While major-label bands can always look forward to the career-spanning greatest hits cash-in, bands that labor in the upper limits of indie-dom have their own brass ring to reach for: the remix album. Such an honor was bestowed upon emo/art-rock band Xiu Xiu with last year's Remixed and Covered, which found people like Kid606, Devendra Banhart and Marissa Nadler taking their shot at the band's fragile, loaded songs. Xiu Xiu is perfectly suited for this kind of treatment, because its minimalist electro glitches and spare guitars leave plenty of room for deconstruction and reinterpretation. Jamie Stewart's vocals remain claustrophobic, coy and utterly beguiling on this year's Women as Lovers, though dizzying rhythmic clusters and sideways noise-bursts push the intensity ever higher. The relatively faithful cover of "Under Pressure" acts as a release valve at the album's midpoint, as Stewart and Swans mastermind Michael Gira release their inner David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.
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