Xiu Xiu: a ten-year-old indie act piloted by Jamie Stewart, a man whose personal life becomes excessively intertwined within his band’s songs. In person, Stewart is a quiet and thoughtful character, thinking before he speaks when he talks to strangers. On stage, he’s a passionate musical wizard, mesmerizing crowds with his non-stop performances that exude just as much physical emotion as the extreme lyrics he sings. Go to a Xiu Xiu show and you will notice Stewart’s fans are likeminded and exceptional, with the front row of faces adorned with fancy makeup, grooving to every song, consumed by the moment.
Stewart’s been a constant fixture in the underground scene since the creation of Xiu Xiu. He’s experienced the ups and downs of the industry and is very familiar with how things work. He released his eighth studio LP last month, titled Always (Polyvinyl / Bella Union). Like his previous work, the album features many extreme moments that people experience throughout their lives, capturing those moments within a few minutes and exploding them into the ears of listeners.
If Xiu Xiu were to emerge today in the indie scene, in a world where there’s a new “cool” band every month, Xiu Xiu would be huge. Journalists would hype his ability to article his emotion and undying effort to perform. There’s really no band that can manage Stewart’s on- and off-stage work. But Xiu Xiu is not a buzz band. Xiu Xiu is your old friend who you meet up with at the bar a couple times a year, who reminds you that good music does exist, and that this industry isn’t so dreadful after all.
THE BOMBER JACKET went to Xiu Xiu’s show in Berlin during his current European tour. Check out the clips below: