bella union

XIU XIU - always LP + CD

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At its core, Always symbolizes the mutual camaraderie with and deep dedication to each person who has internalized Xiu Xiu’s work, tattooed its name on their skin or soul, and throughout the past ten years made the band a part of their lives.

Those familiar with the band's work will take particular note of the times Jamie Stewart re-visits profoundly personal accounts from his own life -- most prominently on "Beauty Towne" (a not-so-uplifting postscript to the muddle of those depicted in "Clowne Towne" from 2004's Fabulous Muscles) and "Black Drum Machine" (which finishes the narrative of incest and molestation begun on "Black Keyboard" from 2008's Women as Lovers).

Always' most arresting moments lie in its sonic innovation -- transforming avant pop elements from an undertone into a bright black focal point while adding new influences such as choral music, kraut rock and animal field recordings.

Produced by Deerhoof's Greg Saunier (who also contributes drums and vocals to the album) and mixed by John Congleton (Antony and the Johnsons, Marylin Manson, the Roots) the album is positively vibrant.