The xx is essentially a group of friends jamming and having fun with music, gone pro. But with their developed and unique sound you would never know. You would also never expect that the band actually started out while the members were all attending high school and their first album entitled xx was so named because it came out just after all the band’s members had finally reached the age of twenty. In this Alt-Feature you’ll get a look at where The xx have been, where they are now, and where they are headed.
About the band:
The band started off as just another way to hang out and have fun and was comprised solely of childhood friends Romy Madley Croft (singer-guitarist) and Oliver Sim (singer-bassist). They started the band at the age of 15 while attending London’s Elliott School (the stomping grounds of Hot Chip, Burial, and Four Tet). Then Baria Qureshi (keyboardist-guitarist) joined when the duo were 17 and a year later Jamie Smith (producer-programmer) joined, completing The xx lineup.
The band members meshed well and after playing at various London venues, they signed with Young Turks, a U.K. independent record label. The xx tried working with various producers including Diplo and Kwes, both well-known and respected in the industry, but felt that the music sounded too much like a collaboration. So instead Jamie Smith, band member and industry newbie stepped up as the band’s producer, which proved to be a crucial move toward the sound The xx now has.
After a year in the studio producing their namesake first album xx, it was released in 2009, and soon gained a devout following and in August the band headlined their own tour in both the U.K. and U.S. However, the hectic pace of the tour caught up to them and resulted in Baria Qureshi leaving the tour and the tour being ended early.
Where they are now:
Although daunted by the exit of one of their members, The xx is far from over and still going strong. In December of this past year (2011), they announced that they have begun working on their second album and hope to have it out in time to perform in this year’s music festivals.
Their first album xx, was characterized by a somewhat pop sound, with the use of a drum machine, and an airy, lingering of space in their songs, leaving it uncluttered and the focus on the lyrics. It is not that Sim and Croft’s voices that make the songs so enthralling, but the words and message they convey. Also, although the album’s songs are mainly about sex, they lack no depth or uniqueness among themselves.
Here are a few of the xx album songs (Also worth a listen is The xx’s song “VCR” which is on Alt-Addiction’s February Playlist:
Although no date has been set yet for the release of The xx’s second album, the band has disclosed that in this album they are working on a more a club sound and have set up a blog (the link is below) on which they plan to post regularly about their progress.
Do you like The xx? I know I certainly do, and am really looking forward to their second album. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for playing all The xx songs on repeat.
Some links to check out:
Sources:http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/13400-xx/, http://pitchfork.com/news/36330-rising-the-xx/, http://www.dummymag.com/features/2009/07/14/the-xx-it-started-out-as-a-joke-/, http://www.nme.com/news/the-xx/60866, http://elbo.ws/post/2087605/the-xxs-baria-qureshi-takes-a-break-band-cancels-tour/.