on this bajo quinto to no avail and then drunkenly (A Bottle of Rum) listened to Liz's song, "Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping." A spark shone and feebly I tried to write something that, at least at first, sounded like it. I had asked Liz Harris, who is an old friend, if she would sing on this new record of duets. Initially I thought of her for another song but she specifically, although not knowing she had been the inspiration behind it in the first place, asked to be on this one. If the stars ever have aligned... well then.
Xiu Xiu's Angela Seo directed the video for "A Bottle of Rum," and she says, "This video, as often is with Xiu videos, is an amalgamation of things that I want and am into lately. When I was a kid, I always wanted a video camera and was fascinated with tapes, but couldn't afford one. I'm an adult now, and can buy what I want, so I bought a used mini DV camera. I like how the tapes look, the specific way they capture color, and also the tactile feeling of inserting and ejecting a tape. Also, I've always had a love for noir films and their penchant for shadows, fate, doom, and drama. Our friend and superb drummer David Kendrick (Sparks, Devo, Xiu Xiu) wrote a three-part noir story and this is part 1. In keeping with the times, most of this was intentionally DIY, shot alone or with just a couple of friends and a tripod."
OH NO TRACKLISTING
1. Sad Mezcalita (Sharon Van Etten)
2. I Cannot Resist (Deb Demure / Drab Majesty)
3. The Grifters (Haley Fohr)
4. Goodbye For Good (Greg Saunier / Deerhoof)
5. OH NO (Susanne Sachsse)
6. Rumpus Room (Angus Andrew / Liars)
7. Fuzz Gong Fight (Angela Seo / Xiu Xiu)
8. I Dream of Someone Else Entirely (Owen Pallett)
9. One Hundred Years (Chelsea Wolfe) [The Cure cover]
10. A Classic Screw (Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo)
11. It Bothers Me All the Time (Jonathan Meiburg / Shearwater)
12. Saint Dymphna (George Lewis Jr. / Twin Shadow)
13. Knock Out (Alice Bag)