Leave it to Brooklyn's Barbès label to continue its quest for discovering genre-bending bands.
The latest addition to their impressive roster hails far from their Park Slope headquarters.
Tucson, to be precise.
Sextet XIXA is the brainchild of Brian Lopez and Gabriel Sullivan, two musicians who have been part of the Arizona music scene for years, both as members of Howe Gelb's Giant Sand and collaborating with the likes of Sergio Mendoza y La Orkesta and Calexico.
It was through this collaboration that Sullivan and Lopez became captivated with Peruvian chicha. They started a band called Chicha Dust, and later renamed it XIXA (which they pronounce "sixa," not "chicha").
XIXA recently released an excellent EP titled Shift and Shadow, four tracks sung in English that serve as a strong statement of purpose, jumping between elements of space indie rock and chicha. But where the Amazonian variation of cumbia gives the genre an exuberant, almost humid flavor, XIXA's take on the genre gets a drier, desertic, spacious feel. And the result is stunning, especially on the title track.
XIXA's debut album, Bloodlines, will be released on February 26th. In the meantime, and for a limited time you can stream XIXA's debut EP, Shift and Shadow here.