The XX

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anyone else listening to them? probably the best new music i've heard all year. they describe their influences as everything from Aaliyah to Cocorosie, Rhianna to The Cure, Missy Elliott to The Chromatics and Mariah Carey to The Pixies which may sound a little pretentious but is pretty OTM.

first single "crystalised":

groovemaaan, Sunday, 16 August 2009 12:52 (fourteen years ago) link

full album stream!albumId=367943

piscesx, Sunday, 16 August 2009 13:58 (fourteen years ago) link

Don't get this band. They seem to have become this year's Token Indie Band for the dubstep crowd (exhibit A - The Lex likes them) but I thought the album was just blank and nothingy and a bit dull. Maybe I need to give it more time.

Matt DC, Sunday, 16 August 2009 14:05 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm really enjoying the record. I can hear some of the influences namechecked above for sure, but the minimalism reminds me of Young Marble Giants more than anything. Not musically, but in just how spare the arrangements are.

I also dig the way that their image seems completely incongruous with the music.

Barnaby, Hardly, Sunday, 16 August 2009 14:09 (fourteen years ago) link

this v good record am enjoying greatly

Roberto Spiralli, Sunday, 16 August 2009 14:19 (fourteen years ago) link

They sound like a slightly less dynamic Morcheeba. If I want moody poseurs playing emptily doomy music I'll stick with the new Horrors album I think.

DavidM, Sunday, 16 August 2009 15:08 (fourteen years ago) link

The male singer is a total snooze; he perks up when the girl joins in.

Anatomy of a Morbius (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 16 August 2009 15:10 (fourteen years ago) link

They're phenomenal live. They blew The Big Pink off stage in London a few months ago.

(Which, on reflection, isn't saying that much.)

Doran, Sunday, 16 August 2009 15:38 (fourteen years ago) link

the album's ok... gets old fast

fauxmarc, Sunday, 16 August 2009 15:55 (fourteen years ago) link

but the minimalism reminds me of Young Marble Giants more than anything

This is my favorite thing to use a reference as well.

That said, outside of "Crystalised" being one of my favorite songs of the year, I think the album is pretty boring.

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:25 (fourteen years ago) link

are these guys actually ok? whenever indie bands run thru their list of influences + it has stuff like aaliyah, missy &c then i start rolling my eyes. it's like myspace pages w/ crunk

this might be unfair

just sayin, Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:28 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah it's okay but where's the Aaliyah, Missy, and Mariah Carey? Maybe they should work on The Meters.

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:41 (fourteen years ago) link

Both of those singles sound incredibly boring to me. Certainly not hearing Missy or the Pixies

claws of jungle red (Stevie D), Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:42 (fourteen years ago) link

I can hear Pixies-lite...

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Listening to this just makes me want to listen to that live version of Gus Gus's "Believe" instead

claws of jungle red (Stevie D), Sunday, 16 August 2009 19:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Uh influences is just that, influences. Doesn't mean they will use the sound of mentioned band/artist. Which thank god they didn't do. I'd hate to hear Pixies mixed with Mariah. Love'em both but not at the same time.

Nathalie (stevienixed), Sunday, 16 August 2009 20:11 (fourteen years ago) link

"Uh" then how exactly are they influenced by them? And Strokes/Christina Aguilera worked so why not Pixies/Mariah?

Kevin John Bozelka, Sunday, 16 August 2009 20:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Personally I hear Xanax references

Nathalie (stevienixed), Sunday, 16 August 2009 20:18 (fourteen years ago) link

sounds like stripped down balearic tunes being packed in a form of soul ballad. 'shelter' is pretty great, till the moment one realise that it goes nowhere.

gwidon, Sunday, 16 August 2009 22:56 (fourteen years ago) link

never mind the balearics

damo tsu tsuki (r1o natsume), Sunday, 16 August 2009 22:58 (fourteen years ago) link

here's the XX

damo tsu tsuki (r1o natsume), Sunday, 16 August 2009 22:59 (fourteen years ago) link

wow "basic space" is really really good

geir ham, go (J0rdan S.), Monday, 17 August 2009 07:34 (fourteen years ago) link

this is the sort of minimalis indie that i can handle - everything is v confidently & carefully arranged. basically the complete opposite of micachu.

geir ham, go (J0rdan S.), Monday, 17 August 2009 07:35 (fourteen years ago) link

as previously mentioned, though, I feel like it goes nowhere. I keep waiting for the song to begin.

claws of jungle red (Stevie D), Monday, 17 August 2009 07:36 (fourteen years ago) link

because of the RIHANNA! MISSY! AALIYAH! name dropping i was all ready to hate on this like crazy but it really won me over real quick. "basic space" is the only one i've listened to so far but i really think it has a great sense of build, and they add on hooks as the song progresses (even into the final minute). i keep coming back to micachu, but i feel like that stuff just takes one or two ideas and plays it out all smashed together for three minutes with no real regard or care for 'proper' arrangement. ('proper' in the sense that it was well thought out not in the sense that there is an objectively 'proper' way to arrange a song.) (and this is not to say that all music needs to be properly and artfully arranged & planned out like a mansion is being built [altho i would say that i probs lean towards music that is made like that more often than not] but that i think with twee-leaning stuff like micachu the sloppiness & bareness can get really grating where something like, idk, early green day would not)

geir ham, go (J0rdan S.), Monday, 17 August 2009 07:47 (fourteen years ago) link

otoh "basic space" just has this sense of professionalism and knack for structure that i think is most prevalent in stuff by people like - GASP - the-dream & that's where i could see some r&b influences and it's v impressive

geir ham, go (J0rdan S.), Monday, 17 August 2009 07:49 (fourteen years ago) link

i'm really glad i got into them before i read any of the bio/influences stuff, which have...not very much to do w/their music. i like the stillness, the carefulness, the clean production and bare-bones arrangements. disagree that the songs go nowhere - as i remember there are some really great builds on the album. it's "moody" in the best sense. 'basic space' is prob my least favourite on the album (tho).

lex pretend, Monday, 17 August 2009 07:59 (fourteen years ago) link

aw fuck there's a micachu remix of "basic space"

geir ham, go (J0rdan S.), Monday, 17 August 2009 08:01 (fourteen years ago) link

i think i'll be fine w/never hearing that

lex pretend, Monday, 17 August 2009 08:02 (fourteen years ago) link

ok listening to this now. i love the combination of shoegazey ethereal harmonies with the steady bare-bones arrangements - the vocals are blurry but everything else is in such sharp focus. am reminded somewhat of the kills in their attitude to repetition.

lex pretend, Monday, 17 August 2009 08:06 (fourteen years ago) link

OOH they are playing london this week.

lex pretend, Monday, 17 August 2009 08:11 (fourteen years ago) link

I thoroughly enjoyed this when I gave it a listen the other week, but I can't say that I've been inspired to listen to it since. It was pleasant but there was something a little sterile about it. Geir-friendly, perhaps.

Sickamous (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 17 August 2009 08:12 (fourteen years ago) link

the difference between really liking this and finding it "pleasant but sterile" is in the margins i think

geir ham, go (J0rdan S.), Monday, 17 August 2009 08:15 (fourteen years ago) link

Wouldn't this be a lot better with only the girl singing ? The guy's voice sounds really dull. Nice production and some cool songs though.

J4mi3 H4rl3y (Snowballing), Monday, 17 August 2009 09:11 (fourteen years ago) link

'basic space' is prob my least favourite on the album (tho).

Mine too.

as previously mentioned, though, I feel like it goes nowhere.

That's the problem with a majority of the album. It sounds like they got bored with whatever idea they worked out and moved on to the next one. "Crystalised" is the only one, to me, that feels fully fleshed out (but I do love the instrumental "Intro" regardless).

Johnny Fever, Monday, 17 August 2009 10:10 (fourteen years ago) link

I only listened to the track on the Youtube video embedded above, having been enticed by the interesting set of quoted influences, but found it very tedious. I just don't want to hear songs with that kind of numbingly boring, uninspiring chord sequence or that tired-sounding vocal style. I never liked that style in the first place but it seems even worse now, being rehashed for the umpteenth time.

dubmill, Monday, 17 August 2009 11:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Relistening, "Basic Space" isn't terrible but still isn't my thing. Certainly doesn't "suck" though, and I give them mad props for doing something that really isn't being done atm. The sound quite mature for whatever age they look in these videos/pix.

claws of jungle red (Stevie D), Monday, 17 August 2009 15:42 (fourteen years ago) link

I am loving this. So nice and sparse, almost Young Marble Giants-ish in places.

Simon H., Monday, 17 August 2009 16:36 (fourteen years ago) link


Saw them on Friday at a free show in NYC, purely by accident. Liked them more than School of Seven Bells, also on the bill, FWIW.

British, sparing, sometimes melancholic. I might have too much of this stuff already. But maybe not.

Shh! It's NOT Me!, Monday, 17 August 2009 16:44 (fourteen years ago) link

almost Young Marble Giants-ish in places.

Argh, stop saying this. This is nothing like YMG.

DavidM, Monday, 17 August 2009 17:04 (fourteen years ago) link

Some of it kinda is.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 17 August 2009 17:05 (fourteen years ago) link

But not enough. Another friend says this sounds like the Vaselines, which is also not quite accurate.

Anatomy of a Morbius (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 17 August 2009 17:07 (fourteen years ago) link

Someone tell me why I keep coming back to this thread even though I only like two songs on the record! Maybe I feel like a mother hen or something because I've been gushing over "Crystalised" since months ago and, even though the album was disappointing, I still feel loyal.

Johnny Fever, Monday, 17 August 2009 17:12 (fourteen years ago) link

the biggest problem with this album is that all the songs sounds the same, and as mentioned,going nowhere.

Zeno, Monday, 17 August 2009 17:39 (fourteen years ago) link

somehow most of the new hyped british bands in recent years are dissapointing.

Zeno, Monday, 17 August 2009 17:48 (fourteen years ago) link

TS: X vs The X vs The XX ....

m0stlyClean, Monday, 17 August 2009 18:05 (fourteen years ago) link

vs The Ex

young depardieu looming out of void in hour of profound triumph (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 17 August 2009 18:44 (fourteen years ago) link

It's not a perfect album by any stretch but in some respects there's nothing wrong with a band doing an album that all sounds the same. Loads of good albums sound pretty similar all the way through on the first few listens.

If anything I wish they hadn't included the slightly different sounding track. Not because I don't like it but because it's too much like 'Wicked Game' by Chris Isaak.

Doran, Monday, 17 August 2009 20:01 (fourteen years ago) link

because it's too much like 'Wicked Game' by Chris Isaak

Ha! I definitely heard that in there too.

Also, the first track, to me, sounds like a Foals 45 played at 33.

Barnaby, Hardly, Monday, 17 August 2009 20:11 (fourteen years ago) link

I Dare You lovers, rejoice

austinb, Thursday, 29 June 2017 19:35 (six years ago) link

i thought this was pretty incredible

piscesx, Friday, 30 June 2017 22:03 (six years ago) link

They just played Roskilde as well. Absolutely amazing, and I don't get how they do it, and why nobody else just does the same... It looks so simple.

Frederik B, Saturday, 1 July 2017 08:57 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

i see the XX are playing next week here in Los Angeles. i want to go but seeing Spoon with the Shins this weekend. anyone going?

Bee OK, Thursday, 21 September 2017 01:44 (six years ago) link

Glastonbury show is here for anyone who didn't catch it on the bbc

properly excellent.

piscesx, Thursday, 21 September 2017 02:12 (six years ago) link

This album is settling in and really is one of my favorites of the year, despite feeling lukewarm-at-best about "On Hold" and "Say Something Loving".

Marcus Hiles Remains Steadfast About Planting Trees.jpg (DJP), Tuesday, 26 September 2017 17:45 (six years ago) link

Their live show is pretty spot on right now; enjoy it if you go

Evan R, Tuesday, 26 September 2017 17:51 (six years ago) link

Yeah the album and your has turned out to be a real victory lap for them.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 26 September 2017 17:53 (six years ago) link

seeing them tomorrow. have very fond memories of seeing them w/ phantogram at the wiltern in 2010. I am very excited.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Tuesday, 26 September 2017 21:16 (six years ago) link

their live performance is what really sold me on the new songs, esp On Hold

niels, Wednesday, 27 September 2017 05:48 (six years ago) link

Dear god perfume genius is amazing

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 28 September 2017 03:21 (six years ago) link

xp went into this thinking album 1 was still my favorite, but you are right - the new songs were excellent, maybe better, live.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 28 September 2017 05:54 (six years ago) link

bit unfortunate that drunk person behind us sang awfully during the quiet moments of the show closing angels, then presumably got embarrassed, and so doubled down by moaning for the entire back half of the song.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 28 September 2017 05:56 (six years ago) link

three years pass...

Number None, Tuesday, 29 September 2020 21:04 (three years ago) link

can't say i saw her going full on new order pastiche, but i'm not upset about it either. song's decent, i suppose.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Tuesday, 29 September 2020 21:31 (three years ago) link

so-so. I love her voice but this isn't a particularly good vehicle for it.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Tuesday, 29 September 2020 22:00 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

oliver solo single, produced by jamie. it's not great

wonder if that romy solo album is ever going to turn up, let alone a new album from them as a band

ufo, Friday, 11 March 2022 01:24 (one year ago) link

Yeah, this isn't amazing but I like it a lot more than her single from a couple years ago.

Was really hoping this revive would be news about a new record but oh well.

Let's disco dance, Hammurabi! (Austin), Friday, 11 March 2022 01:37 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

this one's very good, feat. jimmy sommerville from bronski beat

ufo, Monday, 23 May 2022 23:41 (one year ago) link

sim solo album out in september

ufo, Monday, 23 May 2022 23:41 (one year ago) link

Wow, that's beautiful.

Bee OK, Monday, 23 May 2022 23:57 (one year ago) link

yeah, this is fairly epic. definitely unexpected and better than than the one from a while back.

Let's disco dance, Hammurabi! (Austin), Tuesday, 24 May 2022 00:05 (one year ago) link

here's "fruit" from a bit ago, which i missed:

it's alright.

Let's disco dance, Hammurabi! (Austin), Tuesday, 24 May 2022 00:08 (one year ago) link

wow so it's FIVE YEARS since their third?

assert (matttkkkk), Tuesday, 24 May 2022 02:41 (one year ago) link

was 5 years between 2nd and 3rd but it doesn't sound like a 4th is on the way anytime soon

ufo, Tuesday, 24 May 2022 02:43 (one year ago) link

happy that oliver is getting this out. i recall being very excited about romy's album, which purportedly existed (i'm sure there was even a big guardian interview where she talked in detail about it) but we're approaching 2 years since she released "lifetime" and nothing else has materialised

monotony, Tuesday, 24 May 2022 04:44 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

oliver's album is pretty forgettable unfortunately, "hideous" is the only real highlight. jamie's production is just not that good outside the constraints of the xx's sound

ufo, Sunday, 11 September 2022 06:38 (one year ago) link

i checked & while romy did say that an album was planned for 2021 when "lifetime" was released, she also said it wasn't finished yet with a lot more work planned, so i guess she still hasn't finished it yet for whatever reason. there' s an interview from last year where she said she's been learning how to produce for herself.

ufo, Sunday, 11 September 2022 07:22 (one year ago) link

Oliver Sim has cancelled his solo tour. While I don't love the album, a few songs have grown on me.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 04:15 (one year ago) link

I like "Never Here"

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 04:19 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

another track from romy at last

ufo, Monday, 14 November 2022 20:54 (ten months ago) link

I remember the Dazed cover story from ... 2020 when the album was supposed to come out lol. Almost as bad as Sky Ferreira

groovemaaan, Monday, 14 November 2022 22:06 (ten months ago) link

really enjoying Jamie's own stuff this year tbh including the remix of Sim's 'GMT'

nashwan, Monday, 14 November 2022 23:26 (ten months ago) link

ideally romy's love of trance will make it into the next xx album

ufo, Tuesday, 15 November 2022 23:21 (ten months ago) link

good track would sound nice b2b "believe" by cher

ꙮ (map), Tuesday, 15 November 2022 23:27 (ten months ago) link

'Hideous' reminds me a lot of La Force's 'Mama Papa' from a few years back - would expect xx types to be a fan of her (that track especially)

nashwan, Monday, 28 November 2022 22:53 (ten months ago) link

is this band over? I heard a song by them the other day and realized I'd kind of forgotten about them.

akm, Tuesday, 29 November 2022 00:09 (ten months ago) link

it looks like they have all pivoted to DJing instead.

stirmonster, Tuesday, 29 November 2022 00:52 (ten months ago) link

Oliver put out a solo album mentioned above that was not dj'ing

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 29 November 2022 04:34 (ten months ago) link

Romy just sang live with Fred Again, and while Jamie XX is dj'ing -- he creating a recent Notting Hill Carnival track himself

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 29 November 2022 04:41 (ten months ago) link

romy is working on a very slowly gestating solo album, jamie has been putting out the occasional solo track too

figure they'll make another album in a few years once romy's released hers, they still seem to be all on good terms

ufo, Tuesday, 29 November 2022 07:07 (ten months ago) link

six months pass...

romy is onto something good

corrs unplugged, Thursday, 8 June 2023 11:40 (three months ago) link

three months pass...

The Romy album is out today and it's fantastic

monotony, Friday, 8 September 2023 01:46 (three weeks ago) link

it's quite good, makes me hope the eventual next xx album goes full deep house

ufo, Friday, 8 September 2023 07:20 (three weeks ago) link

Shazam’d a song and was pleased it was from this album.

piscesx, Friday, 8 September 2023 10:20 (three weeks ago) link

this is pretty solid

k3vin k., Monday, 11 September 2023 22:06 (two weeks ago) link

This is truly the year of retro '90s house

50 Favorite Jordans (Jordan), Tuesday, 12 September 2023 14:16 (two weeks ago) link

Growing up, she explained, the first music that spoke to her identity as a gay woman was mostly what she jokingly referred to as “lesbian acoustic music.” “I’ve always fought against that,” she said. “The reason there’s electronic music in the early demos of the xx is me, wanting to make something else.” She readily credits a new generation of rock and indie acts with broadening the scope of queer guitar music, but “indie, and rock, that’s not really my thing now.” She came to a firm decision: “I want to make dance pop.”...She mentioned Everything but the Girl — which Madley Croft’s parents raised her on — or even Cher’s “Believe,” which she cited as her favorite song. But rooting the anthemic big beats is inspiration taken from more sober moments in her life: processing the grief of both of her parents’ deaths before she was 21; her ongoing struggles to conquer self-doubt and adapt to a new romance.

“She makes very catchy melodies. That’s the thing that always gets me,” Jamie xx said in a phone interview. He noted that the album was filled with earnest tracks that “could become really big pop songs — and could be super cheesy — but there’s always a level of restraint and classiness that she brings to it.”...In early 2018, she was paired for a songwriting session with a young up-and-coming producer named Fred Gibson, a.k.a. the now white-hot musician Fred again.. The chemistry was immediate. “He has a very magical charm — which is amazing, as a songwriter and a producer — to make someone feel at ease,” she said.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 12 September 2023 14:42 (two weeks ago) link

She mentioned Everything but the Girl — which Madley Croft’s parents raised her on

I always thought she had a very similar singing style to Tracey Thorne.

LeRooLeRoo, Wednesday, 13 September 2023 16:50 (two weeks ago) link

I desperately want extended versions of Loveher and She's On My Mind. just gorgeous songs.

Honkin’ on Cobo (jamescobo), Wednesday, 13 September 2023 21:40 (two weeks ago) link

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