The XX (formed 2005, in London)
The XX are an alternative rock / pop outfit from London, England. The original four members met at Elliott School in London. The school is notable for having spawned a number of artists and musicians, such as Burial, Four Tet and Hot Chip. The XX are now a three-piece, after keyboardist Baria Qureshi left in 2009. The remaining members of the band are Oliver, Romy and Jamie.
The XX: Music
The XX rose from underground to cult success with the release of their debut album on Young Turks, entitled xx. The album was received well amongst a wide range of music critics in both the UK and the USA. The album was self-produced, despite the band having previously worked with Diplo and Kwes.
The album was recorded in a garage that was a part of the XL Recordings studios. Much of the recordings were done at night, which reportedly contributed to the hushed nature of the album's content.
Many of their songs have been used to soundtrack TV commercials, especially the track 'Crystalised', which was also selected as iTunes (UK) Single of the Week in August 2009. Similarly, their cover of Womack & Womack's 'Teardrops' was used on the online Eastenders spin-off, E20 and 'Islands' featured on an episode of the Grammy award-winning Grey's Anatomy. The fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld used 'VCR' as the soundtrack to part of his autumn / winter collection show in 2011.
When the creator of The Simpsons was asked to curate the All Tomorrows Parties festival in Minehead, UK, he invited The XX to play, along with Iggy & the Stooges, Spiritualized and Joanna Newsom.
In 2010, The XX won the Mercury Music Prize, ahead of artists such as Biffy Clyro, Dizzee Rascal, Paul Weller and Corinne Bailey Rae.
They'll be joined by A Tribe Called Quest and Pet Shop Boys.
The XX have been announced to headline Bestival 2017 alongside A Tribe Called Quest and Pet Shop Boys. The Autumn event returns for its 14th year, but for the very first time it won't be being held at the traditional Isle of Wight venue.
The xx last performed at Bestival in 2012
Having recently released their number one third studio album 'I See You', The xx are returning for their third time at Bestival - and this time they'll finally be headlining. Hip hop collective A Tribe Called Quest will also be playing the main Castle Stage, as well as 80s pop legends Pet Shop Boys.
Continue reading: The XX Are 'Excited' To Lead The 2017 Line-Up For Bestival
The importance of The XX's self-titled debut album cannot be understated. It subliminally influenced lyrical and musical aspects of pop music, as well as the 'haunting' atmosphere of pop music. The intense, youthful and in tandem, text-like lyrics which roll back and forth between Romi Madley Croft and Oliver Sim brought a brooding sense of romance (or the loss of it) and the longing desires of sex and intimacy in the modern age. That influence is still heard today, and pop music was unexpectedly changed by one of the most accidentally brilliant debut albums of the 2000's. Their second album, Coexist, revealed a band uncertain how to break the shackles of a particularly brilliant debut. This wasn't a conventional 'flop' sophomore album, as it instead revealed a band creatively trapped within the confines not only of their first album but of the influence it had put out onto the musical landscape. It was a gorgeous album with some stand out tracks, however it revealed a band teetering on the edge of exhausting their identity of relentlessly hesitant lyrics and weeping and injured guitars.
I See You finds the band releasing music together as The xx for the first time in four years, and within that time Jamie Smith (better known as Jamie xx) released his solo album In Colour to critical acclaim. His euphoric, summer-tinged and upbeat solo affair (with tracks like 'Loud Places' and 'SeeSaw' revealing the direction this new album has taken) has bled into I See You, and in turn The xx's sound and aesthetic with relatively positive results. I See You further illustrates the challenges of young love and heartache once again, however its framed through a newly vibrant sonic palette and a self-reflexive maturity. The broadening of this scope works well as the distinctive vocals of Romi Madley Croft and Oliver Sim retain the identity of the band, while the now robust approach to their sound (which teeters on jubilant at times) shows glimmers of light from the shadowy ambience they once resided
The opening track 'Dangerous' confidently reveals the new direction the band have taken. The blast of sampled horns, a funky bassline which is accompanied by a scattering drumbeat which is only made recognisable as The xx when the vocals breathe in. The lead single 'On Hold' is very catchy, however is an underwhelming track in comparison to the rest of the album. The shoe-horned Hall and Oates sample, although infectious, doesn't quite belong within The xx's periphery just yet. The album highlight is undoubtedly 'Replica', which ponders those rhetorical questions you can never quite get an answer for. Whether you're enjoying your youth or just trying to give off the impression you are, or if you're becoming like your parents - residing them fatalistically to the fact that our emotions and mistakes "were only chemical." It's the song on this album which perfectly encapsulates our initial understanding of this band while sounding unlike anything they've done before.
Continue reading: The XX - I See You Album Review
A track-by-track radio discussion airs today.
The XX appeared on radio station Beats 1 this week with Zane Lowe, where they took listeners through their new album 'I See You' track by track. They spoke about their new writing methods and how they came to name the album among other things.
The xx unveil their new album 'I See You' today
Third album 'I See You' is now available on Apple Music and follows their latest single 'Say Something Loving'. The band; who are Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx), Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim; have got a number of live shows lined up from February, including a series of sold out gigs at the O2 Academy in Brixton and Manchester's O2 Apollo, and appearances at the likes of Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Primavera Sound and Shaky Knees Festival.
Continue reading: The XX Explore The Making Of Their Newly Released Album 'I See You'
Lorde, Eminem and four other major artists who ought to be releasing new music in 2017.
Every new year brings speculation as to which musical legends might be returning, and which pop heavyweights are due to release a new record. Here are six significant artists who are definitely, or widely expected to be, releasing new music in 2017.
Lorde's new album will surely arrive in 2017
It feels like forever since Lorde broke through into the mainstream at the precociously young age of 16. Indeed, the release of her signature song ‘Royals’ is approaching its fourth anniversary. In the meantime, she's provided the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and performed a David Bowie tribute at the Brit Awards.
Continue reading: New Albums To Look Forward To In 2017
What can we expect on the third LP from the Mercury Award winning trio?
The XX are a band who have achieved the rare accolade of matching their critical success with a commercial viability after the minimalist electronic strains of 2010’s self-titled record altered the face of popular music forever. Without the prevalence of The XX’s sultry and deeply affecting electro, artists so clearly influenced by their sound would have turned out hugely different than they did today. The likes of James Blake and London Grammar, for instance, would certainly be viewed with wholly different eyes has The XX not impacted so extensively.
Fans can expect a change in direction and mood on the new XX record.
For their upcoming third release, tentatively entitled LP3, the group have decamped from their native London confines to the climes of some fairly unorthodox locations. In-house producer for XL Records Rodaidh McDonald, who previously worked with the band on second album Coexist, has revealed the band has worked on the new record in Texas and there are trips planned to Iceland and France during the coming summer. As the band absorb the sounds of different continents, McDonald has indicated such international influence will greatly affect the direction of the new record. “There are songs which came out of our experiences in New York and Texas that would never have come out in London” he stated, “the colours and the ideas and the moods on some of these songs are just not things you could write in London.”
Continue reading: What Can We Expect From The New XX Album?
With less than 24 hours to go before Glastonbury Festival opens its doors at the Somerset site, it's always good to know which bands to see and when.
With such a ginormous festival site at 900 acres, and plenty of drunken hoardes and muddy puddles to fight through, the simple act of walking from one stage to another can be a difficult task. Throw in a lost mud-sucked welly and inebriated disorientation and you haven't a hope in hell of deftly navigating your way in between acts - even with that overpriced festival lanyard you spent half your first day's budget on.
Glastonbury returns in 2013 after having taking a well needed break in 2012 - the Eavis family, the cows and the grass all had a rest whilst the portaloos and crowd barriers were in London for the Olympics. The festival this year marks it's revival with an exciting line-up, including The Rolling Stones, Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys, Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, Chase and Status, and Public Enemy.
However, with all star-packed line-ups comes inevitable clashes: fan of both Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds AND Smashing Pumpkins? Too bad - they're both on around 20:30 on the Sunday with a good half mile hike between stages, meaning you'll have to forego one sullen frontman for another.
Continue reading: Glastonbury Festival 2013: Your Guide To The Biggest Clashes!
The Great Gatsby movie may not have received universal praise and critical acclaim since its silver screen release but that doesn't mean you should write off or disregard its soundtrack. What do critics know anyway? There seems to have been far too much analysis of the film's sub-text and possible parallels with the global economy rather than old fashioned cinematic enjoyment. Is the world more greedy now, more star struck, more in need of fame and fortune? Have we all become more self-absorbed, self-obsessed, materialistic and vacuous or is it just that, nowadays, it's more in plain sight, easier to identify and more readily hyped and publicised. (The film adaptation is, after all, taken from the F. Scott Fitzgerald book published nearly ninety years ago.)
Setting aside any need to put the film on the psychiatrist's chair (to see whether Fitzgerald's cautionary tale of excess rings true) and taking the film and its soundtrack merely on musical merit alone, I think it safe to say that without doubt it is a triumph. Any suggestion that it is 'style over substance' is missing the whole point. The Jazz Age was all about style, all about how opulent and how lavish you could possibly be. Yes, it may have been a little vulgar but it was all about extravagance and living the dream, even if the dream was ultimately a lie.
The soundtrack of The Great Gatsby captures the very essence of the post war age, an age of optimism and high spirits where the grim realities of the not too distant past could be suspended. You can lose yourself in the cocktails, flapper dresses, pearls and spats, cigarette holders and dinner jackets quite easily. The allure of the decadent lifestyle being flaunted by the charming and charismatic Jay Gatsby has an intoxicating appeal that is difficult to resist. Both Baz Luhrmann, the film's director, and executive music producer Jay Z have done a meticulous job in making that come to life, brilliantly mixing a twenties thread through a contemporary score.
Continue reading: Various Artists - The Great Gatsby OST Album Review
Baz Luhrmann placed Jay Z in charge of the soundtrack to his latest movie
Excitement mounts as a sampler for the Great Gatsby soundtrack has been released online. Fans of Jay Z and Beyonce may find themselves disappointed though, as neither of their tracks are included on the sampler. Beyonce covers Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ and jay Z also performs ‘$100 Bill’ for the soundtrack, though neither are present in the online selection.
Of course, they’ll be wanting to leave fans hungry to hear the two tracks that are clearly going to be the most highly anticipated of the lot. A press release revealed some of the treats that are in store and the detail of the work that went into compiling the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s reimagining of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, set in 1922. “Jay Z (with collaborator and the film’s executive music consultant Jeymes Samuel) has worked with Luhrmann and his team on the project over the past two years, translating the Jazz Age sensibility of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel into the musical equivalents of our own times, through the blending of hip-hop, traditional jazz and other contemporary musical textures,” the press release reveals.
The sampler does contain snippets of other tracks from the soundtrack, including Emeli Sande’s re-working of Beyonce’s Crazy In Love (with the Bryan Ferry Orchestra), Together by The XX and ‘Young and Beautiful’ by Lana Del Rey.
Continue reading: The Great Gatsby Soundtrack Sampler Released Online