You're wearing a Lance Armstrong bracelet, an old, tight sweater and have a degree in English literature. While you may be worthless as a human being, at the very least you sure know the depressed, emotionally unstable, white-guy music scene. And Xiu Xiu is too hip even for you.
Fronted by Jamie Stewart (7 Year Rabbit Cycle), Xiu Xiu plays the unpretentious equivalent of modern art-skilled instrumentation complemented by daily 10-hour practice sessions, emotional vocals, plenty of odd instruments and sounds all put together with a hint of modern electronica. They're sad about the state of the world around them, but they'd rather not lament. Instead, they create a new universe, one from which they freely comment on how we all screwed this one up. Still, they manage to use their frustration as a vehicle for discovering alternate sources of joy.
"I'm always really hesitant to say how people should interpret things," says an unassuming Stewart, when asked to elucidate Xiu Xiu's manifesto. "There have been a lot of songs I was a fan of as a kid, and when I found out what they meant for the artist they became hollow to me."
On their most recent album, Fabulous Muscles, Stewart dove into experimentation, meshing classical percussion with vocals and intermittent silence for a dramatic effect. The pauses draw you in, making the vocalist's personal experiences (which are, admittedly, pretty hairy) even more intimately visceral.
Fabulous Muscles is a personal manifesto for Stewart, who says he wrote 90 percent of the album. The band's next effort, La Folet (due July 12), will be their collaborative lament on a certain large, North American country the band feels is a bit fucked up. La Folet won't rage against the machine, Stewart explains, but it just might cry over it in an effort to short-circuit the current way it operates. Stewart, after all, is the sort of guy who "actually started to weep" when told that an old-growth forest near the band's Silicon Valley home had been destroyed.
"I could not believe that the small amount of money that people would make from that was worth destroying something that took 3,000 years to make," he says.
Xiu Xiu plays at the Che Café, 8 p.m. on March 5. $6. 858-534-2311.