Local Wire

Xiu Xiu

Long before they entrenched themselves in a spat rivaling the East Coast/West Coast rivalry of Biggie and Tupac, former Smiths front man Morrissey and fellow sad sot Robert Smith of The Cure somehow produced an offspring, a sullen young'un named Jamie Stewart. Details are sketchy as to how said progeny came about, but during a tumultuously traumatic childhood filled with dark angst, sexual obsession and neurosis, Stewart displayed a penchant for pained pining like his papas. Okay, we're kidding about all this, but you can imagine such a situation when listening to Stewart's hypnotic wailing for his indie/emo/post-punk outfit Xiu Xiu. Against a soundscape of drawn-out, warbling synth and guitar, he delivers catchy, melodic, sometimes caterwaul-filled songs about isolation, pain and love, before breaking into a near whisper during the requiem for a gay lover murdered by his beefcake boyfriend in "Fabulous Muscles," the title track to Xiu Xiu's most recent LP: "Cremate me after you cum on my lips/Honey boy/Place my ashes in a vase/Beneath your workout bench." Ol' Moz and Bob would be proud.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.