KILL ROCK STARS
Xiu Xiu used to be a challenging, uncomfortable listening experience. Scattered moments of mutilated beauty made the awkward rape-incest-weeping-electronic ride all worth it. We caught the last real glimmer of that on The Air Force, only to see Jamie Stewart expand into a full band writing (gasp) rock songs on Women As Lovers. He has continued down this road on Dear God, and expanded his sound greatly. Whereas he used to sound like a naked broken victim on the floor strumming a guitar with his only unbroken finger, his songs now sound, well, big. Huge. This album contains what most reviewers would call “musical maturity.” He emerges from his five-album hole of awkward electronics (while still incorporating them), still embracing the starkness of the band’s attitude with the title, and uses more texture, percussion and orchestra than your body has room for. Our indie superhero has grown up to develop a full studio-as-instrument palette, and I thank Jebus for it. He deserves it more than most.