Finally, in the last song, she crooned, “Did I hold you too tight? ” The room went completely dark, and when the lights came up, the audience, as if startled out of a daze, broke into loud applause.After one performance, Kanye West told the band that it had reminded him of Steve Jobs, who “took something as big as the computer and put it in a cell phone.”The members of the xx were barely out of their teens when, in 2009, they released their first album, “xx,” a collection of muted love laments written mostly in their childhood bedrooms.“I’m happy—despite things that might have happened in my life,” she says.
When she was eleven, her mother died, of a brain hemorrhage, and she was sent to live with her aunt and uncle and their daughter. “I grew up a huge amount in, like, thirty seconds.” She and her cousin, Lotte Jeffs, became close, but they rarely spoke of her mother’s death.
“She dealt with it in the way that she seems to deal with everything, which is very internally and very quietly,” Jeffs, now an editor at the , says.
late March, the xx, a band that ordinarily appears at ten-thousand-seat arenas, played a ten-night “residency” at the Park Avenue Armory, performing for just a few dozen people at a time.
Open to the public for fifty-five dollars a ticket, the shows also drew the musicians Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Madonna, as well as the filmmakers Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.
I’m not Kurt Cobain.” Instead, she developed her soft contralto, and began plucking single notes to double the melody of her singing—the roots of the unembellished guitar patterns that are an xx signature.
She recorded rudimentary cover songs on her computer.
booth, until Smith’s beats launched them into a dance routine as sharply etched as a tango.
Colored lights pulsed against the walls and the low ceiling as Madley Croft, in a black blazer, leggings, and boots, strode across the stage.
Picking out single-note riffs on a chiming Les Paul, Madley Croft sang yearning lyrics in a breathy whisper (“You don’t move slow / taking steps in my direction”) while Sim, plucking widely spaced bass notes, answered in a velvety baritone (“You say I’m foolish / for pushing this aside”).
The songs were as intimate as pillow talk—murmuring and sighing against an almost silent background—but the two singers stood separated by the d.j.
The new album was another collection of plaintive ballads, but the band, praised for its spare style, reduced its arrangements almost to nothing; some verses were just a single voice over the distant whistle of one of Smith’s samplers. charts, but failed to generate the critical acclaim of the first album.