On December 2, Xiu Xiu will release Nina, a new collection comprising covers of the late jazz and blues icon Nina Simone. That’s the cover, above, as well as their take on 1958’s “Don’t Smoke in Bed”. The record will be out through Graveface.
Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart said he had the idea for the album after bonding with Michael Gira of Swans over a love for Simone. It left him with a desire to honor her legacy and challenge himself.
In a press release, he offered the following statement:
The idea came being back stage in Austin TX, opening for Swans and feeling like I did not play well. Michael Gira and I had the night before talked about our mutual love for Nina Simone and how her intensity and crazy political truthfulness always pushed us to try harder. After watching the Swans that night and knowing the difficult ups and downs of their history and now their epic and beautiful persistence, they made me want to try harder as well. Nina Simone’s singing is way over my head and while I was back stage feeling like I blew it that night, hearing the Swans be amazing and thinking of Nina made me want to not give up. The idea came from wanting to honor her, challenge myself to be better than I think I can be and to say thank you to music. Ches Smith is the only person I know who could understand this in his heart and also handle the technical side of fearlessly reorienting such wonderful music.