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This is the second record from Quix*o*tic, which includes Orthrelm's Mick Barr, Mira Billotte, and her sister, D.C.'s Original R.G. Christina Billotte, who used to sing and play guitar in the bands Autoclave and Slant 6. Those bands ruled due to Christina's guitar style (all angles and iron) and vocal style (husky and cryptic, like marbles rolling over her vocal cords). The ideas behind Quix*o*tic are interesting--spare, tough guitar melodies similar to obscure '50s cowboy and surf, plus some Yma Sumac--and, with a dose of the traditional Billotte punk, it seems as mysteriously creepy as sepia photos. (Quix*o*tic have been reading the magazine Cool and Strange Music.) Not the newest sound, but one that's employed very rarely. Maybe it's the scary cover photo, but in context, Mira and Christina's vocals are haunting, and tuff in a burlesque sorta way. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
Splendid Ezine 8/05/02
First impressions often deceive, and a glance at the cover of Quix*o*tic's latest led me to believe I was dealing with some fairly dark folks. I imagined the members of Quix*o*tic with their black cloaks drawn, lurking across an inky black midnight into an empty recording studio to concoct this off-balance stew of garage, punk and soul. A touch of Frog's Breath, a pinch of oak bark, the venom of a snake and a few hairs plucked from the unexpecting production team (including Fugazi's Guy Picciotto): Mortal Mirror's opening moments reinforce this sense of doom and gloom. But at heart, this Washington, DC three-piece has about as much to do with goth-punk innovation as the Cramps had to do with the Lennon-McCartney school of songwriting. Quix*o*tic strike me as a threesome content to plunder the discographies of their influences, only to re-present them in a fashion that often pits the tendencies of one genre against another -- with brilliant, original results.
There's a Zappa-meets-"Boris The Spider" vibe on album opener "Ice Cream Sundae" ("Ice cream sundae I've seen you / Looking good the other day / Something cold and hot at the same time / Time to go and meet you") that works really well, combining a deliberate drum beat with Christina Billotte's deadpan, almost somnambulant vocal delivery. The group moves on to cherish its heritage in the simple, propulsive rhythms of The Velvet Underground and the haunting Joplin-esque vocals exemplified by tracks such as "Anonymous Face" -- Mira Billotte bleeds into the microphone with a soulfulness that transcends the sister-duo's occasionally less than pitch-perfect delivery. Their duet on a cover of Billy Stewart's "Sitting In The Park" is an out-and-out pop confection, and one of the vocalists' strongest performances. In typical Quix*o*tic fashion, however, follow-up selection "Forget To Sing" is a study in contrasts, opening with a guitar lead that sounds like the bastard son of Joe Strummer and Dick Dale, quickly developing into an up-tempo garage ballad showcasing Christina's ability as an engaging front-person. Album closer "Lord Of This World" -- yes, the Black Sabbath epic from Master of Reality -- is Mira's final chance to shine, and Mick Barr's distorted bass line recalls Geezer Butler's original with a swampy-ness accentuated by the lo-fi, DIY nature of the recording.
Add a touch of vinyl hiss and the occasional skip, and Mortal Mirror becomes the sort of prize that most of us look forward to discovering at yard sales and church bazaars. Much like the critically neglected output of Canada's Elevator (ex-Eric's Trip), Quix*o*tic's sound is seemingly trapped in an era that had its day in the spotlight decades ago. That Barr and the Billotte sisters have seen fit to resurrect it for this engaging Kill Rock Stars debut should do something to dissuade generalized accounts of their "goth-punk sound", shifting the focus to their command of disparate underground musical styles and a cooler-than-you delivery that fits perfectly with the VU-fied inflections found throughout the disc. No witches here. -- Mike BakerPost reviewer Mark Jenkins says of Quix*o*tic's album "Night for Day": Singer-guitarist Christina Billotte used to front Slant 6, an all-female trio whose first album was one of Dischord's most promising '90s debuts. Her new group, Quix*o*tic, augments her old one's Wire-y style with some near-goth minor-key material, a male vocalist (bassist Brendan Majewski) and a pair of soulful songs that emphasize the harmonies of Billotte and her sister Mira, the band's drummer. The effect is schiz*o*phrenic. The most jarring juxtaposition on the trio's "Night for Day" comes when the squalling "Witch Hazel" yields to a minimalist rendition of the Miracles' 1962 hit, "What's So Good About Goodbye." Both tracks are engaging on their own terms, yet they suggest that a synthesis would be more interesting. If Quix*o*tic can give its brooding songs (sample titles: "We Are Alone," "Dead Trees") the snap of classic Smokey Robinson, its second album should be a lot more distinctive than this one.
Featuring former Slant 6 guitarist/vocalist Christina Billotte,
Quix*o*tic strips down said band's minimalist garage blueprint a step further into
haunting, loose, Cramps-ian terrain, with starkly simple melodies and Billotte's wispy
vocals at the forefront Highly suggested for fans of Slant 6, the Cramps, and
Satan's Pilgrims.--Nathan T. Birk
Ixor Stix, POB 21811, Washington, DC 20009
With just guitar, bass, and drums, the Quix*O*Tic style on "Night for Day" is varied. On "Make the Ghoul Girls Cry," the wandering guitar lines remind me of Sleater-Kinney, but with lighter vocals and a more '60s feel. "We Are Alone" sounds like it could be on Jefferson Airplane's "Surrealistic Pillow," "Perfume for Plastic Flowers" is a mostly punk song. What remains constant throughout most of these tracks are the very light vocals of Christina and Mira Billotte and the heavy, wandering guitar lines. Fortunately, producers Guy Piciotto (Fugazi) and Craig Bowen keep the mix hard and edgy and don't spoil it by burying the guitars or bass. "Night for Day" doesn't have any major standouts, but it's a solid album and should get some airplay on alternative rock, punk, and guitar rock stations.--Hobby Broadcasting Reviews
If you mix in the right circles --or, possibly, wrong circles, perception pending-- the werk of Christina Billotte (Chris-teen-a Bil-lot-té) is held in sublime regard. Billotte started off life at the start of the last decade in a DC rockband called Autoclave, who hold hands as being they who gave both her and the utterly-graceful Mary Timony (Helium, o'course) to the world. Then, for this girl, came Slant 6, another Dischord outing that nailed some rather splendid mood-driven anglo-punk-reverent nighttime rock-trio-ism,ne'erseen in finer form than on the second record of their illustrious two-lp career,Inzombia.So, anyway, such days have long passed. But, after the passing of such days, in the year called 1999, Billotte surfaced from the black lagoon as the leader of a new rock pack, called Quix*o*tic. An early single gave way to a full-length, issued just as the year wound up to zeros. Night For Day, such an album (such an album recorded by cats called Craig Bowen and Guy [that's "Gee" kids] Picciotto), stays fairly consistent with its fairly impressive lineage. Even if it do unfold a little more slowly (as you kinda expect), Quix*o*tic stretch their limbs with more skeletally-bareboned non-rocking rock-n-roll. More simple rock-trio-ism that sits in some kind of strange un-genre of unfettered note-playing-guitar/loud-drum/shifting-bass type sound. And, the while, most of the while, Billotte lets peel with that deep and buttery voice, singing those spat-out words-and-works that sketch all kinds of classic-latenight-tale thoughts in charcoal. When, on the charming first-up tune, that girl does sing "and you say you're sad, but maybe your love's just bad, make all the ghoul girls cry"; it illustrates the same thoughts of horror-film/horror-in-love that were all over the record Inzombia. And, by the time the record rolls-credits on a take on traditional/religious ode I Am The Light Of The World --Billotte's torch-clutching voice kept warm over a burning beatnik pushbeat-- this latest full-length chapter of Billotte-ism is just as convincing as that last one.
Quix*o*tic s/t 7" EP (IX 002)
here's some info on Quix*o*tic; they are a really good
band. hope you're
Submitted by mkrshn on 16-Nov-1999;
QUIX-O-TIC Night for Day CD Ixor Stix IS3
Surefire Distribution, inc.
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