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In the Post #142: Jamie xx reveals ‘Loud Places’ single featuring Romy Madley-Croft, a cut from upcoming debut album ‘In Colour’

 
By on Friday, 3rd April 2015 at 3:00 pm
 

It’s hard to tell whether Jamie xx likes being extremely busy, or in fact, extremely quiet. His 2015 is looking pretty busy now, mind, having this week announced his debut solo album ‘In Colour’, due out through Beggars imprint Young Turks in June. It’s a chance for Smith to finally showcase his producer credentials on a full-length, and who better to feature on a new track to go with the album announcement…..Romy Madley-Croft. The very same one Smith collaborates with when he’s working the day job with the xx. Are we sure there’s not been some horrible mix-up at the label with these two albums….?

On the surface of Madley-Croft’s defenceless vocals, this could indeed be the latest rework of the xx. Read too much into those breathy vocals and you might even come to the conclusion that the pair are parting ways: “Didn’t I take you / to higher places you can’t reach without me?” she softly patters before the chorus. Smith more than makes his mark in those choruses; having softly built up the atmosphere with tropical guitars and Risset drums, he drops a two-step burst of electropop, punctuated by crisp keys and subtle handclap blows. It’s lush, subtle and sparse all at the same time, a far cry from his highly regarded remix of Florence and the Machine’s ‘You Got the Love’, but still reaching similar euphoric peaks.

This latest arrangement flows with an ease and grace that feels like it’s been harder to bring to the fore in Smith’s previous works. Working on his own material from scratch like this, has once again freed even more electronic ingenuity in his hands. A full album of these refreshing delights isn’t due until June, but gives him the perfect opportunity to astound with his solo work before the cloak and dagger return of his more introvert other projects.

7/10

‘In Colour’, the debut album from Jamie xx, is released through Young Turks on the 1st of June.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP9luRtEqjc[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1253: The xx

 
By on Friday, 12th July 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Bohemians of cool the xx have just released something very interesting: a promo video for a self (Jamie xx) remix of their song ‘Sunset’. (The original appears on their current album ‘Coexist’.) It just so happens that the dancer in the video has a “X” emblazoned on the breast of her jacket, right? Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofe_htVvaaY[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1227: The xx

 
By on Friday, 7th June 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

Dream pop band the xx have released a new video for ‘Fiction’. It’s been shot in black and white – was there ever going to be a question? Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxYN8-HvL44[/youtube]

 

The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees

 
By on Friday, 11th January 2013 at 4:37 pm
 

Is there any point to the BRITs? Granted, it gives a certain demographic of London teenager the opportunity to sting Daddy for the eye-watering £70 ticket price, no doubt getting stuffed with half-term pizza and fructose syrup before spending three hours squealing loudly at microscopic effigies of their latest tabloid-endorsed musical crushes. But beyond that, does any vestige of musical credibility remain within the unhallowed, chart-obsessed recesses of the BRIT Award psyche?

A swift perusal of the nominations, released yesterday, would indicate: maybe, actually. The usual mega-selling suspects are there: Emeli Sandé, Mumford and Sons, Robbie Williams, Olly Murs. But look a little deeper and could there just be enough respect for the breakthrough, even the underground, so that beyond the face paint and lasers, there’s a bedrock of credibility?

Step forward Richard Hawley, the most unlikely of the entire nomination list, proving that the BRITs aren’t immune to a decent bit of ‘70s-throwback guitar action and heart-on-the-sleeve balladry from a bequiffed Yorkshireman. Plan B also deserves a shout for his unflinching portrayal of council estate life in ‘Ill Manors’, which still deserves to make more of an impact than it has.

Jessie Ware gathers two nods, a fine result for her this early in her career, single-handedly making 2011’s Critic’s Choice Award for her namesake Jessie J look ever more ridiculous. The more listeners turned on to her coolly urban soul, the better. Paloma Faith is also up for two gongs – British Female Solo is fair enough, but British Album of the Year for ‘Fall to Grace’, for a collection significantly worse than her début, is deeply suspect. British Group unoriginally throws up two previous Mercury Prize winners: unlikely media darlings alt-J, and minimalist electro-songsters the xx; Muse are nominated for the ninth (and tenth) time, with Mumford and One Direction predictably making up the numbers. A rum collection, if ever there was one, and despite the disparate yet singular talents of each, hardly a state-of-the-nation statement.

The British Single category is too depressing to analyse deeply. Suffice to say a more turgid collection of middle-of-the-road dross it’s difficult to conceive. Any list containing the execrable ‘Mama Do the Hump’ by Rizzle Kicks deserves to be encased in concrete and dropped into a very deep hole. Thankfully each of the British Breakthrough nominees have something to commend them, though surely Jake Bugg is the most extraordinary of the lot; his compellingly grizzled, world-weary, yet uplifting take on vintage blues in his debut album means he should have no problem in lifting the spotted statue next month.

Ironically, there’s far less to complain about the International (read: American) nominees. Perhaps it’s because we expect the USA to do bigness well, it’s difficult to complain about someone like Bruce Springsteen being nominated, although one wonders just how much pride of place a BRIT award would take on the dashboard of his pickup truck.

As always, it’s good to see producers, the guys behind the desk who really make the music, getting their opportunity to shine, although it seems somewhat unfair that Damon Albarn should be sharing their limelight – hasn’t he had enough of it by now? If the Albarn effect can be resisted, Paul Epworth should walk away with this one, although personally I prefer listening to his sister’s output to his. And what of Amy Winehouse and The Rolling Stones, both nominated, neither deservedly? Stop it, BRITs! Pick people who are more alive!

The 2013 BRITs take place on Wednesday the 20th of February at London’s O2 Arena. TGTF will be reporting, either from the event itself, or from somewhere else in London more interesting. Watch this space.

Who should win the British Brits, I reckon?

Male Solo: Richard Hawley
Female Solo: Jessie Ware
Breakthrough: Jake Bugg
Group: One Direction
Single: Alex Clare – ‘Too Close’
Album: Plan B – ‘Ill Manors’
Live: Coldplay
Producer: Paul Epworth

Full list of nominees after the jump.
Continue reading The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees

 

Live Review: The xx with Mmoths at Newcastle Academy – 11th December 2012

 
By on Thursday, 13th December 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

The tail end of 2012 sees London’s BRIT award-winning minimalist three-piece the xx take on a handful of UK dates in promotion of sophomore long-player ‘Coexist’, before moving on to a far more substantial tour with the unspoken objective of cracking the notoriously fickle US market. TGTF caught their show in Newcastle upon Tyne, with the agenda of assessing how their darkly atmospheric sound would be received across the pond.

Mmoths Newcastle live

Support for the UK dates comes from Ireland’s Mmoths. Jack Colleran generates ethereal swathes of synths and found sounds, unnamed voices drifting with nary a care through his delicately spun melodies. Reminiscent of Baths at his somnambulent best, tonight he is occasionally backed by a live drummer and bassist; the weight which this adds to the sound is sorely needed live, the restless crowd silently pleading for something solid to alleviate their anticipation. Mmoths’ debut EP ‘Diaries’ is out next year.

The XX Newcastle live 1

The xx are a stylish band. Clad all in black, a complex white light show enhancing their studied, aloof manner, they carefully recreate much of ‘Coexist’, with selected pickings from lauded debut xx. Immediately it’s obvious that the live show brings a sense of soul and involvement that the records can sometimes lack. Romy Madley-Croft’s soft yet assertive vocal is entirely engaging, the delicacy of ‘Angels’ allowing her voice to gently whisper sweet somethings across the hushed audience. When the band are at their best, things soar majestically, but there’s always a metaphorical distance, an unseen foot on the brake. Their considerable appeal – bear in mind this is a big venue, fully sold out – is difficult to define. Such slow-burning subtlety isn’t usually a guarantor of mainstream appeal. Whether the Mercury nod, or the fashionable Bauhaus bleakness, there is something afoot here.

Despite the knowing stylings, and the adult themes, there’s something childlike about the simplicity on show tonight. Guitar chords are eschewed for singly-plucked notes, bass is straight as a die, rarely, if ever, wandering from root. There is more space than sound. The entirety of ‘VCR’ could be a child’s TV theme tune. But absent is the glee of childhood: this is the music of care; of thinking; of the architecture of love; of autism. Only Jamie Smith reveals and revels in anything resembling the conventional transcendentiality of music: only in his superb live drum machine work and real-time mangling of the entire band’s sound does anything approaching a release of emotion occur. But just when it seems that might inspire the entire band to shift to another gear of engagement, the song draws to a close, and the stage is shrouded in darkness once again.

The XX Newcastle live 2

The xx live experience is quite unique. It is elegant, distinctive, soulful and heartfelt. Yet at the same time aloof, knowing, and, at times, hollow. Rather a mixed bag then – more for thinking than dancing, more for savouring than devouring. Whether this suits the US taste in music is an impossible quandary – they’ve chosen mostly southern states, which one might lazily think not the perfect match. However, The xx have conquered all with their subtle charms – and it seems likely the US will be the next to succumb.

 

Video of the Moment #1008: The xx

 
By on Tuesday, 16th October 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

In the xx‘s new video for ‘Chained’, the trio take to an unlikely activity (for them, anyway): swimming. Were they inspired by the London Olympics? Watch it below.

Read Cheryl’s review of their current album, ‘Coexist’, here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeWxEH9tb0c[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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