Event Category: Event
Wednesday, May 15th, 2019
$15 ADV / $17 DOS / ALL AGES / BALLROOM
Xiu Xiu began in 2002 to try to make music for people opposed to and opposed by the horror and disquiet of life.
Throughout this time they have been called “self flagellating,” “harsh,” “brutal,” “shocking,” and “perverse;” but also “genius,” “brilliant,” “unique,” “imaginative,” and “luminous.”
The group draws upon musical traditions of British post punk, 20th century classical, industrial noise, experimental and traditional percussion musics, 50s rock and roll, field recordings, queer dance pop and kosmische. Xiu Xiu has toured relentlessly all over the world. They have shared stages with Swans, Sun Ra Arkestra, Ben Frost, Zola Jesus, Deerhoof, Prurient, Liars, Matmos, Faust, Grouper, Genesis P Orridge, Angelo Badalamenti and thousands, perhaps billions, of other unstoppable musical fairies, dignitaries and saints. The past three years have been more productive than ever. Xiu Xiu released their 9th studio album (Angel Guts: Red Classroom), collaborated with Mitski, Merzbow, Eugene Robinson, Mantra Percussion, and Lawrence English and recorded reinterpretations of the music of Nina Simone (NINA), American religious songs (Unclouded Sky), Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and the music of Twin Peaks (Plays The Music of Twin Peaks, which entered the Billboard charts twice in May and September). In this period Xiu Xiu also became involved in the art and film world. They created museum installations with Danh Vo, David Horvitz and Phil Collins and are currently scoring films for John Cameron Mitchell, Dennis Cooper and Susanne Sachsse. Next year will see the insanely anticipated release of FORGET, Xiu Xiu’s 10th studio album. It features contributions from Charlemagne Palestine, Vaginal Crème Davis, Kristof Hahn, Enyce Smith, Greg Saunier and Peter Sotos. It was produced by John Congleton (St. Vincent, Brian Wilson, Bill Callahan, Sleater Kinney, Chelsea Wolfe).
Xiu Xiu is Shayna Dunkelman, Angela Seo and Jamie Stewart. Each member, a respected and extraordinary artist in their right, together have never played with more intensity, dedication and doomy love/hate.
It’s getting dark out there. People are seething. And when it all comes crashing down, this is the sound you’ll hear. Ghosts, the second release from Cleveland’s Hiram-Maxim, is a whorl of punishing noise and pounding beats, dark textures, bleak visions and howls of pain.
Fred Gunn’s vocals are spoken and screamed, accusations and absolutions that take in personal suffering and state-sponsored acts of oppression. Lisa Miralia’s processed vocals and DIY electronics conjure up synthetic squalls and clouds of distortion, warped and abrasive textures that obscure the dark, bloozy groove laid down by guitarist Dave Taha and drummer John Panza. And guest guitarist Oliver Ackermann, of A Place to Bury Strangers, adds sonic broken glass to the opener, “Behind the Blindfold” and the title track, “Ghosts”.
Hiram-Maxim recorded Ghosts with Martin Bisi at his legendary BC Studio in Brooklyn, with some portions captured at John Delzoppo’s Cleveland studio, Negative Space. Clocking in at 42 minutes, the record’s seven tracks are as sprawling and expansive as those on the band’s self-titled debut. That 2014 LP drew praise from outlets like Vice and Decibel. But Ghosts is a step forward, its songs more focused and more vicious.
Gunn did time in punk bands. Miralia is an established figure on the noise scene (her rig, featured in Gear Gods, is the envy of pedal geeks everywhere). Taha, whose previous band, Filmstrip, dealt in far-sunnier hooks, counts Elizabeth Cotten and Thurston Moore among his influences. Panza, meanwhile, plays with reckless abandon in several bands despite having only one lung. He lost the other to a bout with malignant pleural mesothelioma. He was lucky to survive.
The band takes its name from the Anglo-American inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim. He’s best known for the Maxim gun, an ur-machine gun that helped turn Europe into an open-air slaughterhouse in World War I. It was an appropriate choice.
“[Hiram-Maxim’s] ‘Visceral’ builds into an apocalyptic fervor before dissipating into a cloudy haze and ending before you’ve had your fill. Thankfully there’s a whole album of these brutal-but-beautiful goodies.” – Vice
“[Aqualamb’s] first release of 2015 is a murky psychedelic venture into a darkness that immediately seems familiar to the Ummagumma days of Pink Floyd… The album’s congruence of spacious ambience and hissing electronics makes for the kind of pulsing abrasion that’s immediately and infectiously rewarding.” – Steel for Brains
“More like an experiment in the deconstruction of sound than an album in the traditional sense… In another universe, one might call it punk rock. Here, it is gleefully and thoroughly fucked up.” – The Obelisk
“Pink Floyd-esque progressive rock nuances and Oxbow-style weirdness… Noisy, psychedelic and just plain odd.” – American Aftermath
“Spread over four tracks, the music on Hiram-Maxim (Aqualamb) sounds mostly improvised, giving it a genuine feeling of unease as the four band members craft sounds that could be the soundtrack to undergoing a particularly intense k-hole whilst locked in a Salvador Dali museum overnight. The loose, free-form approach often gives way to violent bursts of noise such as on the brutally harsh ‘Can’t Stop’ which sounds as if Throbbing Gristle had been force-fed mescaline.” – Ghost Cult Magazine