Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #94 Xiu Xiu
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#94 Xiu Xiu
Xiu Xiu broke through to a larger audience in 2004 with the release of Fabulous Muscles, betterPropaganda's 96th best album of this decade. However, Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart had been fusing noise rock, punk, folk and, occasionally, contemporary classical music, since the beginning of the 2000's. Fueled by personal loss, emotional emptiness, and the desire to challenge social norms, you can hear Stewart's blood being shed, whether self-inflicted or cut by those around him, with each strained tenor note he sings.
Xiu Xiu's most definitive characteristics are unpredictability and defiance. It is never possible to predict Stewart's next brainchild, mainly because his music is inspired by the personal rollercoaster of his own life. Surging onto the indie art-rock scene, Xiu Xiu released Knife Play, a jumbled mélange of scattered folk, experimental classical arrangements, and ambient techno samples. Soon after their debut, Stewart was pummeled by the suicide of his father, which sparked the sparse acoustic ballads for their follow-up, A Promise. Then, we reach Stewart's masterpiece, Fabulous Muscles, a declaration of Xiu Xiu's mission, to challenge society's indifference for change and its tolerance for those who believe in dominance. Since then, Xiu Xiu has continuously reinvented his own sound, creating music that is as intense as it is inspiring.