The XX – Coexist (Review)

On 4th July, the XX filmed an intimate version of ‘Angels’, the lead single of their recently completed second album ‘Coexist’ in a Tokyo hotel room. Even more stark and beautiful than on record, Romy Madley-Croft’s fragile and affecting vocal coupled with a reverberating Les Paul encapsulated the finest melodies from the last album whilst a new air of confidence and musicianship really shined through. Both Bass player Oliver Sim and percussionist/producer Jamie XX watched in silent awe as she soulfully whispered over a swelling riff.
The dance elements of The XX have taken over this time around on Coexist, but never losing those sweet, haunting melodies that made us cherish The XX so much the first time around.
‘Fiction’ starts with a fusion of a surf style guitar slide and busy palm muted dance pips. Oliver Sim’s voice too has become more brooding and stylish, still barely above a whisper but when a few prominent lines are sang in a chorus an octave higher than usual and a little more powerfully, a sense of emotion and meaning is conveyed powerfully.
‘Chained’, much like Fiction is uptempo but with the combined duet vocals that work so well with their debut but upping their game with more interesting sounds and an addictive vocal melody.
Reunion is however the gem in this album, utilizing steel drums and Jamie XX twinkles to convey the romanticism in this punchy yet dreamy number.
Coexist has kept the fantastic vocal duets and sweeping reverberations, but the elements of hip-hop and dance production have come far to create more three dimensional soundscapes packed into concise modern tunes that will sound as powerful and emotional in a festival dance tent as they would whispering through your speakers late at night.
Much Love,

T x

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Sea by Roosevelt (The song that saved my summer)

Roosevelt’s Sea is the song of my summer. It will forever remind me of the sunny season — creeping into a groove that could accompany any spontaneous road-trip to the seaside.

Son of German city Cologne, Roosevelt takes you on a magical journey with innocently placed reverbed lyrics, dance orientated synths and unashamedly funk guitars all layered over the strongest of grooves. He plugs into the very reasons why I love music. Sea transports you to a beach where you dance under hazy purple skies — far from the reality of the cramped Camden boozer he has just delighted.

Roosevelt pulls all the strings to make even the most awkward amongst us dance, forgetting all social inhibitions and reminding us that life is good. The secrets of a perfect summer day have never been so obvious.

X A

A running commentary

We’ve all been there. The train stops in the middle of nowhere and for an age. It’s probably stuck at a red signal. Or there is signalling problems (seriously, one of these days that guy is going to get fired for forgetting his signalling flag or whatever the fuck he’s doing. We’ll call him Roger, because it’s a stupid name and that’s what i’d like to do to him if given half a chance.)

Sometimes the driver doesn’t speak to you at all (the unhelpful cunt), but sometimes he will shift his arse to the intercom and give you the little lowdown on how Roger is getting on with remembering his flag this morning or what numpty has decided to shy himself with abandon infront of a train. Occasionally though you get a full and rather surreal commentary:

7.19am “Good morning folks we are currently experiencing some congenstion in the New Cross area this morning. We will be moving again shortly, thank you for your patience..”

7.21am “Ladies and Gentleman apologies again for the delay, we will be moving again shortly.”

7.28am “Once again, apologies for the delay, we will be on the move again in a few moments but we have lost our slot in the station so it may be a minute or two before they realocate us a platform. I can see the train ahead of us has the same problem. They are probably as irrate as you all are.”

7.29am “Incidently, it’s my Birthday today. Once we get to Cannon St., I shall be celebrating in the pub from 11am if you’d like to join me. You’ll probably all need it. It’s all gone to pot again since the olympics, right?”

Legend.

T x

 

 

Review: Maps & Atlases, Beware and Be Grateful

It’s not particularly normal for a band to blog about other artists’ releases. It may even be a bit presumptuous. I’m not really sure.

However, it seems that the question you get asked the most as a band is: “What are your influences?” I imagine every band struggles as much with that question as we do. The truth is that just about every piece of awesome music we listen to is an influence. So we’re just going to start telling you about records we think are banging — starting with Maps & Atlases, who are awesome.

Forgive me. I really ought to have cottoned on to Beware and be Grateful, the sophomore full-length by Maps & Atlases, sooner.

The Chicago four-piece have been doing the rounds since 2006, after all. Appearances at SXSW and various tours with prominent acts including Foals, Minus the Bear and So Many Dynamos ought to have alerted me to their brilliance.

Fear not. I have seen the light.

Despite being both current and timeless, it is hard to put a finger on exactly what genre Beware and Be Grateful fits into. That is exactly why it is such an excellent record – experimental, accessible and majestically paced.

This album veers from effortless pop bliss – see track two, Fever – to angular rock perfection on Winter and, a little later, onto the quasi Billy Idol-esque Vampires. And there’s plenty more to sink your fangs into.

Opener Old & Grey draws you into the album patiently, maturely and incredibly melodically. There’s even room for an old school slowy – in a good way – on Remote & Dark Years.

This one has ‘album of the year’ written all over it. Do yourself a favour and buy it here.

Boys beware

Recently the band found some old footage to use as part of a music video soon to be released and I’ve become a bit obsessed with watching old public information videos for my own amusement. Every now and again though, you’ll stumble upon some footage that really makes you realize how far we have come in our social and psychological advances. Most of us anyway.

Below is a 1950’s public information video warning young boys against homosexuals, in the same way a town might caution against wild grizzly bears.

Much Love,

T x