xx Marks the Spot

I’m buried under end of semester grading right now (exacerbated by having crawled under the covers with a Michael Connelly novel for a few days to sleep through a cold), so I have not had time to devote to my blog.

But rather than let the absence linger even longer, I thought I’d throw together a quick homage to one of my favorite bands, The xx.

A couple months ago, they took over the huge Park Avenue Armory in New York to stage a number of intimate shows:

Last week, Geoff Rickly of the band Thursday posted his moving review for the concert over at Talkhouse.  Sounds even more amazing than the video makes it look.

And be sure to check out the video for Jamie xx’s latest solo single at Nowness (sorry, can’t seem to embed it), in which artist Sofia Mattioli dances to “Sleep Sound” with a series  of deaf dancers.

I have definitely listened to The xx’s debut more than any other album in the past decade.  The first song that really caught my ear was “VCR”:

I’ve always thought it echoes David Bowie’s “‘Heroes'”:

I never connected “Infinity” to any other song . . .

. . . until I read Simon Reynolds in his highly recommended Retromania:

On  the self-titled debut by The xx, who deservedly won the 2010 Mercury Prize with their fresh meld of skeletal post-punk and sombre dubstep, the track ‘Infinity’ is blatantly related to Chris Isaak’s 1989 song ‘Wicked Game’: it really is a study, an exercise in technique, in the sense that the band have written a new song entirely within the very specific sonic palette and emotional atmosphere of Isaak’s original.”

Now I can’t hear The xx’s song without hearing Isaak’s.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.


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