Daily Archives: January 19, 2009

Favorites: Fabulous Muscles

g22557icfkw

 

The first time I saw Xiu Xiu was in a less than ideal setting: early afternoon at a summer music festival.  This is not music built for plus-100 degree heat with the sun melting your ass.  Though, for me at least and on this one day, the oppressive thickness of the Chicago air somehow met the pitch black hymns halfway.  Dancing to dehydration made sense when Out Hud was onstage, but to bake during Xiu Xiu is a bit much.  I just didn’t care.  This was my band.   

 

 

I managed to worm my way to the front of the crowd, within an arm’s reach of the steel barricade, where stood one of the sweatiest and dorkiest fans I had seen that day.  He shouted at Jamie Stewart, not to express affection, but to voice-crackle a “Hey Jamie!  Throw me one of those water bottles!”.  This is the point where I learned just how athletically inept most Xiu Xiu fans must be as I turned my head to watch Dungen (I think) wrap up their set on the other stage, idiotically placing faith in this guy’s anti-Jerry Riceness.  The water bottle crashed into my shoulder like a scud missile.  Or like a water bottle.  Or like a mixed metaphor. 

 

Fast forward a few months to another Xiu XIu show, this time in Fayetteville, which I was supposed to attend.  I was unable to make it, so Sarah explained my situation to J. Stewart himself, intoning that I was a super fan and devastated by my absence.  And that he once hit me with a water bottle.  He wrote a note apologizing for the incident, giving me permission to hurl a fire extinguisher at him the next time we met.  The next time I saw him was in Oklahoma City.  He passed in front of me, our eyes briefly locked, but even if I had my extinguisher with me, I’m pretty sure I would’ve declared a cease fire.  I hang on to that note to this day in the knowledge that it means as much to me as a John Lennon autograph would to most people.

 

I look forward to each Xiu Xiu split, each 7”, each album, with the same anticipation people look forward to a new season of “Lost”, even with the understanding that they may never top “Fabulous Muscles” in overall personal importance.  The catharsis of Jamie Stewart’s lyrics got me through some rough patches in college, and while I love all of Xiu Xiu’s albums (plus his pre-Xiu Xiu band Ten in the Swear Jar), this is the band’s most successful melding of Dennis Cooper/Harmony Korine/Todd Solondz-level shock horror to pure pop epiphany.  In 2004 I was well aware that I would never comprehend the American mainstream way of life, but I felt okay with that disconnect the first time I pulled through the Wal-Mart parking lot listening to “I Love the Valley OH!” with my windows down. 

 

“Clowne Towne”

 

 

“Crank Heart”

 

 

“Fabulous Muscles”

 

Advertisements

A Great Conspiracy

Declined to their own rubric,

overreaching, overriding, reclining

in no-brainers,

joint-strike borders;

divining biblical no-fly zones

wrong-headed.

Oppressed by philosophical incest

and snacking on corn syrup passages

of annexed text

 

As leaves fall,

temperatures lower,

belly fat is increased:

padding for pudding.

Democratic credentials

turned obsolete

by evangelicals in Idaho,

in Wyoming, North Dakota,

with bubblegum brains and licorice fingers,

thumbing noses out of habit,

beating breasts like rabid baboons;

red asses raised like flags.

 

Sometimes life is an exhibition game

played by blind quarterbacks,

and millions of birds suicide bomb

the ocean playing field of Boise State

or the dusty floor of Palestine.

 

But after all: trust not your feelings,

trust only what is thought for you

by used car salesmen posing

as god’s henchmen,

selling eight passenger yaks

or cardboard Silverados:

high-ho, indeed!

 

Remember when John Wayne ethnic-cleansed

the crusty Injuns,

and hold aloft your touchdown

paws.

Chris