Xiu Xiu
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Xiu Xiu has always straddled the line between noise and pop. They've covered Nick Cave, Rihanna, and "Under Pressure" with Michael Gira (Swans). They've collaborated with Merzbow, Deerhoof, Devendra Banhart, Dirty Beaches, Grouper, and more. They've done an album of Nina Simone covers and reinterpreted the Twin Peaks soundtrack. They've even composed songs with a Nintendo DS. If you're unfamiliar with their work, they basically do everything, they always make it sound like Xiu Xiu, and I find that admirable. I'd say this new record Forget is up there with Fabulous Muscles as the best place to start with Xiu Xiu. "Wondering" is one of the most anthemic and joyful sounding songs I've ever heard from Xiu Xiu, complete with massed vocals on the hook and an unplaceable high-pitched wailing over the top that remind me of ""Heroes"" by Bowie. My other favorite is "Get Up", a slow burn ballad about musical instruments falling on you face, and in which singer Jamie Steward shifts fluidly between his multiple singing styles: sensitive, dramatic, whispery, shouty, etc. I never thought I'd hear rapped vocals on a Xiu Xiu record, but track one starts with them (not FCC clean), and the album ends with a lengthy poem read by punk singer/drag artist Vaginal Davis. Like all Xiu Xiu albums Forget is lyrically transgressive and the music can be incredibly dark and overbearing, but the hooks and the sonic invention make the journey worth taking even if those other elements would turn you away. Give them a chance and you'll open yourself to a musical world you never knew existed.

Sounds Like: 
Future Islands
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Sounds Like: 
Dirty Beaches
Recommended Tracks: 
3 Wondering: Joyful and anthemic synth pop, a "banger" in the parlance of our times.
4 Get Up: Slow and pretty, then it builds into a massive crescendo. When Stewart shouts "RISE FROM THE DEAD!" thrills me to no end.
Andrew Boring.
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