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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2017 » January » 15

The brave new world of the xx, pop’s brooding perfectionists

Delivered... Tom Lamont | Scene | Sun 15 Jan 2017 10:00 am
Solo success, confronting grief, sobering up… the feted London trio talk frankly about how the events of the past four years informed their new album, I See You

The three members of the xx cross from Poland into Lithuania overnight, trying to sleep inside a bus that judders and lurches along an uneven border road. It is December, an unforgiving time to be touring eastern Europe, and snow that was coming in committedly when they left Warsaw still falls when they arrive in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. It’s cold here, beer-jacket weather, hot-toddy weather, get-messed-up-after-the-gig-to-distract-from-the-bite weather. But the band – Oliver Sim, Romy Madley Croft, Jamie Smith – travel in good, sober order. They toured their first album, in 2010, blinkingly, greenly, through a fog of personal tragedy. Two years later they got through a second-album tour mostly by partying wherever they went. (Moving from “encore to after-show… chasing the night,” as the band phrase it in a new song, Replica.) When we meet, the release of album number three, I See You, is looming. For various reasons they expect to take this one around the world in steadier, less emotionally hectic fashion.

Arriving in central Vilnius at 10am, the trio alight from the tour bus and teeter over icy pavement, straight to their hotel rooms for some extra sleep. I’m in the lobby waiting for them when they emerge, one by one, at midday. Sim (27 years old, bassist and co-vocalist) appears in a splendid fur-lapelled coat. His enormous green eyes lend him at once a striking handsomeness as well as the perpetual suggestion of worry. More so than Sim, Madley Croft (27, lead guitar and vocals) is dressed for her terrain: leather boots, hoodie, black-camo raincoat, a hat over her dark shoulder-length hair. A stitched image on the hat is faded and hard to distinguish and when I ask her what it is she answers in a soft, whistling voice: “Three babies dancing.” She says she found the hat in a skate shop somewhere. Smith (28, percussion and production) might have found his entire outfit in a Sports Direct somewhere. He comes down in Nike T-shirt, Adidas trackies, his copper curls sprouting over the strap of a backwards-turned cap.

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Brandon Can’t Dance: Graveyard of Good Times review – joyful and triumphant

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Sun 15 Jan 2017 9:00 am

(Lucky Number)

Philadelphia native Brandon Ayres, AKA Brandon Can’t Dance, rattles through styles and influences so readily that on first listen this ramshackle, self-produced collection feels like an arch experiment in mimicry. So Deep, So Tortured, So Freak’s Marilyn Manson-isms are gloriously OTT, while A Greyhound Named Chelsea expertly apes Elliott Smith-esque singer-songwriter woes, rhyming the title with “chalice of ecstasy” in a tongue-in-cheek list of basic needs. Obligatory Star Surfing Song, meanwhile, is a Smashing Pumpkins song in all but name. Never overstaying its welcome despite its 16-track length, there are little pockets of unadulterated joy peppered throughout, specifically the buzz guitar-laced opener Headspace, and She Loves Anime’s electro-tinged tale of a boy who draws himself the perfect girlfriend.

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