Sunday, February 3, 2008

Outsideleft: Up on The F*cking Block with Xiu Xiu

Xiu Xiu
Women as Lovers

(Kill Rock Stars)

I once attended an erotic poetry reading in a semi –abandoned warehouse with a girl that was soon to be my girlfriend, just as soon as the messy detail of the current girlfriend was handled. The then current girlfriend broke up with me a week later at a basketball game to which I was late in arriving to because the new girl and I were off on a bike ride. The transition was frankly not much of a shock to anyone, as are the romantic machinations of the hormonal youth, but they feel like the roof is collapsing in on you with each touch, each baited breath. I remember the erotic poetry at the reading as being completely not erotic at all, but one balding grad student had the wisdom to drag out a copy of Henry Miller’s Sexus and delivered this:

It was fast clean work after that – no tears, no love business, no promise me this and that. Put me on the fucking block and fuck! that’s what she was asking for. I went at it with cold blooded-fury.

That very sentence was the removal of the keystone on that relationship. No dull ties to girlfriends and the like, no passion reined in by weak unmeant and unkept promises. The nakedness of that line was as embarrassing as being actually naked, but when you are naked, it’s more honest than when you’re not.

Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu has a similar honest nudity to his songs as Henry Miller, but instead of imbedding them in a rush of words , they are ensconced in a beguiling mixture of electro-pop sheen and Chinese opera klunk. Women as Lovers comes on the heels of some of his more accessible efforts, and while it’s not the exposed nerve plugged into Pro Tools that was A Promise, it’s a wild, sometimes harrowing, sometimes funny, skid across the fucking block.


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