BUSAN, South Korea – The Basement in PNU has been rolling in international indie acts one after the other this year giving Busan a taste of the world outside in a wild assortment of forms. Concluding its recent trio of eclectic-multiform bands is Xiu Xiu. Straight from San Jose, California, fronted by Jamie Stewart and collaboraters Angela Seo and Ches Smith, Xiu Xiu is possibly the biggest act to take center stage in Busan over the last few years.
With a mix of edgy, anxious emotion with a foundational pop sensibility, Xiu Xiu manages to create gripping pieces of music that could be classified under punk, 80’s electro, modern classical, techno and under some brackets of folk.
Having formed the band back in 2000, Stewart set out to create melodic and confrontational noise music, an underground non-conformist genre that seemed to rebel and spit in the face of most of the music of the time. Listening to Stewart’s haunting and troubled voice you can hear echoes of the Joy Division’s late singer – Ian Curtis with that hardened, hollow voice which shivers up spines and vibrates against your fillings.
Pitchfork.com wrote of the band:
“Xiu Xiu are unique in their enjoyment of linear mutilation, and their ability to fuse it with musical experimentation, rather than making it their raison d’etre. Jamie Stewart’s level of self-obsession is either laughable or erotically voyeuristic; it’s a question of how far you’re willing to go.”
After seven studio albums they have found a more well-rounded sound, but without taking out any of the bloodshed and anarchy that was so prominent in their earlier albums. Their latest album, Dear God, I Hate Myself, released in Feb 2010, saw Stewart pair up with Caralee McElroy and her ghostly voice that lurks and springs about whilst Stewart 's preaching and prophesies take it to a whole new level–especially on the album title track.
With this seventh album constant followers of the band will be pleased to know that the majority of lyrics focus on such light-hearted subjects as death, suicide, AIDS as well as famine, homosexuality and deprivation. It’s like a terrifying nightmare you want to turn away, but secretly there is something lurking underneath that pushes you to go a little further within the vibe.
This is Xiu Xiu’s first night in Korea. They will be heading to Daegu and Seoul, thereafter continuing their world tour on to Eastern Europe.
Tickets for the event are 20,000 and can be picked up at either Blowfish in Songjeong or at the Basement in PNU. There are 1000 tickets available, but as this is the biggest band to hit Busan in a long while, it’s worth getting one now. Busan's own, Lhasa, will open the show.