Taking their name from the 1998 Chinese film Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl, post-punk throwbacks Xiu Xiu were formed in San Jose, CA, by Cory McCullough, Yvonne Chen (publisher of the indie zine Zum), Lauren Andrews, and Jamie Stewart.
Prior to the 2002 release of their first full-length album, Knife Play, the band made appearances on numerous compilations. Shortly after Knife Play's release, Springman released a 10" collaboration between Xiu Xiu and Deerhoof. The band issued the Chapel of the Chimes EP in 2002. The following year, A Promise and the limited-edition, mostly acoustic Fag Patrol EP arrived, while early 2004 saw the release of their most accessible work to date, Fabulous Muscles.
Xiu Xiu kept busy in 2005 with the full-length La Forêt and a split single with Devendra Banhart. The group's fifth album, The Air Force, arrived in fall 2006. An EP of covers, Tu Mi Piaci, was also released that year.