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OH NO

by Xiu Xiu

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amycatass
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amycatass You Xiu still got it Favorite track: I Dream of Someone Else Entirely.
Grant Donaldson
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Grant Donaldson Interesting mix of genres from collaborations. A Bottle of Rum might be one of the best Xiu XIu songs so far Favorite track: A Bottle of Rum.
Josh Linnen
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Josh Linnen Xiu Xiu! They're back! I'm an absolute fanboy for Jamie and Angela's music, and this record is no exception. I must admit, I was a little skeptical of the duet-based angle, but goddamn this record rules.

Xiu Xiu returning to a more "accessible" sound, like on Forget or maybe even Dear God..., but still retaining some of the wilder elements of Basket of Fruit or Angel Guts. I'm sure this would make an incredible intro to the band. Favorite track: It Bothers Me All The Time.
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1.
What were you doing there? So un-anxious to be liked Maybe because you were tired And the world was in your way I had walked them home My only friend, my only love There were none like them None, none and none Rough Dreams More than enough dreams Rough dreams N’er to rest, n’er to be In all, or all or at all N’er to cease, n’er to breathe Roughened Dreams Prelude to defeat I have only ever been special to you You were so much more than only special to me It’s not having something evil endure As it is never having something good The only years that meant a thing Bewilder every and all days The flip of two ugly, useless, purposeless cards Guide me to walk o’er the dune To dig up your Rumpus Room Without any questions You were to end at a horrible end Without, withouts Nor a cloud in the sky
2.
There you were, then there you weren’t Unable to be unsure Then unable to be And I cannot resist Staring into your face Thinking, God what have I done And the litany of unacceptable kisses And I cannot resist The fruits of passion, such a hassle to clean up Two idiots, unbored with love And I cannot resist You’d prefer you had A routine Line of mouth but not me You’d rather you had Everyday Nostril shapes but not me Bong bing bonk-o bung A head rolling down the stairs Bing bong bonk-o bung Here is hoping the booze give you a wild sleep And that your mysteriousness-ess Remain More hot than sad I cannot resist
3.
The Grifters 03:12
To’ve writ the words, I promise you Then as a slur, I promise you To hold the gift of thoughtfulness To excuse the act of crushing it As you know I’ve been called a liar And so I know what I a lying person does To whisper self-servingly o’ thy tears Then to demoralize the one who took a chance on you To invite my heart to be sewn Then to BOO At it as a gag As you know I’ve been called a liar And so I know what I a lying person does But I’m also a friend unlike you And know what a friend will do too Too much has deflowered as more than enough To seize off of me The slip of self love
4.
For certain the world doesn’t need you Plants find you disgusting Their benevolent keeper They would grow from your cracking jaw if they could get there You think they are beautiful They are waiting for you to suffocate Goodbye for good A sandwich bag of barbiturates In an empty yogurt container Hidden beneath a little stack of bricks Beside the basement water heater Porcupine, Platypus, Pelican Octopus, Ortolan, Opossum Wish for nothing more than that you and you and you Were gone Goodbye for good The world doesn’t need you It could have been anything Without your curious fingers Caressing the meadow Patting the chaos Bergamot, Marigold, Daffodil Hyacinth, Dahlia, Woodland Phlox Azalea, Barrenwort, Goodbye for good
5.
OH NO 02:36
A waddle back to the pool A needling to Gouge the way you ride away From how you is 2 or 3, 4 or 6, 8 or 9, 10 or 12 Unloved is not a poor way to rebel OH NO Jiggle jiggle back off a mule A horsing to Fast and loose is one thing It is everything 10 or 12, 9 or 8, 6 or 5, 2 or 3 Despised is not a poor way for to be Mein Bikini liegt auf Tannennadeln Ich bin aufgewacht und hab mich über einen Spalt gehockt Ich hab gedrückt und gedrückt bis endlich ne Papierrolle mit Namen rauskam und da standen alle drauf, die an meiner Qual ihre Freude hatten Die Rolle hab ich an nem bewachsenen Felsen abgewischt und in das andere Loch gestopft, da wo’s hingehört Es hat überhaupt nicht wehgetan und wird niemals wehtun (My bikini lay on the pine needles I woke up and crouched over the pit I pushed and pushed until finally out came the scroll Up on which was listed the names of everyone who Had ever found joy in my distress Wiping it off on a lichen covered rock I crammed it right up the other hole where it belonged It didn’t hurt at all and it never will) Thanks a million, HEY YOU! Thanks a billion! OH NO
6.
Pills like a maracas You don’t care who hears It costs a lot, to feel this cuckoo What is a faith, without a crisis Just let them be, as a crisis No posture, bad posture Flaming Hot Cheetohs, Fuego Takis, Rumpus rumpus room room Black black blue blue blue blue Rumpus room Krampus room Electric black black black blue blue Don’t do it Accused of being pretty Never smile never cry Don’t do it Fingers castanet-ed Lovelessly chalked, lovelessly dried Don’t trip on your skates You cough a lot Don’t you want, to openly like me A coconut hits you on the head Old phone, needy and around Chili Fritos, Original Bugles Unwrap a cutieeeeeeeee Goodness Gracious vs. Gorgon Samuel Little vs. Little Debbie Wixaritari vs. Walker Comma Kara Krampus vs. Rumpus Room Rumpus Room
7.
Only a book from behind Pop pop pop from behind There is no ice in my drink Sitting on you to come back Least of them least of all you Dolly who happened to you? Renounce to renounce anything Candy is everything There is no ice in my drink Pop pop pop from behind Daddy, all at once Just for once Anywhere anyway Daddy, all of you Just for you You don’t want you to stop I don’t care Let him lay down in your lap Dampening everything A lap that is not meant for love Rake the nits out from your hair Pick it out, pick it There are no nits in my drink It’s good to see us again Everyone says you look good Grinding out everything good The distance between you and me You never made a record I liked A lap that was not meant for love Pop pop pop pop you and me All at once Just for once Any towne, any way Daddy all of you Just for you You don’t know what I want I don’t care
8.
A barbershop mushroom of blonded hair Two stomped upon children dressed up as parents All of us always humiliated All of us always tightened in fear All of us always a scream All of us always shy, shy, shy I dream of someone else entirely, I dream of someone else entirely You said to me, “When I think of this family and who is in it, how is that supposed to make me feel about myself?” A punishment bottle of hot sauce Complete and totaled insanity crudely assembling one life All of us always odd All of us always nite peoples All of us always quiet as a breech All of us always waiting awake I dream of someone else entirely, I dream of someone else entirely To’ve yelled in my little face, “It sounds phony when you say ‘I love you mom!’” All of us always whipsawed All of us always bewitched by shade All of us always dis-considered All of us always together alone Burst apart by the knuckles of jockeys and merchant seaman I dream of someone else entirely
9.
(lyrics by Robert Smith)
10.
So they may be glued Marrow to marrow, cheek to cheek The hound’s leg broken across Lashed to shatter… but unleashed A braid, uh-huh, of his hair-brained-ed hair A red pepper, the jar, yeast Black flame lit to top Lashed to shatter but uh-huh unleashed Why protect the person who hurt you? Why so they can do it again? Morrigan - repel, warp, release, dinge Send back the wrong heaped over me To him Run out cartoonish oblivion Fundamental sorrow to bequeath Purposely made to unfit Lashed to shatter but unleashed Candyland toward candyland Minnie Mouse leap! You have set to a-wavering a thoughtless mind… Lashed to shatter… ya da ya da Send back the wrong heaped over me To you know who… A classic screw!
11.
Rats are loyal to the Earth Dung beetles are loyal to the Earth You are less than the rat And rats will eat anything Children and dogs Unable unsure unhappy ungood Wherever it is, it bothers me all the time Whomever it is, it bothers me all the time Whichever it is, it bothers me all the time Whatever it is, it bothers me all the time Cries of freedom, cries of pain Nothing ever free, nothing free of pain Caracaras are loyal to the Earth Coconut crabs are loyal to the Earth But you are less than Than a crab Not fine enough to delite In the glaucous field A knife, a fork, a bottle, a cork Cries of freedom, cries of pain Everything is free, everything is pain
12.
Getting used to battery, Getting used to getting through it Consequence of no consequence If any calm, a calm despair Each nite is stupid Callous, severe Each nite is out of control Brutal and cruel Headphones turned up Cuckoo and bright Scream into the flickering void Black lipstick, no eyebrows Black pharmacy hair, no safe place to stay You’ve tried to run before And you will try again He is not what you are His life is not the end Caring not for thorns But the thorns are always there Wail as you lead the way Maculate to immaculate Each day, ludicrous Cuckoo and bright Each day preposterous rot Brutal and cruel Volca turned up Callous, severe Riot into to glittering space Black trench coat, no bus pass Black pointed shoes, no safe place to stay You’ve tried to run before You will try again This is not what you are This life is not the end
13.
Knock Out 02:56
Knock out, a knock out Fouled tomato at the gate Knock out, a knock out Why did I go out, hey hey Knock out, a knock out Wrists affixed to the stake Knock out, a knock out Incredible to love you Eyes, out a cage Frock, divorcee Thighs, disarray Light black, all the way Knock out, a knock out No matter what I take Knock out, a knock out When did you get out, hey hey Knock out, a knock out To be fleeing unrestrained Knock out, a knock out Inconsiderate to love you Eyes, out a cage Frock, divorcee Thighs, disarray Light black, all the way The rosette spoonbill flying pink Into a yellowed tangle of the cypress dome Killing a scorpion with an orthopedic tennis shoe Against your hotel room tile A crude and inaccurate drawing of Your feet and ankle and ankle brace Shaking up and chucking bottles of Vincentka Off the balcony at a burning star
14.
Run away, get away, Roberta Disobey? Obey? Curare, curare To claim… what? Unashamed of pain, a bottle of rum In the ways of a dream Meaningless to believe In a rage as a habit Oh that is were a dream It was nice, when you were nice, Roberta Tonite and today, San Josie, San Jose Rebuff… whom? Ricochet the pain, a bottle of rum
15.
ANTS 00:15
Little ants, take a chance When you dance It could be the last dance you ever do It could be the last dance you ever do!

about

For nearly two decades, Xiu Xiu has made music for the moments when life’s harsh realities meet its existential mysteries. A profound sense of emotional vulnerability weaves its way throughout the dozen albums the group has made, but also a spirit of openness and experimentalism as they peer into the sonic unknown, creating moments of catharsis by harnessing bursts of noise and other uncommon sounds. They have collaborated with confessional songwriters like Mitski and avant-garde composers like Charlemagne Palestine, displaying an uncommon fluency in both worlds. Singer and songwriter Jamie Stewart’s lyrics are often veiled in layers of metaphor, but his delivery always suggests urgency and intimacy, that there’s a universal truth that cuts deep. Xiu Xiu makes beautiful music for hard times.

OH NO, the group’s newest album, is an album of duets, with Stewart sharing the spotlight with an array of guests who have made an impact on him personally and musically. Sharon Van Etten’s tentative musings open the album, and from there vocalists from across the musical spectrum, including Circuit des Yeux’s Haley Fohr, Liz Harris, Alice Bag, Chelsea Wolfe, Owen Pallet, and Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr., all drift into Xiu Xiu’s distinctive soundworld. OH NO was written and recorded in Xiu Xiu’s home studio in Los Angeles throughout 2019 and 2020, and produced by Xiu Xiu’s Angela Seo, experimental musician Lawrence English, and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, who also sings on the incisive, noise-laden song “Goodbye For Good.” The album was born out of anguish and isolation, but exists as it does because of a profound rediscovery of community and friendship. It is the sound of finding one’s place in the world after the destructive powers of jealousy and mistrust make any map seemingly unreadable.

As Stewart began writing the songs that would end up on OH NO, a series of long-standing friendships and musical partnerships were abruptly and unilaterally severed after surprising acts of betrayal and disrespect. Stewart was thrown into a deep pit of dull isolation, unsure of how he got there. He cancelled tours, and spoke publicly about mental health issues that prompted his closing off to the world. But as he did, people he had not talked to in many years reached out offering support. Xiu Xiu fans wrote expressing how his music had helped them through their own personal tragedies, offering reciprocal care as he faced his own intense darknesses. In a way that was new and unfamiliar, there was a critical mass of people showing him how much he meant, and had always meant. Their words and actions provided the rope he needed to leave that pit behind and emerge with a newfound appreciation of those around him, and humanity at large.

And so Stewart, along with Seo, decided to have this collection of songs, many of which speak directly to the experience of dissolution and abandonment, as well as the shared reality of environmental devastation, represent the combined expressions of love and humanity that so effectively vanquished that darkness. There is no shortage of severity and shadow, this is a Xiu Xiu album after all, but here it is a burden shared. On “The Grifters,” Haley Fohr’s full-bodied wail bolsters Stewart’s wavering falsetto over stark acoustic guitar. Alice Bag’s defiant chiming of “Knock Out” provides a perfect foil to his tentative singing of “hey hey.” Chelsea Wolfe helps Stewart turn The Cure’s “One Hundred Years,” a favorite of his since high school, into pulsating industrial music that radiates intensity. And Liz Harris provides gorgeous beds of harmonizing vocals to “A Bottle of Rum,” one of the hookiest songs Stewart has ever written.

“The guest stars of OH NO reflect the types of people, and many of the very same, who helped remind me that the ratio of beautiful humans to shitty humans is more like 60/40 rather than what I have always assumed was 1/99,” says Stewart. “Although there is an ‘I HATE PEOPLE’ pin on my guitar strap, I hate them less now.” His revelation, and the music that has come out of it, is a reminder of the power of Xiu Xiu’s music to surprise and connect. Listening to the songs on OH NO, it is hard to feel truly alone. Instead, it is a reminder that even when we’re alone, we’re alone together.

credits

released March 26, 2021

All songs by Xiu Xiu, except for “One Hundred Years” by The Cure.

Instruments by:

Angus Andrew – vox
Alice Bag – vox
Jherek Bischoff – double bass
John Congleton – optigan, granular sampler
Zachary Dawes – double bass, bass guitar
Deb Demure – vox
Valerie Diaz – vox
Haley Fohr – vox
Liz Harris – vox
David Kendrick – drum kit, bongos, percussion
Charlie Looker – guitar, bass guitar
Jonathan Meiburg – vox, animal calls
Owen Pallett – vox
Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo – vox
Susanne Sachsse – vox
Gwendolyn Sanford – vox, experimental vox
Greg Saunier – vox, guitar, bass guitar, cymbals, synth, sampler
Angela Seo – vox, piano, harmonium, gongs, percussion, bass synth
Jamie Stewart – vox, bass guitar, guitar, organ, drum box, autoharp, viola, stylophone, xylophone, bajo quinto, mandolin,
synth, banjo, percussion, sampler
Twin Shadow – vox, saxophone
Sharon Van Etten – vox
Chelsea Wolfe – vox

Recorded by Jamie Stewart at NURSE.

Additional Recording by Angus Andrew, Paul Beauchamp, Ben Chisholm, Dirk Dresselhaus, Dan Duszynski, Haley Fohr, Justin Higgins, Brandon Jay, George Lewis Jr., Owen Pallett & Greg Saunier.

Produced by Lawrence English, Greg Saunier & Angela Seo.

Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music.

Design and Packaging Layout by Janelle Abad & Xiu Xiu.

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