Without question The XX are the most hyped band of the season. They played the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night to an audience of professional photographers. That’s what happens when five shows in less than the week that is CMJ doesn’t offer enough good chances to take a picture of the group. In all fairness to them, this was their most legitimate venue of the week. UPDATE: The XX played a show mere hours later at the Tribeca Grand Hotel around 1:30AM.

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Fall Mixtape, Vol. 1

October 19, 2009

The weather quickly turned cold and we bypassed normally enjoyable fall weather. As a kid I pictured Indian Summer as a wooden canoe on a lake surrounded by fall foliage. This photo seems to capture that essence I suppose. For me it’s Titanic (“I’m the king of the world!”), meets my dog riding up front.

I’ve rekindled my seasonal love for the Brazilian Girls by digging into their older albums, and this tape’s featured track comes from their self-titled debut:

Lyrics are normally lost on me, but on “Don’t Stop” Sabina Sciubba sings plainly about sex in the least vulgar and most carefree way. They are the kind of lyrics that are so straightforward they look like a joke written down. Songs about doin’ it usually look that way on paper though, this one just does it better than most, with the right amount of sincerity and aplomb.

And now, in the spirit of women-halves hanging out of moving cars…

This may be the final mixtape of the season–it’s become instantly cooler since August ended and suddenly, the hot weather complaining is turning into hot weather nostalgia. It will soon be time to say goodbye to jorts, t-shirts and mini skirts, so it’s important that we get another playlist in before you start hibernating with Bon Iver and that Fleet Foxes record that everyone went gaga over. Alas, do not worry, this mix will help you hang on to summer at least through Halloween.

Let’s hear it for New York.

Jay-Z (featuring Alicia Keys) – Empire State of Mind
Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
Michael Jackson (Telepopmusik Remix) – Remember the Time
Crystal Castles – Vanished
The xx – Heart Skipped a Beat
Camera Obscura – The Sweetest Thing
St Vincent – The Party
Cat Power – Fool
Broken Social Scene – I’m Still Your
Feist – Major Label Debut (live)

Duets and The xx

August 24, 2009

flickrimg_39422 by unknown

What I like about The xx are the complementary voices of the group’s two singers. Each is nice by itself, but this is a case of better-together-than-apart. The arrangements are simple and nothing detracts from the harmony of the vocals. Although I usually feel that duets and collabs should be reserved for rap records, it works here and it doesn’t get old or feel tacky. Even though they both sing in similar ranges and with similar vocal inflection, the hushed delivery is intimate and yet intense.

The xx – Crystalised
The xx – Islands

I’m excited to hear the rest of xx, which is out physically on October 20 (although it’s already available for download at Amazon). “Islands” is my favorite track by the group, but I think that “Crystalised” makes a better introduction. I don’t know what the deal is with the name, but it makes it impossible to search them online. I also regret missing them just last week (twice).

And in the spirit of duets, here are a couple more of my favorites:

Feist – The Simple Story (with Jane Birkin)

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – Some Velvet Morning

UPDATE: Pitchfork has just posted an interview with The xx here, where you can learn more about them.