Sunday, August 31, 2014

Xiu Xiu / David Horvitz

Xiu Xiu / David Horvitz
dnp 024
Los Angeles, USA: Doggpony Records, 2006
7” 33 1/3 rpm record
Edition of 600

Based on the way that this picture disc is advertised, it was seemingly designed as a collaboration between artist David Horwitz and California band Xiu Xiu. Websites for both are included on the enclosed postcard, which begins: “this is dip 024. music by xiu xiu. photographs by david horvitz."

Xiu Xiu (pronounced 'shoe shoe') takes its name from the 1998 directorial debut of Chinese actress Joan Chen, Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl, about a 15 year old traveling the countryside of Tibet. The band was formed in 2000 by singer-songwriter Jamie Stewart, who remains the only constant member of the group (and who plays virtually all of the instruments on this recording).

Their breakthrough came in 2003, with the release of their second album A Promise. The disc was given 8.6/10 on and gained notoriety for its cover image (taken by Stewart) of a nude young, gay Vietnamese prostitute. The record included a stripped down version of Tracy Chapman’s hit Fast Car, which also led to increased attention. Subsequently, the band has covered songs by Bauhaus, Big Star, Bjork, David Bowie, New Order, Nina Simone, The Smiths and Throwing Muses. The group's discography lists fifteen albums (including two compilations and a live disc) and twenty-five singles and EPs (some of them split with other artists, such as Devendra Banhart).

Artist David Horvitz, known for his artists' books and mail art projects, has reportedly served as the group's tour manager, and previously published a book of polaroids of the band. He also plays koto on the b-side track Saint Pedro Glue Stick (the only performer other than Stewart).

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