Wednesday, September 29, 2010
In one sense, Xiu Xiu, which preceded Merzbow on the evening’s bill, is a completely different animal. It’s a songwriting outfit, the project of the hyper-gifted singer and musician Jamie Stewart, who has definitely heard a few records by the Cure and Joy Division. But Mr. Stewart is on a similarly brave and stoical walk through the dark side: he’s committed to both seducing and burning his listeners.
He pushed his voice from careful and confidential to breathy and overwrought, to the trembly verges of fear and excitement, obliquely referring to sex and trauma in his lyrics; the music followed a precise trail of ’80s-sounding electronic rhythm, guitar solos and cymbal crashes. Working with backing tracks and only one other musician, Angela Seo, on keyboards and percussion, Mr. Stewart worked hard to reproduce the density of Xiu Xiu’s albums; as he sweated over the music’s details, he seemed like a man who gets no rest.
Duh, old grey lady!