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Noise-pop provocateurs Xiu Xiu have announced their newest album, FORGET, due out February 24th on Polyvinyl. Produced by John Congleton (Blondie, Sigur Ros, and many more), FORGET is Xiu Xius most direct engagement with pop music to date, drawing on classic synth pop, early rock n roll, and more avant-garde forms in equal measure. Xiu Xiu has shared the lead single Wondering, a song buoyed by bouncing rhythms and bright synths that belie a dark undercurrent of noise that anchors the song. Hear it below.
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FORGET was recorded during a period of epic productivity for Xiu Xiu. While writing FORGET, they released the lauded Plays the Music of Twin Peaks, collaborated with Mitski on a song for an upcoming John Cameron Mitchell film, composed music for art installations by Danh Vo, recorded an album with Merzbow and scored an experimental reworking of the Mozart opera, The Magic Flute. All of this frantic, external activity lead to a softly damaged dreaminess and broadened intent that has not been heard before in other Xiu Xiu works.
The album was produced by John Congleton (Blondie, Sigur Ros), Greg Saunier of Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu’s own Angela Seo. It features guest appearances by fabled minimalist composer Charlemagne Palestine, LA Banjee Ball superstar commentator Enyce Smith, Swans guitar virtuoso Kristof Hahn and legendary drag artist and personal hero of Xiu Xiu, Vaginal Davis.
Standout track, Wondering is one of the catchiest boogie pop gems in the Xiu Xiu catalog, but like much of FORGET, it still bears an underlying tension that manifests differently in each piece. From the haunted guitar duet of “Petite”, the hilariously fraught lyrics of “Get Up,” the advanced industrial boxing match of “Jenny GoGo,” or the experimental goth explosion of “Faith, Torn Apart,” all the songs in their own way build to a roiling boil of a fate in vanishing.
The calligraphy on the cover translates literally to “we forget.” It bows to the universality of everything and everyone’s inevitable decline and foggy disappearance. Regarding the album title, Xiu Xiu singer Jamie Stewart said, To forget uncontrollably embraces the duality of human frailty. It is a rebirth in blanked out renewal but it also drowns and mutilates our attempt to hold on to what is dear. FORGET is both the palliative fade out of a traumatic past but also the trampling pain of a beautiful one’s decay.