Bonnaroo 2010 Spotlight: The xx

Many of you have probably heard of The xx, the moody, young London three-piece (formerly four-piece). But perhaps — like me — you ignored them. There’s a lot of music floating around and even if it’s your job (whoops), it’s damn tough to keep up with kids.

I finally gave The xx a thorough listen when they released a video for their single “Islands.” After hearing it, I realized that the media fuss (Pitchfork, NPR Music, NME, etc.) was well-deserved.

I’m a sucker for raw vocals, and guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Jamie Oliver exploit my weakness with their breathy, tag-teamed vocals. Further winning me over are their minimalist instrumentation: clean guitar, prominent bass, and simple electronic drums courtesy of Jamie Smith. The xx allow plenty of space in their music. They seem to call upon listeners to hone in on even the single pluck of a bass note or guitar riff.

Check out videos for “Islands” and “Crystallized” from The xx’s 2009 debut, xx. And catch the band at Bonnaroo.


Buy The xx’s album on Amazon.



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Jess G.

Jess is a writer/producer with a knack for audio and online production. She grew up in California and now lives in Washington, DC, where she recently graduated from Georgetown University. Jess' jacket collection is obscenely large, and so is her music library. In her spare time, Jess enjoys riding her bike in the city, blogging, writing songs, and eating good food.

Jess has written 44 articles for us.


  1. Love them and saw them in a small venue with fantastic lights, but the band keeps their set rather flat and they only offer a couple climactic moments. So for Bonnaroo, unless they play in the evening, or after dark, watching them in the heat and sun might be an underwhelming experience, which is too bad.

    • I agree. It’s a sleepy band. But at the same time, I LOVE the mood of it all. I would appreciate it if they smiled once in a while.

  2. i’m personally not a huge fan of the xx. i like simplistic, but i find they’re boring sometimes and a lot of their songs sound the same.

    • I also agree that their songs are the same. But for a bunch of 19 year olds, I’m impressed. Do you like the singles above?

      • well Islands plays at work every day so i’m kind of sick of it. i like the first track on the cd and i’d say that’s the only one i can distinguish from the others. the rest are just “meh” and kinda blend into each other.

    • I agree. I first saw them on Later with Jools Holland and was very underwhelmed. The end.

  3. I heard about them a while ago and I just loved what I heard.

    I do agree that they should play at night; definitely not a sunshine and rainbows kind of a band.

  4. Love them :) Especially Islands and Night Time. But yeah, I can imagine that seeing them in the day would be underwhelming at best.

  5. I’m feeling these folks! I Auto/Audiostraddle has won over my musical trust after getting me to finally listen to Crystal Castles.

    I appreciate the broodiness of the xx.

    • Have you picked up Crystal Castles (II)? I’m currently obsessed with “Baptism.”

      • omg yesss! “Baptism” is awesome, but I’m so in love with “Year of Silence” and “Violent Dreams.” Neither of them have clear lyrics, so when I sing along it’s pure silliness. I can’t resist though!

        Also Audiostraddle folks! FOUR songs off of The Arcade Fire’s upcoming album have hit the internet. I love them all so, please give them a little love on here!

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