The fastest show XBXRX played was 30 seconds, followed by a trip to the emergency room in Austin, Texas. Usually their shows last up to 30 minutes—which is easily long enough.

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Sixth in Sixes is the Bay Area quartet's first full-length since their 2000 debut, the Steve Albini–produced Gop Ist Minee. It features 18 songs and lasts just under 26 minutes. Sure, it blisters. Sure, it's frantic. Songs are over in the time it takes you to spit out their titles. The band dresses in modernist, post-Devo uniforms. It's like the Locust's preapocalyptic electron rays, only put together by a bunch of kids who are only now pushing 20. The music delves and rolls around with shredding abandon in a post-hardcore experimental world inhabited by Wolf Eyes, Melt-Banana, and Lightning Bolt. This record is best not listened to alone but experienced in claustrophobic company—in a dank basement with a tumble of fists and friends all piling in on top of your sweaty, mangled body, with your volume control turned up way past 10.

You see, XBXRX understand the main purposes of rock 'n' roll: spontaneity, entertainment, loudness, and obliqueness. In doing so, they recall the manic musical mayhem of my personal favourites, the Mae Shi. XBXRX have opened shows for Sonic Youth, Unwound, and Deerhoof... What else would you expect with a pedigree like this?

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"Stay delusional, become numb, endless compromise," they scream on the twisted, invigorating, cathartic "Self Concept." "Become bones, not eating right, losing body tone..."

XBXRX began life in 1998, when, aged between 13 and 15, they stole their bass-player's mother's van, demolished guitars, keyboards, and drums across the U.S. over a space of 30 tours, and visited pretty much every hospital wing across the country, lost in music and the groove and the immediacy of the moment. This album is a continuation of this momentum: It is too difficult to separate one track from the next ("song" is too strong a word), the music and noise and catharsis blur into one glorious, flashing, electric whole.

editor@thestranger.com

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