If you happened to take a peak at Jay Som’s Spotify profile yesterday (like I did), you sure must’ve noticed a brand new fierce-but-sleek banger ready to stream. “Pirouette,” recorded during the sessions for the Oakland artist’s breakthrough 2017 album Everybody Works, has just become available on-line; the song will, however, drop physically on a 7-inch on January 26, together with “O.K., Meet Me Underwater” as its B-side.
For those of you who “only listen to techno rn” and haven’t left Berghain for more than a 7 a.m. midnight snack in the last two years, Jay Som (real name Melina Duterte) is a bad-ass multi-instrumentalist who’s been recording and producing professional-grade indie pop out of her own bedroom, just like that. Her last collection of beautifully-arranged, synth’n’guitar miniatures has even landed her a spot on best-of-2017 lists but such up-and-coming music blogs as Rolling Stone and NPR. Just like that.
Listen to “Pirouette” below, pre-order the tasty physical 7-inch here, and then check out Jay Som’s upcoming North American (and one Irish!) dates.
Just like that.
Pirouette 7-inch tracklisting:
02. O.K., Meet Me Underwater
Jay Som tour dates:
01.18-21.18 – Calgary, AB – Big Winter Classic
02.15.18 – Seattle, WA – Neumos
02.16.18 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
02.17.18 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom @ Sabertooth Micro Fest
02.19.18 – Reno, NV – The Holland Project
02.21.18 – San Jose, CA – The Ritz
02.22.18 – San Francisco, CA – Gray Area Art & Technology Theater @ Noise Pop
02.23.18 – Fresno, CA – Strummer’s
02.24.18 – Pomona, CA – The Glass House
06.15.18 – Dublin, Ireland – Donnybrook Stadium
Creative partnerships are a lot like beards of a comically absurd length: they need diligent maintenance. This is why, in what will no doubt go down in history as their single most predictable career move, Xiu Xiu have teamed up with (r) for a split 7-inch of ZZ Top covers. How utterly characteristic of them!
Xiu Xiu, doing the obvious, have covered “Sharp Dressed Man,” while (r) picked up the slack with “Gimme All Your Lovin.” In trying to explain why he would make such a conventional and easily foreseeable move, Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart revealed the origins of the project:
It took me a long time to come around to ZZ Top. When I was a kid I thought they were a joke band and their beards and campy sexuality freaked me out. Later on Xiu Xiu tours we would and still do always listen to the Black Flag tour diary “Get In The Van,” wherein Henry Rollins mentions playing ZZ Top to all the punks in England, telling them it was the new exploited record and watching them cry.
This was funny and I thought hmmm…
We were asked by the AV Club cover’s series to play a song from a list they had chosen. Everything on the list was a bunch of 90s RnB that I was never into or lame-o indie rock EXCEPT for “Sharp Dressed Man”…
Walking down the streets of Torino on tour and talking with dear friend and long time collaborator Fabrizio Palumbo of (r) and his husband Paul Beauchamp. I mentioned we were covering the song. They said very matter of factly, ‘Xiu Xiu as ZZ Top and (r) as ZZ Bottom. Let’s do a split 7 inch.’
And people say the creative process is hard?!
If you’re still interested in this long-prophesied split record, it’s out December 8 via Polyvinyl and available for pre-order here. Also be sure to check out the original A.V. Club video of Xiu Xiu’s cover, which sounds exactly like you expect it to, alongside (r)’s far less egregiously unsurprising cover below. Try harder next time, Xiu Xiu!!
Xiu Xiu / (r) split 7-inch tracklisting:
A: Xiu Xiu – “Sharp Dressed Man”
B: (r) – “Gimme All Your Lovin”
For fans of superior synth-pop scamps STRFKR, starved of new material since late-2016’s Being No One, Going Nowhere release, the collection Vault Vol. 1 was a welcome surprise when released at the beginning of this year. Then came a second collection of curios in July which raised temperatures to near-fever levels.
But now that word is out that a third volume of song sketches, demos, and partials — entitled, imaginatively enough, Vault Vol. 3 — is on its way in December and that a TON of tour dates have been announced that will keep the band on the road into 2018, well…fans must simply be shitting eggrolls with excitement (shitting eggrolls being the highest form of displayed elation).
Like two helpings of anything, you can never get enough of a good thing, making this extra third serving of STRFKR unreleased goodies a special treat. And the third volume, like the first two, won’t disappoint. Vault Vol. 3 is out December 1 on Polyvinyl and contains 19 collected bits ‘n’ pieces from main ‘FKR Joshua Hodges’ hard-drive.
To make sure all this material is best picked up off the cutting room floor rather than left there, the band has issued “Amiee,” which dances around with impish joy, and “Sensitive” (streaming down below), which is a short catchy blast that will have you up on your feet faster than could the best Wayfair commercial ever. Both tracks are what you have come to expect from the band and might hook some new ears too. Now, whether the rest of the tracks are up to the standard of these two teasers or of the “cough-caught-on-tape” or “cat-playing-with-Casio-presets” variety is a chance you’ll just have to take. So cross your FNGRS and pre-order Vault Vol. 3 (or a bundle of all three Vault volumes) here.
Vault Vol. 3 TRCKLSTNG:
01. Shot Gun
03. Gyrating Hips
05. Maria Reprise
06. Lazer Fight
07. Vincent’s Dancer
10. Lunar Sunrise
18. Do For You
11.18.17 – Dallas, TX – The Bomb Factory, Oaktopia Music & Arts
12.30.17 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom #
12.31.17 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom $
01.19.17 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
01.20.17 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
01.21.17 – Reno, NV – Cargo Concert Hall
01.22.17 – Chico, CA – Senator Theatre
01.23.17 – Eugene, OR – McDonald Theater
01.24.17 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
01.25.17 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
01.26.17 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
01.27.17 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
01.28.17 – Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep
01.30.17 – Albuquerque, NM – El Rey Theatre
01.31.17 – El Paso, TX – Tricky Falls
02.01.17 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
02.02.17 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
02.03.17 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
02.04.17 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
02.13.17 – Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall Ballroom
02.14.17 – Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall
02.15.17 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
02.16.17 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
02.17.17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
02.18.17 – Richmond, VA – The National
02.20.17 – Baltimore, MD – Ram’s Head Live
02.21.17 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
02.22.17 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
02.23.17 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
02.24.17 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
02.25.17 – Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall
02.26.17 – Syracuse, NY – Palace Theatre
02.27.17 – Millvale, PA – Mr. Smalls Theatre
02.28.17 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
04.21.17 – Honolulu, HI – The Republik
Their first one was the guitar album, the record that compounded Best Coast reverb with the verve of forgotten noisemakers Vivian Girls and the sloppy vulnerability of forsaken jangle-poppers The Replacements. Alvvays established the band as the latest in a long lineage of indie rock acts that understand the fleeting nature of the pop hook, but yield to it all the same. Singles like “Next of Kin” proved that Buffalo Springfield guitar work and Feelies chord progressions are an inspired combination. “Archie, Marry Me” reiterated that love songs sound more sincere when the addressee has a name. Although they arrived long après la lettre, Alvvays aligned themselves with some of indie pop’s most notable vanguards on that eponymous record.
But here on Antisocialites, in which the Ontarian dream-punks return for a second offering of the melody-conscious, vapor-bathed flights of fancy that garnered the group’s initial wave of online buzz, the guitars don’t behave so wantonly, nor are they as pronounced. Favoring less obtrusive arrangements wherein Molly Rankin’s and Alec O’Hanley’s co-dependent arpeggiation serves more as filigree than foundation, the band proffer a synth-heavier collection of songs that, while catchier and more self-aware, apostatize from the sun-faded guitar sound that buttressed Alvvays.
Cleaner though their sound may be, Alvvays refrain from compromising the sui generis worldview that informed the lyrics of Alvvays. Antisocialites engenders a world of misfit romantics whose understanding of destiny involves meeting their soulmates in chance encounters on the streets (“If I saw you on the street, would I have you in my dreams tonight?”). A world in which one’s blood type can preclude his or her compatibility with others (“Your Type”). A world in which Jim Reid can be an honest-to-god rock star, for Christ’s sake! But in spite of these indulgences in quaint fantasy, Rankin’s lyrics remain grounded by insight as she explores deteriorating relationships with deft demotics and a maturing sense of introspection.
Antisocialites may not be a manifest step forward for Alvvays. Quieter than its predecessor on many of the songs, the album sacrifices immediacy for Rankin’s occasionally mawkish but otherwise astute poetics. But the tradeoff is worth it, as Rankin, while reporting on failed romances from a firsthand perspective, arrives at the question we’d all benefit from asking ourselves: “When you get old and faded out, will you want your friends?”
Even though the Jamie Stewart-led project has been around more or less consistently for roughly 15 years now, these last couple of years have felt like a Xiu Xiu renaissance; and I personally look forward to watching the general public become increasingly squeamish as Xiu Xiu (both musically and as people) reach an unprecedented peak of international prominence. I mean, WHAT WILL HAPPEN when your typical mom and dad on good ol’ Main Street USA stumble upon lyrics recollecting “cum on my lips,” a poem conceived after collecting images of possibly-underage sex-workers? Other long-time Xiu Xiu fans and myself eagerly await the aural experience of one-thousand window shades being frantically closed nigh-simultaneously! And GUESS WHAT, mom n’ pop? Xiu Xiu are so coming to your town next.
No, seriously. They may actually be coming to your town next, given the North American tour that’s just been announced for August into September in support of FORGET (one of our favorite albums of 2017’s first quarter)…and don’t forget our whole Twin Peaks extravaganza that lasted for a week last month. Xiu Xiu clearly share our affinity for absurd storylines and eerie PNW settings.
Listen to FORGET in-full down below to help REMIND YOU to look at the subsequent list of dates.
Xiu Xiu do North America:
07.09.17 – Modena, Italy – Arti Vive Festival
08.26.17 – Los Angeles, CA – The Broad Museum
08.27.17 – Carlsbad, CA – Carlsbad Music Fest
09.02.17 – Aarhus, Denmark – Aarhus Festival @ VoxHall
09.09.17 – Guadalajara, Mexico – C3 Stage
09.10.17 – Mexico City, Mexico – Foro Indie Rocks!
09.15.17 – Washington, DC – Songbyrd
09.16.17 – Baltimore, MD – Windup Space
09.17-23.17 – Philadelphia, PA – FringeArts Festival
09.19.17 – Montreal, QC – La Vitrola
09.20.17 – Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle
09.21.17 – Portland, ME – Space Gallery
09.22.17 – Burlington, VT – TBD
09.23.17 – Brooklyn, NY – Villain