Quantcast
XIXA
       ARTIST SITE 

 
 
The New Southwest is a raw, mystical place. A land of sun-bleached rock and crusty, windswept desert blues. Magick runs deep in the earth here, a sense of the macabre too. Scoundrels and coyotes roam free, howling at the moon, as a seductive, psychedelic rhythm echoes over the horizon. XIXA, Tucson’s dark, dusty gothic overlords, have their genesis here; it has nurtured them, and it is home. It is also the setting for Genesis, the stunning new album that sees the band delve even deeper into their roots and give voice to their most primal instincts.

 By turns trippy and devilish, like a jam band getting high on Diá de Los Muertos, XIXA have always been uniquely attuned to the desert and their Latin influences. Combining gritty guitars, the bumping grind of Peruvian chicha, and dark, swirling psych-rock into a mesmerizing stew, the guitar-slinging six-piece have spent years exploring this sonic territory. “We live and breathe this landscape,” says Gabriel Sullivan, who shares lead vocals and lead guitar alongside Brian Lopez. “So with these songs we let loose, and went as far into that world as we could.”

 Genesis is a visceral listen, and very much formed by aesthetics. It’s also transportive; entire worlds can be painted with Lopez and Sullivan’s voices and lyrical content. Edgar Allan Poe, 70s Spaghetti Westerns, and Narco cumbia are all influences; so too are chicha legends Los Shapis. A sense of foreboding hangs over the ten tracks, of danger foretold. All of this lends the music a sombre mood and gives it an edge, as if some unseen menace lurks in the shadows.

 But these songs also represent something else. They are the distillation of everything that makes XIXA who they are and informed by the band’s rich history as songwriters and storytellers. Rhythmically complex, and laced with timeless melodies, Genesis is by turns catchy, mysterious, and intense. Sullivan sings like Leonard Cohen re-imagined as a desert outlaw, and many tracks have a widescreen, cinematic feel – like Ennio Morricone infused with an inky gothic horror.

Opener ‘Thine Is The Kingdom’ – a rollicking stomp in 5/4 time, complete with epic, whammy pedal riff – sets the scene perfectly, the pretty melody juxtaposed with lyrics that speak of escape and a sense of danger. That mood is repeated on the ominous ‘Genesis of Gaea’, the lead single and a track described by the duo as a darker take on Italian spaghetti westerns. Blending elements of psychedelica and acoustic instruments, it is a soaring, widescreen delight, Sullivan’s growling narrator the perfect foil for another killer riff.

The band’s love and respect for Narco cumbia, and legendary Peruvian bands like Los Shapis, runs deep through Genesis, and never more so than on ‘Eclipse’. “XIXA in all its glory,” says Sullivan. “Pure crunchy, sand-covered, sun-baked psych cumbia.” With a chorus that’s an homage to Los Shapis, it’s another tale of thieves and villains, curses, and final reckonings; “Please, just please / Bury me deep” implore the song’s several protagonists.

‘May They Call Us Home’ covers similar ground, that “home” being a mystical desert landscape. “That’s us tipping our hat to the Peruvian chicha Gods,” says Lopez of the distinctly Andean influence that shines through. With a gorgeous opening that’s pure Morricone, the song – sung entirely in Spanish – breaks out into a gallop, the beat sounding like a posse of horsemen galloping through the dusk.

Having collaborated with Algerian Tuareg desert rock quintet Imarhan once before, on Bloodlines’ ‘World Goes Away’, they turn up again here on ‘Eve Of Agnes’, a swirling, mystical romp concerning a fearsome femme fatale who’ll “Cut her teeth with the heat / That burns from your ashes”. It is a stark, vivid image, as is that conjured by ‘Soma’, a track documenting the effects of addiction to the titular drug. “The ground is slowly sinking”, sings Lopez over woozy, sickly guitars. “The sky is slowly caving in”.

 That air of haunting desolation is accentuated by neat details throughout; the wobbly intro of ‘Soma’, their instantly recognizable single coil guitar tones, and the ominous chanting of Greenland’s Eskimo Children’s Choir. The latter appear twice, closing out the Lost Boys-inspired ‘Land Where We Lie’, and album closer ‘Feat of Ascension’, a poised, slow-burn anthem that explodes into an epic psych freak-out. It is as far out as XIXA has ever gone and represents the ultimate desert trip.

The New Southwest is a raw, mystical place. A land of sun-bleached rock and crusty, windswept desert blues. Magick runs deep in the earth here, a sense of the macabre too. Scoundrels and coyotes roam free, howling at the moon, as a seductive, psychedelic rhythm echoes over the horizon. XIXA, Tucson’s dark, dusty gothic overlords, have their genesis here; it has nurtured them, and it is home. It is also the setting for Genesis, the stunning new album that sees the band delve even deeper into their roots and give voice to their most primal instincts.

 By turns trippy and devilish, like a jam band getting high on Diá de Los Muertos, XIXA have always been uniquely attuned to the desert and their Latin influences. Combining gritty guitars, the bumping grind of Peruvian chicha, and dark, swirling psych-rock into a mesmerizing stew, the guitar-slinging six-piece have spent years exploring this sonic territory. “We live and breathe this landscape,” says Gabriel Sullivan, who shares lead vocals and lead guitar alongside Brian Lopez. “So with these songs we let loose, and went as far into that world as we could.”

 Genesis is a visceral listen, and very much formed by aesthetics. It’s also transportive; entire worlds can be painted with Lopez and Sullivan’s voices and lyrical content. Edgar Allan Poe, 70s Spaghetti Westerns, and Narco cumbia are all influences; so too are chicha legends Los Shapis. A sense of foreboding hangs over the ten tracks, of danger foretold. All of this lends the music a sombre mood and gives it an edge, as if some unseen menace lurks in the shadows.

 But these songs also represent something else. They are the distillation of everything that makes XIXA who they are and informed by the band’s rich history as songwriters and storytellers. Rhythmically complex, and laced with timeless melodies, Genesis is by turns catchy, mysterious, and intense. Sullivan sings like Leonard Cohen re-imagined as a desert outlaw, and many tracks have a widescreen, cinematic feel – like Ennio Morricone infused with an inky gothic horror.

Opener ‘Thine Is The Kingdom’ – a rollicking stomp in 5/4 time, complete with epic, whammy pedal riff – sets the scene perfectly, the pretty melody juxtaposed with lyrics that speak of escape and a sense of danger. That mood is repeated on the ominous ‘Genesis of Gaea’, the lead single and a track described by the duo as a darker take on Italian spaghetti westerns. Blending elements of psychedelica and acoustic instruments, it is a soaring, widescreen delight, Sullivan’s growling narrator the perfect foil for another killer riff.

The band’s love and respect for Narco cumbia, and legendary Peruvian bands like Los Shapis, runs deep through Genesis, and never more so than on ‘Eclipse’. “XIXA in all its glory,” says Sullivan. “Pure crunchy, sand-covered, sun-baked psych cumbia.” With a chorus that’s an homage to Los Shapis, it’s another tale of thieves and villains, curses, and final reckonings; “Please, just please / Bury me deep” implore the song’s several protagonists.

‘May They Call Us Home’ covers similar ground, that “home” being a mystical desert landscape. “That’s us tipping our hat to the Peruvian chicha Gods,” says Lopez of the distinctly Andean influence that shines through. With a gorgeous opening that’s pure Morricone, the song – sung entirely in Spanish – breaks out into a gallop, the beat sounding like a posse of horsemen galloping through the dusk.

Having collaborated with Algerian Tuareg desert rock quintet Imarhan once before, on Bloodlines’ ‘World Goes Away’, they turn up again here on ‘Eve Of Agnes’, a swirling, mystical romp concerning a fearsome femme fatale who’ll “Cut her teeth with the heat / That burns from your ashes”. It is a stark, vivid image, as is that conjured by ‘Soma’, a track documenting the effects of addiction to the titular drug. “The ground is slowly sinking”, sings Lopez over woozy, sickly guitars. “The sky is slowly caving in”.

 That air of haunting desolation is accentuated by neat details throughout; the wobbly intro of ‘Soma’, their instantly recognizable single coil guitar tones, and the ominous chanting of Greenland’s Eskimo Children’s Choir. The latter appear twice, closing out the Lost Boys-inspired ‘Land Where We Lie’, and album closer ‘Feat of Ascension’, a poised, slow-burn anthem that explodes into an epic psych freak-out. It is as far out as XIXA has ever gone and represents the ultimate desert trip.