The XX are a brand new young band from South London. It’s definitely rock music, but with lots of male-female vocal turns. I hear a little Velvet Underground (the melodic stuff) in there, and also some Cure. But they’re distinct, delivering the songs in intimate voices and adding electronics. Their new self-titled record has some stunning songs. This one is “Islands”:
The XX are influenced by rock bands like The Kills, The Pixies and The Cure and R&B artists like Mariah Carey, Rihanna and Aaliyah. They even do a cover of Womack and Womack’s “Teardrops.”
The strength in this new band isn’t in their influences though. It’s the mix of icy beats with warm voices and guitars. But more than that, it’s their willingness to be vulnerable, to lay their feelings out there for all to see, with lyrics that mean something to them. It’s so obvious when that’s happening. When it’s real.
The XX play Neumo’s in Capitol Hill on Friday 11/27. See you there.
Michele Myers spins Saturdays from 3-6pm on KEXP. Each week she picks an artist and tells their story, playing three songs in a row. She also produces a KEXP Documentary every week and runs it on the show as well, this week it’s on Billie Holiday’s civil rights song “Strange Fruit”.