A Little Bit Late to the Party

7 01 2013

As you grow older and other things become more apparent in life, like having a family with a young child, a mortage, bills, and a general responsibility less of your money is actually your own.

Whereas in my late teens and early twenties pretty much all I spent my money on was drinking and music now that money is put to forced use elsewhere.

XX - The XX album coverWhat I am trying to get at here is that my buying power is not what it once was with regards to new music, and in the case of The XX I am little bit late to the party. This comes from the fact that a lot of my music purchases these days come to me as gifts at either Christmas or Birthday, one of the albums I got for Christmas was the debut album by the aforementioned The XX, the album called simply, XX, was actually released in 2009 (I know that is more than a little late to the party but hey!) on the British based Young Turks label.

The band hail from London and were formed by then 15-year-olds Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim before later being joined by guitarist Baria Qureshi.

The sound is at times quite haunting and in my ears very minimalist with a lot made of some great basslines and clean, simple guitar riffs. Both Sim and Madley-Croft offer vocals on the album and although there is a distinct difference in the voices the sound and style is very similar, both have gentle, melodic voices that really do (good job really) fit the style of The XX and provide a real tingling atmosphere.

It is hard for me to pinpoint the sound and give similarities between other artists but I do hear elements of JJ72 and also hints of Esben and the Witch although not nearly as dark and gothic. Within the vocals there is some kind of whispery quality but without the problems with volume.

Many of you I am sure are already familiar with the album and most notably the track Intro which has featured hugely in the media and especially within TV soundtracks – The 2012 Xfactor anyone? But for me the two standout tracks, that I would recommend anyone to download, are Shelter and Infinity both of which offer real power and angst by a band (at the time) not far out of their teens.

I have not managed to get hold of Co-Exist the second album but I am sure when my birthday comes around in April I may be able to give it the once over.

My rating: 4 out of 5

What others have said about XX:

…make predominantly slow, furtive pop music, mostly about sex. – Pitchfork.com

…their dark and brooding debut album, refreshingly showcases a new young band which aren’t riding on any particular wave of media attention. – Pinpointmusic.com

Urban tales of heartbreak and adoration from four sensitive south London souls. – NME.com

What did you think of the album? Let me know in the comments.


Anna Calvi: Should be Writing Bond Themes

15 02 2011

Got some new discs this week, purchased from Rough Trade, the standout album of the ones I bought is Anna Calvi’s debut.

Her self-titled debut is an album that is hard to categorise. At times the dark sounds of PJ Harvey and at others the booming sonic power of Shirley Bassey.

The sound has been described as dark, romantic, atmospheric pop, although for me I hear little in the way of pop, at least in the radio-friendly traditional sense. You can definitely hear the dark romance, and the rock sound gives off a real sexual emotion and a few classical undertones add to this feeling as well.

Nominated in December for the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll so this is going to be a massive year for the British born artist.

Must listen tracks:

– The Devil
– Suzanne and I (this track is what gave me the idea for the title of this blog post, could see Calvi producing a Bind theme!)

5 out of 5

Feel free to post your comments below.

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