Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts : Red Classroom

Angel Guts : Red Classroom

Xiu Xiu

Available Formats No. of Tracks   Price Buy
12" Vinyl Album 14 tracks 14.99
Download Album (mp3) 14 tracks 7.99
Download Album (wav) 14 tracks 7.99
Download individual tracks   From £0.99

Description

Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts : Red Classroom

Having spent the previous four years living in North Carolina, primary songwriter Jamie Stewart relocated to Los Angeles, moving blindly into a neighbourhood whose notoriously dangerous reputation was unknown to him. A park divided among four gangs, a lake routinely dragged for bodies, a building wherein two infant skeletons were recently uncovered – the aura of his new home bleeds into every pore of the album, each lyric and note bearing traces of its essence: the terrible beauty, the despair, the violence, the humanity.

“I know to a degree I must have romanticized it,” Stewart admits, “But when it’s not safe to go out at night, what else can one do?” ‘Angel Guts: Red Classroom’ is not easy to digest.

The subject matter – racialized sex, double suicide, double penetration, criminality, fear of physical harm – is unsuitable for the faint of heart. In the wrong hands, such topics could be rendered as far-fetched fantasies. But Stewart’s evocative vocals lend his provocative lyrics the balance they need, grounding them in a stark realism that forces us to acknowledge their existence, even confront them (as discomforting as that is).

Recorded at Nurse (Stewart’s home studio) and producer John Congleton’s Elmwood studio in Dallas, Texas, and working with only analog synths, drum set and 1970′s analog drum machines, Xiu Xiu has never before sounded so focused, so captivating.

Reviews

Jamie Stewart is standing in your hallway with a knife in his neck, cutting his own head off. I know what you were thinking when you opened that front door: "Oh, that nice Xiu Xiu man's here with his new record!" So you let him in, didn't you? Popped the kettle on and hoped for a chat. And now the detached head of Jamie Stewart is lolling about on your new carpet, and you have no idea how to respond. It's singing a song called 'Black Dick', whose key hook is the strangled repetition of the word 'dick' over a four quid breakbeat and a squall of synths that sound like they hate each other. Good going.

I know you felt a bit safer around Xiu Xiu in recent years. I saw the way you danced nervously in your kitchen to 'Chocolate Makes You Happy', how you lit those scented candles and had a good cry to 'The Oldness'. You felt that Jamie was growing up with you, letting a little light in, getting five stars in the Independent. But that nuclear-winter howl opening up 'Angel Guts' isn't your mate, is it? Those bird-of-prey squawks hovering over your head on 'Lawrence Liquors' aren't there to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 'EL Naco's wedding bells don't seem to be giving way to a poignant reflection on ageing that we can all take to heart, only discordant drones that pin you to the bed. 'Cynthia's Unisex' is not going to lend itself to your next ukelele-only open mic night.

There is a little let up: 'Bitter Melon' gives you a few minutes off with warm pads and a camp, knowingly out-of-place calypso beat. It marks the only track on the record where Stewart really allows himself to sound pretty, where he briefly stops dredging the lake for bodies. And it's almost immediately cut to shreds by the funereal 'A Knife In The Sun'. You might even have a go at tapping your foot quite nicely to 'Stupid In The Dark's chorus, or let the big-drum march of 'Botanica de Los Angeles', with its drowned-at-birth guitar solo, slowly seep under your skin if you let it. But it'll only end in tears.

Angel Guts: Red Classroom is a reaction of a record that demands you stop enjoying Xiu Xiu, this instant. Like a couple of art-hounds happily guzzling Merlot in the shadow of a Francis Bacon triptych, a decade of exposure to Stewart's work can leave you almost numb to it. You become familiar with the horror, expect to feel uncomfortable, familiarise yourself with the artists' moves at a safe distance. And it's been made easier as the records themselves have become more accomplished.

'Angel Guts' operates a scorched-earth policy, reliant on little more than analog synths, outmoded drum machines and Stewart's voice at its most discomforting, his lyrics at their least sympathetic. This is a deliberate Difficult Listen, an Atrocity Exhibition, an Intense Humming Of Evil. If you've always been a Stewart-skeptic, there's a good chance you'll dismiss this as Super Hans conjuring a powerful sense of dread; if not, it's likely to genuinely unsettle.
Matthew Foster The Quietus

Tracklisting

12" Vinyl Album (BELLAV443)
  1. Xiu Xiu - Angel's Guts
  2. Xiu Xiu - Archie Fades
  3. Xiu Xiu - Stupid in the Dark
  4. Xiu Xiu - Lawrence Liquors
  5. Xiu Xiu - Black Dick
  6. Xiu Xiu - New Life Immigration
  7. Xiu Xiu - El Naco
  8. Xiu Xiu - Adult Friends
  9. Xiu Xiu - The Silver Platter
  10. Xiu Xiu - Bitter Melon
  11. Xiu Xiu - A Knife in the Sun
  12. Xiu Xiu - Cynthya's Unisex
  13. Xiu Xiu - Botanica de Los Angeles
  14. Xiu Xiu - Red Classroom
Download Album (BELLADIG443)
  1. Xiu Xiu - Angel's Guts
  2. Xiu Xiu - Archie Fades
  3. Xiu Xiu - Stupid in the Dark
  4. Xiu Xiu - Lawrence Liquors
  5. Xiu Xiu - Black Dick
  6. Xiu Xiu - New Life Immigration
  7. Xiu Xiu - El Naco
  8. Xiu Xiu - Adult Friends
  9. Xiu Xiu - The Silver Platter
  10. Xiu Xiu - Bitter Melon
  11. Xiu Xiu - A Knife in the Sun
  12. Xiu Xiu - Cynthya's Unisex
  13. Xiu Xiu - Botanica de Los Angeles
  14. Xiu Xiu - Red Classroom

mp3 downloads

Downloads

Track Number Track NameTrack Length Price Buy
1 Angel's Guts 3m 28s £0.99
2 Archie Fades 3m 45s £0.99
3 Stupid in the Dark 2m 50s £0.99
4 Lawrence Liquors 2m 59s £0.99
5 Black Dick 3m 43s £0.99
6 New Life Immigration 2m 47s £0.99
7 El Naco 3m 13s £0.99
8 Adult Friends 2m 23s £0.99
9 The Silver Platter 3m 39s £0.99
10 Bitter Melon 2m 55s £0.99
11 A Knife in the Sun 2m 55s £0.99
12 Cynthya's Unisex 4m 22s £0.99
13 Botanica de Los Angeles 3m 5s £0.99
14 Red Classroom 2m 27s £0.99
Entire MP3 Download Album (14 tracks) £7.99
MP3 format technical details
These mp3 tracks have been encoded with LAME providing you with a very rich listening experience. No DRM or copy protection is built in to the mp3s.

wav downloads

Downloads

Track Number Track NameTrack Length Price Buy
1 Angel's Guts 3m 28s £0.99
2 Archie Fades 3m 45s £0.99
3 Stupid in the Dark 2m 50s £0.99
4 Lawrence Liquors 2m 59s £0.99
5 Black Dick 3m 43s £0.99
6 New Life Immigration 2m 47s £0.99
7 El Naco 3m 13s £0.99
8 Adult Friends 2m 23s £0.99
9 The Silver Platter 3m 39s £0.99
10 Bitter Melon 2m 55s £0.99
11 A Knife in the Sun 2m 55s £0.99
12 Cynthya's Unisex 4m 22s £0.99
13 Botanica de Los Angeles 3m 5s £0.99
14 Red Classroom 2m 27s £0.99
Entire WAV Download Album (14 tracks) £7.99