4

Xiu Xiu: Nina

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Xiu Xiu: Nina Like a horrendous and gruesome accident you pass on the expressway, listening to the Jamie Stewart's covers of Nina Simone's music is both repulsive and abhorrent, but ultimately impossible to escape.

Seems you just have to listen.

Stewart and his avant-garde group Xiu Xiu probably have never had their discs filed in the jazz section of a record store. They have covered music by The Smiths and David Bowie/Queen's "Under Pressure." Certainly, covering a legend invites judgement, but Stewart steers clear of direct imitation of Simone's voice, opting to capture only her emotion.

His breathy sung/spoken lyrics are often whispered into the microphone like a frail Leonard Cohen. "Don't Smoke In Bed," is teased out painfully over the arrangements of drummer Ches Smith. The session finds a Downtown cast of superstar talent. Mary Halvorson twirls her guitar pedal distortions as foil to the singer, accordionist Andrea Parkins supplies atmosphere, and the two saxophone back of Tim Berne and Tony Malaby insures the tunes will be packed with consequential sound.

Highlights include a rollicking version of "Flo Me La" with Smith hammering out a rock-slide of percussion over Parkins' electronics, a shuffle blues "Four Women" that triggers a violent implosion of sound, and the afro-pop musings of "See Line Woman."

Stewart's interpretation is painful, but it is that good kind of pain.

Track Listing: Don’t Smoke In Bed; Don’t Explain; Wild Is The Wind; Where Can I Go; See Line Woman; Just Say I Love Him; Four Woman; Pirate Jenny; You’d be So Nice; The Other Woman; Flo Me La.

Personnel: Tim Berne: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone; Tony Malaby: tenor saxophone; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Andrea Parkins: accordion, electronics, piano, Moog; Ches Smith: drums; Jamie Stewart: vocals.

Title: Nina | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Graveface Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Mingus, Mingus, Mingus" CD/LP/Track Review Mingus, Mingus, Mingus
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Eternally Even" CD/LP/Track Review Eternally Even
by Doug Collette
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Reach" CD/LP/Track Review Reach
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "We Drift Meridian" CD/LP/Track Review We Drift Meridian
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A." CD/LP/Track Review The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A.
by Paul Naser
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Reflections in Cosmo" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections in Cosmo
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 16, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.