SV Presents: Xiu Xiu • Taffy Puller
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Xiu Xiu makes beautiful music for hard times. For nearly 20 years, the band has a track record of crafting experimental music for moments when life’s harsh realities meet its existential mysteries. On the latest album, Jamie Stewart explores a recent revelation and is reminded of the power of the band’s music to surprise and connect. Listening to the songs on OH NO, it is hard to feel truly alone. Instead, it is a reminder that even when we’re alone, we’re alone together.
OH NO, the group’s newest album, is an album of duets, with Stewart sharing the stage with an array of guests who have made an impact on him personally and musically. This is the first Xiu Xiu album where every song spotlights Jamie Stewart and a collaborator. The album features artists across the musical spectrum, including Sharon Van Etten, Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr, Grouper’s Liz Harris, Alice Bag, Chelsea Wolfe, Owen Pallet, and Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr., all drift into Xiu Xiu’s distinctive soundworld.
The album was born out of anguish and isolation, but exists as it does because of a profound rediscovery of community and friendship. It is the sound of finding one’s place in the world after the destructive powers of jealousy and mistrust make any map seemingly unreadable.
Xiu Xiu have been called “self flagellating”, “harsh”, “brutal”, “shocking” and “perverse” but also “genius”, “brilliant”, “unique”, “imaginative” and “luminous.”
The band is Angela Seo and Jamie Stewart.
Drummer Jon Mueller and guitarist Chris Rosenau became friends in the early 1990s and have been playing together in bands and projects ever since. Taffy Puller is one of those projects. A duo started in the summer of 2005 with a set of unplanned and unrehearsed improvisations, Jon and Chris found themselves unexpectedly embracing the most frenetic and textural areas of their abilities. Taffy Puller has only played a handful of times since 2005, but each instance has embraced the DNA from the original show to explore similar spaces of energy and texture through volume and improvisation.