This Weeks Music Video with The Killers, Kendrick Lamar, Arcade Fire, Tyler The Creator, The xx, Toro y Moi, Oh Wonder and Jamiroquai

This Weeks Music Video With The xx, The New Pornographers, James Vincent McMorrow and Glass Animals

The xx – I See You Review 


The London Dream Pop trio have almost taken a cult status amongst the hipster media that elevates them beyond scrutiny. There have earned this reputation in part by being so damn talented and producing a different and intriguing first album. Their second effort, Coexist did not reach that level, but was a strong album nonetheless. It doesn’t mean they’re infallible though. Despite hardly being the archetypal difficult second album, it was certainly not of the standard set with their debut two years earlier. It’ll be interesting to see where I See You falls after four and a half years of solo projects and stylistic changes; to see if they are capable of reinvention and versatility (the mark of great talents) or if they’re ready to cash in on the comfortable surroundings of their fan base.

Their first single from this album is ‘On Hold’ and signals a fairly significant shift in the tone of their sound. Echoed and drawn out riffs with wispy synth chords remain, but these are met with a rolling bass, a pacey, yet understated percussion and bolder vocals from Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim. Jamie XX’s production has developed with his solo album last year and he now seeks to put a greater focus on melody and harmony. This track sounds bolder and more dynamic than they’ve ever been. ‘Say Something Loving’ carries on these trends further. It opens with the stutter of a remixed track which leads into a cunningly arranged song which sets up a sweeping, swooning sound for it to collapse into a space of minimalism with staggered riffs, the echo of a clunky percussion and Oliver’s and Romy’s vocals. The track goes on to join both parts with more clever transitions and a production that accommodates this with whirring, electronic soundscapes. When you throw in the balance of the vocal duet, the smart shifts in sound and the subtle production from Jamie xx that provides a big return, you have the makings of a modern Pop ballad.

‘I Dare You’ most resembles their earliest work in terms of their method. The lingering, misty riffs, the gentle, electronic beats and whirring sounds behind them. The fundamental difference is in volume and clarity. This song is crisp and clear which accentuates the rhythms and hooks that would have otherwise been obscured. The influence of Jamie xx is clear on ‘Brave For You’ as he energises the song to a subtle peak with drawn out, resonant synths from the minimal verses. This back and forth is halted as the song goes on to expand the space around it and creates well developed soundscapes. The album opens with ‘Dangerous’ is the group embracing new horizons as they skilfully deliver a dance track with style and finesse. In this setting, the bass lines, vocals and percussion simply roll off the dance fills and beats. ‘A Violent Noise’ retains their subtle and understated core arrangement, but charges it with an electric energy which makes the riffs ring out and the electronica around them oscillate. The album at worst is restrained, yet mysterious and these are still more fluid than they’ve been before as the group has matured. ‘Performance’ for example is typical of this with Romy’s vocals sounding better and as graceful than ever before. Beyond this, they’ve took on an energised, dynamic and vibrant set of sounds and have added a slick and stylish finish to it whilst remaining efficient and gentle in their sound. Their lyrics reflect this too, with the greater emotion within them adding another dimension to what is their most multi-dimensional album yet. A mark of a great band. 

The xx – I See You = 8.5/10

Owen Riddle

Single Review – The xx – Say Something Loving 

The London Indie and Dream Pop group are to release their much anticipated third album I See You on January 13th. Their second album Coexist from 2012 was hardly the archetypal difficult second album, but it was certainly not of the standard set with their debut two years earlier. It’ll be interesting to see where their third album falls after four and a half years of solo projects and stylistic changes; to see if they are capable of reinvention and versatility (the mark of great talents) or if they’re ready to cash in on the comfortable surroundings of their fan base. ‘On Hold’ suggested they were willing to open up their music whilst holding on to subtle quality that was the engine of their earlier work. 

‘Say Something Loving’ carries on this trend further. It opens with the stutter of a remixed track which leads into a cunningly arranged track which sets up a sweeping, swooning sound for it to collapse into a space of minimalism with staggered riffs and the echo of a clunky percussion and Oliver’s and Romy’s vocals. The track goes on to join both parts with more clever transitions and a production that accommodates this with whirring, electronic soundscapes. When you throw in the balance of the vocal duet, the smart shifts in sound and the subtle production from Jamie xx that provides a big return, you have the makings of a modern Pop ballad. A track worthy of kicking off 2017. 

Owen Riddle 

This Weeks Music Video with Beyoncé, The XX, Anhoni, Laura Marling, Tove Lo, OK GO and White Lies

Single Review – The XX – On Hold

The London Dream Pop trio have almost taken a cult status amongst the hipster media that elevates them beyond scrutiny. There have earned this reputation in part by being so damn talented and producing a different and intriguing first album. Their second effort, Coexist did not reach that level, but was a strong album nonetheless. It doesn’t mean they’re infallible though and they’ll have to respond in a way with their third studio album I See You which is expected on January 13th. 

Their first single from this album is ‘On Hold’ and signals a fairly significant shift in the tone of their sound. Echoed and drawn out riffs with wispy synth chords remain, but these are met with a rolling bass, a pacey, yet understated percussion and bolder vocals from Romy Madley-Croft and Oliver Sim. Jamie XX’s production has developed with his solo album last year and he now seeks to put a greater focus on melody and harmony. This song can definitely take its place in a brilliant album, but will The XX deliver it? 

Owen Riddle 

Music News For This Week – New Dead Weather album and JDB on Richie Edwards

– First off this is a new feature I’m trying where I take a look around the web for interesting music news and stick it on here at some point every week.

– Jack White and Alison Mosshart are to join forces again as The Dead Weather to start creating their third album.

– Paul McCartney has revealed the track listing for his upcoming album ‘New’ to The Sun and NME. They include song titles such as  Alligator, Everybody Out There, Queenie Eye and Save Us.

– Noel Gallagher pointed out something quite worrying when accepting his GQ award at the ceremony in London when he likened the event to “The Tory Party Conference” and said  that it’s “Nice to see the Foreign Secretary here with all the s**t going on in the world  that he should be sorting out. Good for you.” Apart from that he was bemoaning Rihanna like the rest of the world about her “f*****g small army” that she calls her entourage which he had to encounter when they were both playing a festival in Norway.

– James Dean Bradfield claimed that former guitarist Richie Edwards “Would have been disgusted by todays branded bands” and said “You wish he was still around so we could just let Richie loose on them”.

– The Association of Independent Music Awards held it’s third ceremony upon which Enter Shikari picked up best live band, The xx took the Best ‘Difficult’ Second Album award. The legend that is LAMMO or Steve Lamacq picked up a special recognition award while he hosted the awards with Huw Stephens.

– Everything else is basically Arctic Monkeys related. NME gave them a 10/10 and said it was the greatest album of the decade. But I know I liked the album too but steady on! They also claimed guitar music was on the way out last week.