Influential avant-garde pop provocateurs XIU XIU return with a remarkable new album, “ALWAYS”, released 27th February on Bella Union records. Click to check out the album’s first single and opening track “Hi” -
This will be followed by a UK tour in March, dates / info below ::
Monday 12 March – BRISTOL – The Fleece (£9)
Tuesday 13 March – MANCHESTER – The Ruby Lounge (£9)
Wednesday 14 March – GLASGOW – The Captain’s Rest (£9)
Thursday 15 March – BRIGHTON – Sticky Mikes Frog Bar (£10)
Friday 16 March – LONDON – Rich Mix (£12.50)
The creation of singer/songwriter Jamie Stewart, for the last 10 years Xiu Xiu have hurled a succession of relentlessly uncompromising records to a cult of devotees that values intensely emotional honesty and genuinely challenging originality above all else. Evolving from obsessions with modern classical percussion and orchestration, experimental electronics, a life long dedication to post-punk and the dance floor, Xiu Xiu’s sound is, to say the very least, utterly distinctive and compelling.
At its core, Always symbolizes the mutual camaraderie with and deep dedication to each person who has internalized Xiu Xiu’s work and throughout the past ten years made the band a part of their lives. The origin of these intense bonds is frontman Jamie Stewart who’s fearless lyrics have given voice to life’s most untouchable and taboo subjects.
Stewart’s willingness to broach any subject finds him confronting both the topical and the intimate in equally meaningful ways: “Factory Girls” chronicles the sexual objectification and desperate existence of Chinese female, migrant workers, whilst “Joey’s Song” seeks to bring comfort to Stewart’s brother in the aftermath of a family tragedy.
But while such writing is worthy of admiration, Always’ most arresting moments lie in its sonic innovation – transforming avant popelements from an undertone into a bright black focal point while adding newinfluences such a choral music, kraut rock and field recordings. That such dazzling music can so seamlessly blend with such undeniably dark content is but one of the ways Always succeeds in accentuating the intent that is central to all Xiu Xiu creates.
“Always” was produced by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier and mixed by John Congleton (Antony and the Johnsons, Explosions In The Sky, the Roots).
Laura Veirs Tumble Bee UK Takeover…
Laura Veirs will be performing across the UK in a few weeks in support of her latest record, Tumble Bee. The dates include a free performance at the V&A Museum of Childhood, and support sets from Alessi’s Ark.
29.01 – London, Museum of Childhood (4pm, Free)
30.01 – London, Queen Elizabeth Hall (w/Alessi’s Ark)
31.01 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms (w/Alessi’s Ark)
01.02 – Salford, The Lowry (w/Alessi’s Ark)
02.02 – Gateshead, Sage Hall 2 (w/Alessi’s Ark)
03.02 -Glasgow, Celtic Connections
04.02 – MAC, Birmingham (3.30pm, Free)
04.02 – The Library, Birmigham (w/Alessi’s Ark)
On the weekend of the 25th-27th May 2012 at Alexandra Palace, London, All Tomorrow’s Parties present the second UK I’ll Be Your Mirror event. Tickets are on sale now via ATPFestival.com.
We went along last year to see Beach House perform, and this year we shall certainly be heading back – Dirty Three will perform on Saturday 26th of May on a day curated by Mogwai. More information can be found here.
Dirty Three will release their first album in 6 years, Toward The Low Sun, in March 2012.
We here at Bella Union are very big fans of all the work the folks at End of the Road Festival do, so the news of a new festival called ‘No Direction Home’ is very exciting, especially when lots of Bella Union bands are selected to play…
Today ‘No Direction Home’ announced its first group of artists with Andrew Bird, Dirty Three, The Low Anthem, Lanterns on the Lake and Veronica Falls among these. The festival will take place in the grounds of Welbeck Abbey, on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest from 8th – 10th June next year.
Until 31st December tickets for the festival will be £89 (direct from the festival) and you can pick these up here.
Toward The Low Sun is the product of the most ceaselessly creative period of the band’s career. In the 6 year’s since the release of their previous album “Cinder”, Jim White, Mick Turner and Warren Ellis have been relentlessly creating music in different permutations and locations around the globe. The artists they have performed and recorded with is testament to the high regard in which they are held. Warren resides in Paris, though is regularly to be found touring with the Bad Seeds and Grinderman or working with Nick Cave on soundtracks for such films as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Proposition and The Road. Jim is based out of Brooklyn but endlessly tours the world, recording and/or performing with Cat Power, Bonnie Prince Billy, Nina Nastasia and PJ Harvey, whilst Mick lives in Melbourne where he has developed a fine reputation as a visual artist and released the Blue Trees album alongside the occasional Tren Brothers release.
However, even amidst this frantic activity and incessant creativity a return to the mothership was inevitable. “Toward the Low Sun” is a cacophonyic explosion of influences and attitude that has the energy and urgency of a first release. There is an energy and a raw excitement evident from the first electrifying opening moments through to the album’s finale. In Warren’s words, “Dirty Three has always been about the way we play together and feed off each other. We wanted this one to be a return to the more improvised and instinctive approach of the earlier recordings”. And indeed Toward The Low Sun sounds like a first ever recording, a punk avant-garde art-jazz record! And for all their incredible music of the past, the Dirty Three have never seemed more relevant. Live they remain a force unto themselves. Women faint and men weep openly.
Don’t shade your eyes… Look Toward the Low Sun and you will know once again the burn of the Dirty Three!
Way back in the spring Fleet Foxes visited the Maida Vale studios to record a session for Zane Lowe. The result? A wonderful rendition of much of ‘Helplessness Blues’ and from this ‘The Shrine/An Argument’ proved a real stand-out. So, a little while later, we decided to put this fine song on to wax. ‘The Shrine/An Argument’ comes with ‘Blue Spotted Tail’ (Live From BBC) and album opener ‘Montezuma’ and you can purchase this now over at the Bella Union store.
Watch Sean Pecknold’s animation film for the album track below:
It has been quite the year for Veronica Falls, after releasing their self-titled debut in October the band featured in the top 10 of Rough Trade shops ‘albums of the year’ poll as well as featuring on the cover of both The Fly Magazine and Loud & Quiet. The band are set to continue such form in 2012 and have just announced a string of dates throughout Europe and UK. All details below…
5 – FEIERWERK, Munich tickets
6 – BRUT, Vienna tickets
7 – HAU 2, Berlin tickets
12 – Rotown, Rotterdam tickets
13 – Eurosonic, Gronigen tickets
14 – Ekko, Utrecht tickets
27 – Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich tickets
28 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds tickets
8 – Leaf, Liverpool tickets
9 – Deaf Institute, Manchester tickets
10 – Stereo, Glasgow tickets
11 – Stereo, York tickets
13 – Brighton, Haunt tickets
14 – Scala, London tickets
19 – AB, Brussels tickets
20 – Lagerhaus, Bremen tickets
21 – Molotow, Hamburg tickets
23 – KB18, Copenhagen tickets
25 – Henriksberg, Gothenberg tickets
26 – Bla, Oslo tickets
28 – Faust, Hannover tickets
29 – Melin, Stuttgart
30 – Plastic, Milan tickets
31 – Moon Club, Venice tickets
2 – Mascotte, Zurich tickets
3 – Les Sonic, Lyon tickets
4 – Les Trinitaires, Metz tickets
5 – La Fleche D’or, Paris tickets
31 – 2 June – Primavera, Barcelona tickets
7 – 10 – Primavera, Porto tickets
Having released their summery new album “The Errant Charm” back in June on Bella Union records, VETIVER will be bringing their sunny west-coast sounds to the UK in December… Andy Cabic and co have been supporting label-mates Fleet Foxes throughout Europe over the past few weeks and will end this tour in the UK with a headline show at The Dingwalls in London on Monday 5th December. Details below…