Xiu Xiu Fag Patrol

[Free Porcupine Society; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: experimental rock, industrial pop-noise
Others: Throbbing Gristle, Skeletons, Mount Eerie, The Double, Cabaret Voltaire (early)

The other day I read an interview with Jamie Stewart discussing the inception of Xiu Xiu’s cover art for A Promise. After finding it to be a very strange story, I found myself pondering one question: Is Xiu Xiu for real? This is a question a lot of people ask when listening to the music of this California-based unit. Stewart, Xiu Xiu’s head honcho (no pun intended), is probably one of the most painful sounding lyricists to hit the scene in quite some time. Listening to him spill his insides out on tape has the bizarre ability to make me sick to my stomach. On some odd level, whether intended or not, we can probably all relate to the depressive emotions that are laid before us on any of Xiu Xiu’s albums. Maybe that’s part of the intrigue. The one thing that remains constant here is that Fag Patrol touches on aspects of both beauty and depression. It never really strolls too far from the basic ideas of their previous albums; however, this album in particular is a solo acoustic performance by Stewart. There’s an occasional interruption by the producer to either have Stewart start the recording over or slow down the pace of the song. Absent are the meandering noises that usually make their songs wreak havoc on one’s ears. It’s this abrasiveness that tends to bring their fans back for another ride. Contrary to this notion, though, the lo-fi quality of Fag Patrol makes it a good place to start for someone who might be considering getting into Xiu Xiu’s catalog. This is not their best work, and even though the lineup for the band is constantly changing, Fag Patrol lends itself well to the core of what the band is truly about: Jamie Stewart’s life experiences.

1. Helsabot
2. King Earth King Earth
3. 20,000 Deaths for Eidelyn Gonzalez, 20,000 Deaths for Jamie Peterson
4. Dr. Troll
5. Jennifer Lopez
6. Brooklyn Dodgers
7. Asleep
8. I Broke Up
9. Nieces Pieces

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