Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Feb 22nd 2010 3:00PM by Jason S Lipshutz
"I listen to them on the radio, but I don't really have any idea what any of the songs are called," Stewart tells Spinner. "I just love how they're completely hook-laden and structured like pop songs."
Set for release Tuesday, Feb. 23, on Kill Rock Stars, Xiu Xiu's seventh album 'Dear God, I Hate Myself' is full of the band's signature offbeat instrumentation and Stewart's quivering vocals, but the arrangements aim for the catchiness Stewart has grown to appreciate. Songs like 'Chocolate Makes You Happy' recall the explosive choruses of 2004 breakout album 'Fabulous Muscles,' while 'Secret Motel' features fast-paced Game Boy blips and synth lines. Recorded in Oakland, Calif. and Durham, N.C., 'Dear God''s sound was inspired by Morrissey's sugary 2009 album, 'Years of Refusal.'
"That record is just a lot of fast pop songs. I've never done anything like that -- my albums are usually half pop and half experimental music," says Stewart. "This sounds silly, but this record was my experiment in non-experimentation."
Stewart recruited Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier to produce and multi-instrumentalist Angela Seo to make up for the recent departure of longtime band collaborator Caralee McElroy. Xiu Xiu ended up recording an entire album worth of material before scrapping it due to "unthoughtful songwriting" and starting work on what eventually became 'Dear God, I Hate Myself.'
As provocative as the album title is -- Stewart says that it refers to his past psychological struggles, and has "pissed some people off" -- it is not nearly as edgy as a marketing strategy the band cooked up for the release. Twenty-one copies of the special edition of 'Dear God' came with chocolate and a handmade T-shirt with "Xiu Xiu for Life" written on the front -- in real human blood.
Stewart wasn't surprised when the shirts, which were made with the blood of the band members, sold out immediately. "It was partly an art project and partly a way to say 'thank you' to the fans," he says.
Xiu Xiu will play select dates in the UK before kicking off a US tour with support from Tune-Yards and Noveller on March 5. Although he is excited to take the trek overseas to places like China and Romania later this year, Stewart is approaching the tour cautiously.
"Some crazy things have happened on our tours," he says. "Being on tour is really intense and you have no idea what's going to happen, but that's part of the appeal."