Xiu Xiu covers Rihanna

As a clever if not strange B-side, queer fronted band Xiu Xiu released a rather eclectic redux of Rihanna’s hit “Only Girl (in the World).” I doubt it will help you get in the mood for her Friday show at AAC, but give it a listen. Singer Jamie Stewart, in strange ways, continues to prove his weird brilliance.

According to the press release, the cover “was inspired by a night at backlot Durham, N.C. lesbian bar Steele Blue—watching all the southern dykes go crazy on the dance floor when the song dropped. A dissonant string quartet backed by an undeniable dance beat, the gender-bend of the cover is furthered with a quote from Detroit Grand Pubahs’ song ‘Sandwiches’ — a song beloved by Stewart for its unintended gender screw and one that is just as filthy as Rihanna’s.”

The A-side “Daphny” depicts the true story of Stewart’s friend “who — following an arrest for shoplifting — was raped by an officer while in police custody. There is nothing to say about this that is not already reflected in the 7-inch’s cover title. The outro’s refrain ‘enjoy life, enjoy life, enjoy this life!’ is the back of a hand wiping away tears of hatred, fear, disbelief and stunned empathy; what else can one do but ‘take a photo of your friend vomiting on your head’? The song is an attempt to give support, to accuse and most of all to live in spite of life.”

“Daphny” is also the first song where new members Zac Pennington and Sam Mickens joined Stewart in writing a Xiu Xiu tune.

While I’m kinda fascinated by “Daphny,” I’m still making up my mind on the Rihanna cover. Listen to them here.

—  Rich Lopez