I think we all know Jamie xx, but just in case… Jamie Smith (known by the stage name Jamie xx) is an English music producer and remix artist, and part of the London-based band The xx.
In 2007 Smith joined The xx accompanying old school friends Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim, Baria Qureshi from the Elliott School, notable for alumni including Hot Chip, Burial and Four Tet. The band’s first album “xx” was released in August 2009 and went on to become platinum in the UK.
I just happen to be on a Jamie xx kick today so this is an old track. Also be sure to check out the xx’s new album Coexist. Here’s an edit below for good measure. #untz/tom
‘I felt like you really knew me / now it feels like you see through me’
Coexist leaked this morning, just a few weeks shy of its September 11th release date. I am sure I will have a lot more to say, but in the simplest form of a first impression, these xx songs are all love songs. Half are like ‘ah it didn’t work,’ and the other half are like omfgiloveyou. All are sinking in nicely, so here is one of each. #indie/tory
‘did I hold too tight / did I not let enough light in’
The xx have delivered a beautiful, uneasily moody track that I have had on repeat all morning alongside my steadily refilled coffee. While the trio’s earlier track, Angels, highlighted Romy’s voice, it is nice to hear her vocals alongside Oliver’s again; like so many of their earlier songs you can almost taste the heat in their duet.
Like Angels, Chained lacks the club inspired vibe we were told to expect in the new album, but I am loving it, getting lost in the sound in similar fashion to their debut album’s Infinity. Chained is off the band’s upcoming album, Coexist, out September 11th. #indie/tory
‘and the end comes too soon / like dreaming of angels’
A bonus track today because I finally found the mp3 of this morning’s new The xx song, and I have been melting in it all day.
I was surprised by the band’s choice of first single for September’s upcoming Coexist– Angels is a smoldering slow jam featuring only Romy’s vocals and is devoid of the ‘club inspired’ sound that the band had alluded would have a bigger presence in the album. Regardless of surprise, the song is as easy on the ears as ever: simple, beautiful, a little haunting. #indie / tory
Listening to music and slipping into a peaceful post Christmas holiday coma.
Today’s Emo: Open Eyes (demo) / the xx
‘and my sky / don’t seem so bright / with you by my side / everything will be alright’
Drop everything now – or actually slow everything down – a new xx track has hit the interwaves. The trio posted the song for free download on their blog yesterday, saying “Open eyes is a demo we did whilst creating our new album, we just wanted to share it with you. xx”
While there is not a lot to this one and I have to turn my speakers on full blast to capture the whispering sound, I am still happily soaking in hints of their signature bass and Romy’s soft as snow vocals, her cooing ‘whoooo” here reminding me of old school Tori Amos. I am left with bated breath for their new album and a fully fleshed out track. #emo
Today’s Untz: Fire in Your New Shoes / Kaskade ft. Dragonette
‘while I light a fire in your new shoes / if you should smile / look so surprised’
A lot of the best songs of the year are already starting to surface in the blogosphere in people’s top 10 of 2011 lists, and while Fire in Your New Shoes came out in 2010, both of it’s artists definitely had big years, and it is great to see it resurfacing. More poppy and playful than most of Kaskade’s new Fire and Ice, and with the perfect slice of Dragonette sass, the song still gets me going. Annnnd the intro makes me want to dance in place, hard, a la Flashdance / Jennifer Beals. #untz
I am heading down to Monterey for the weekend to run the Big Sur half on Sunday morning, and have been spending the end of the week gathering all my best untz and flashiest indie pop to make an epic playlist to get me through the 13.1. Definitely not a purist who believes running should be silently focused on concentration and meditation… since the whole thing will be OVER by 9:30am, dishing out the loud stuff that keeps my feet off the ground.
Today’s Emo: You Got the Love / the xx (Florence + the Machine cover)
‘sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose / but you’ve got the love I need to see me through’
While my need for new Florence + the Machine has been satiated with the release of Ceremonials, the lack of any new xx has me revisiting old favorites. Florence’s signature harp cut with the Romy and Oliver’s soft yet smoldering vocals and tossed with playful beats is the perfect soundtrack to start your Friday. After all this time it still falls fresh on my ears… but hurry up guys. #emo
Today’s Untz: Turn it Down / Kaskade (Le Castle Vania remix)
‘look before you make your beat loud / can you turn it down’
There is nothing about this song that makes me want to turn it down–it is exactly the kind of sound that will be fueling me through Sunday. Everyone has been talking about how great Kaskade’s new album is and I can’t help but hop on the bandwagon. While I love her, it is refreshing to hear one of Kaskade’s tracks laced with vocals from someone other than Haley, and Le Castle Vania spins a nice little number on the whole thing. The release of Fire and Ice makes me thankful once again that Ryan Raddon forfeited Mormonism for the church of #untz
It’s the Friday before Saint Patrick’s Day which means a weekend of merriness, day drinking, beer that stains your teeth green and pinching. This will happen all over again on the actual Saint Patty’s day and then again the weekend after. So it goes. I am in the middle of reading Slaughterhouse-Five, and want to follow every thought with ‘so it goes.’
Today’s Emo: Death as a Fetish / Starfucker
I saw Starfucker play all of two songs Wednesday night thanks to totally miscalculating when they would take the stage. During the majority of their show I was down the street drinking beer from a boot and eating delicious German food, killing time before their show. So it goes. I had the best kind of company, the two songs were good and as a consolation I got to meet the band/get my album signed. The boys look like babies so perhaps this is why they decided to play a headlining show at the Rickshaw Stop at nine pm. School night.
Death as a Fetish is surprisingly upbeat for having a morbid (if not kinky) title. I’d like the sound to follow me around on a sunny weekend adventure somewhere warm and outdoors. I realize I originally introduced STRFKR as an untz, but their new album is decidedly more mellow than their earlier stuff. Reptilian, which is a slimy sounding title for an album with such smooth beats, is phenomenal – Passion Pit meets Miike Snow meets chill instrumental djs like Germany Germany. Starfucked. #emo
Today’s Untz: Stars (LAZRtag remix) / The xx
‘and I can draw the line on the first date/ I’ll let you cross it / let you take every line I’ve got‘
The xx is one of my favorite bands, Stars is one of my favorite songs, and this is a stellar remix. The underlining theme of Stars takes you to a place that we’ve all been to– that dizzy feeling when you are hitting it off perfectly on a first date, your subsequent decision to not put out because you really like this person, and the inevitable allowance to lose yourself in the moment because Stars don’t shine for the very first time very often, and deserve to be celebrated. LAZRtag transforms the whispy song into something dance worthy and the beats at the end have a hint of Kaskade’s trance inducing sound. Celestial. #untz
After an active weekend of boozing and boarding in Tahoe, I present a couple of mellow tracks to ease into the work week. The first an old favorite, the second a new addition to my collection on heavy rotation. Happy Monday.
Today’s Emo: Hot Like Fire (cover) / the xx
‘I know you’ve been waitin’/ you’ve been waitin’ a long time for me/ but if you wait a little while longer this is how it’ll be‘
The xx are great at producing covers that rival their original counterparts, often while sounding nothing like them. With Hot Like Fire the trio takes Aaliyah’s Timberland laced track you probably grinded to in high school and flips it into a hazy, sultry duet that begs to be played behind closed doors. The result is bedroom pop at its best: echoing, whisper-like vocals delivered with a subtle sense of urgency. I’d love to think that the ridiculous sexual tension exuded in this song is inspired by real life, but when you see the two leads together physical chemistry is the last thing that comes to mind. The vocal chemistry, however, speaks for itself. #emo
Today’s Untz: Mine is Yours (Passion Pit remix) / Cold War Kids
‘you were changing colors like the leaves in fall‘
This. song. makes. me. so. happy. I have listened to it at least 50 times in the past few days and I am still not sick of it. Yet. The Cold War Kids’ confident vocals meet Passion Pit’s knack for a beat, and it’s all tossed together with lyrics that have pulled my heartstrings undone. While CWC have been clever with words in tracks like Audience and Hang Me Up to Dry, this is the first time I have heard them with heart (and a truly untz worthy backdrop). The new Cold War Kids album officially drops Wednesday – and their single ‘Louder than Ever’ is also definitely worth a listen. You can stream it here. #untz
‘all of my stones become your pearls/ all of my trials are your treasures / what is mine is yours‘