What Am I Listening to Wednesday: The xx

When I set out to create this blog, I simply could not imagine having a website that didn’t ever discuss music. For as long as can remember, I’ve rarely done anything without having some type of music playing in the background, and being someone who spends a good portion of her days trolling music blogs and magazines, it’s safe to say that this type of post will definitely become a fixture on this website.

I’ve decided that I will make a twice-monthly post about what bands I’m listening to at the moment. The post will include links, reviews and analysis of the songs, artists and albums I’m currently listening to. Some will be new or upcoming artists, while others will be oldies but goodies I would feel selfish for not sharing with you all.

the_xx_(1)With that being said, the first post will be about The xx, an English indie-pop trio from London. The group formed in 2005 and has since then grown tremendously in popularity. Their innovative mix of indie rock, soulful R&B, and chilled out sound has earned the group #2 on NME’s 2009 “Best of the Year” list.

One of the most compelling aspects of The xx is their construction of moody atmosphere and emotion through very minimal and precise production. . . Well, that, and their never ending focus on one of life’s more entertaining experiences:

Sexual tension.

1024px-Xx_album_cover.svgMost songs on their squeaky clean, and very minimal (thanks to the work of young, but enigmatic producer Jamie xx) debut album xx consist of alternating verses between Romy Madley Croft’s breathy vocals and Oliver Sim’s seductive mumbling retelling the development, exploits, and losses of sexual desire through vivid, artistic imagery. Their post- coital musings are often drowning in negative space, like lovers piercing the quiet darkness with late- night pillow talk.

Exchanges of coy “come hithers” and declarations of sexual surrender make this album a must on your “bae is coming over” setlist. In one of the standouts on the record, “Stars,” Romy longingly comes on to Oliver with the line “I could draw the line on the first date/ I’ll let you cross it, let you take every line I’ve got, when the time gets late,” expressing what so many of us think when we’re with that special someone.

downloadWith a debut as nearly flawless as xx, I was prepared for their second studio album, 2012’s Coexist to fall somewhat flat, but while not nearly touching the spark their first record ignited, it did not disappoint. The use of negative space and expert production were still present and brilliant, yet their departure from their intimate whispering of albums past did leave the LP a little less moving. Nonetheless, you can rest assured that The xx will remain a staple in your best make-out playlists.

While the band currently doesn’t have any plans to release another album, you should definitely check out “In Color,” Jamie xx’s new album featuring vocals from xx bandmates Romy and Oliver, as well as a rap track with Young Thug. The standout for me so far is “Loud Places,” an infectious, definite contender for my “Song of the Summer.”

Personal favorites from the dynamic trio include “Heart Skipped a Beat”, “Stars”, “Angels” and “Basic Space.”

What are some of your favorites? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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