Christelle Imperial de Castro
The boys and girl of Xiu Xiu. Dirty, eh?
Xiu Xiu, Remixed & Covered. Releases on April 10th.
Xiu Xiu’s eighth release features covers by the unexpectedly folksy likes of Devendra Banhart and Marisa Nadler, with great results. Banhart’s “Support Our Troops” is an acoustic sockhop, down-tempoed by his quivering vocals. Nadler takes “Clowne Towne” to a bucolic plain where nymphet sirens coo haunting heralds from the treetops. With a move away from ambient, antagonizing discords, Xiu Xiu has boldly crossed oceans of genres in their choice of collaborators. They infuse already rich blueprints with cellos and tambourines, spoken word, and gentle dance beats, as in Kid 606’s “Fabulous Muscles.” The results can be chilling, beautiful and consistently fresh.
Less impressive are the remixes, which up the ante on Xiu Xiu’s nails-on-a-chalkboard intensity to the point of almost unbearable tension. Still, they might work in a dance hall. The stand-out track, “Hello from Eau Claire,” mixed by Gold Chains, goes way out there with bare-bones, little-girl vocals: "I can put on my own blouse/I can button up my own pants/I can buy my own cigarettes."
For fans, this two-disc powerhouse is a must have. It may also make fans out of those who aren’t.
Rating: "Mixed" with love and "covered" with a tea cozy.