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The xx

The xx This week's guests are The xx. The young British band released their self-titled debut last year, and it went on to make Greg's list of top albums of 2009 (Listen here). Since then their music has appeared in a number of major television shows and ads, and they're playing Lollapalooza. The group is known for their intimate, call and response sound–one that emerged more out of necessity than art. Bassist and vocalist Oliver Sim explains that neither he nor Romy Madley Croft were confident to sing on their own. But Romy assures us that there's nothing romantic about their intimacy. The two have been friends since they were small children.

Go to episode 233
reviews
I See YouI See You available on iTunes

The xx I See You

When The xx were guests on the shows in 2010, Jim & Greg had no idea the British trio's blend of modern soul with minimalist '80s alternative sounds would prove so influential. Greg says that the band has subtly expanded its sound on its third album I See You, but hasnn‘t taken any big musical leaps. Because he feels the group hasn’t quite got there yet, Greg gives the album a Try It. Jim, however, loves the contrast between the album's celebratory sounds and its hints of darkness under the surface. Jim says The xx have grown and are pointing toward something exciting, proving they're a career band. For him, I See You is a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 582
CoexistCoexist available on iTunes

The xx Coexist

Jim and Greg close out this week's show with a review of the sophomore album by The xx. This trio of London art students enjoyed a rapid rise after the release of their self-titled debut. Not only did The xx win Britain's Mercury Prize for the best record of 2009, they performed on Sound Opinions! The hype for their follow-up has been intense. Coexist debuted at No. 1 in the UK and No. 5 in the U.S. Jim says if you liked the first record, chances are you‘ll like this one too. The band has talked in interviews about stripping back its already minimal sound, and Jim agrees. This is a spare, intimate bedroom recording. He gives The xx an A+ for sonic mood, but admits he didn’t find the tunes to be as memorable this go-round. He says Burn It. Greg disagrees. He thinks the interaction between Sim and Romy Croft's vocals are the heart of this record, giving it a surprisingly soulful feel. The tunes are there, he says, for those who listen hard. He gives Coexist a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 357
dijs

Jim

“Rock the Boat”Aaliyah

During The xx interview, the band spoke of their admiration for Aaliyah. This got Jim thinking about the R&B singer, who died in 2001. As he says, she wasn‘t the greatest singer, she wasn’t the most original, but she had real charisma and star power. He adds the track Rock the Boat, from Aaliyah's third and final self-titled album.

Go to episode 233
lists

Best Albums of 2009

Go to episode 211
news

Music News

It has been an historic few weeks for aging rockers on the Billboard charts. First, at age 88, Tony Bennett broke his own record as the oldest living artist to have a #1 record with Cheek to Cheek, his duet with Lady Gaga. Then, we have diva Barbra Streisand with her own duet album Partners. The success of her latest endeavor makes her the only artist to have a #1 album in each of the past six decades.

Just when you thought concert tickets couldn't get more expensive, they just might. Independent concert and event promotion company, C3 Presents will reportedly sell 51% of the company to Live Nation. C3 is responsible for events like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival. A collaboration with“Death Star”Live Nation would greatly increase that company's stake in the U.S. concert market and possibly lead to higher ticket prices for you the concertgoer.

Which designer has English indie pop band The xx in a fury? Hugo Boss recently used a song in its new ad campaign—one that sounds strikingly similar to "Intro" by The xx. The band is extremely unhappy, calling the song“a poorly designed fake.”Perhaps Hugo Boss should stick to designing clothes.

Go to episode 463

Music News

By Christmas this year, get ready for war…in the digital universe, that is. Google has announced plans to open a digital store and music service that would compete with iTunes. Not to be left out, Apple has gotten in on social networking with its new service Ping. Currently there are other sites like Pandora that merge social sharing with music, but with iTunes' 160 million users, they are likely to dominate this turf.

With a #1record on the Billboard Chart, Eminem hardly needs any handouts. But, a court ruling recently made him an even richer man. A federal appeals court has overturned a victory for Universal Music Group in a dispute over how much in royalties it owes the rapper for digital sales of his songs. A previous ruling said that Eminem would receive traditional song royalties for digital tracks. Now he'll be“licensing”his songs rather than selling them. So his rate of return jumps from 18% to around 50%. If this decision sticks, the music industry is in for some big losses.

Sound Opinions wishes congratulations to recent guests The xx. The British trio was just crowned the winner of that country's Mercury Prize. Jim and Greg note that this achievement can sometimes mean more than prizes like the Grammy's in the states because the judges are not just industry insiders, but critics like this year's chairman Simon Frith. Frith credits the group's mysterious atmosphere for the win, which many thought would go to veteran musician Paul Weller. Cheers to you xx!

Go to episode 250