When you think of indie music and its rise to hey day level in the early 2000s, fewer groups come to mind as quickly as The xx. As I branched out in music taste in late high school and early college, their album xx was in heavy rotation with the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hot Chip, and Tegan & Sara, just to name a few. They were one of my first forays into electronic music of sorts, and their vocal style is pretty indicative of my preferred kind - clear yet intimate, intense yet soft.
Following groups closely can be hard to do when they take large gaps between album releases, and their last drop in 2012 gave a lot of us something new to dance to in our bedrooms while getting ready to go to school/work/out. I sure love Coexist, but I didn't really think any song by The xx would have eclipsed "Heart Skipped A Beat" - can any tune ever really grab you by the throat and force you to accept love lost than this?! - until "On Hold" came out.
Filmed in Marfa, Texas, a desert city of just under 2,000 residents, the video for "On Hold" is an almost nostalgic love letter to small town Americana. Focusing on high school students and iconic cheerleader-football player chemistry, and delving into the bizarrely tight-knit ecosystem that is teenaged community, the video is beautifully shot. The lyrics fit so well with young love and all the dizzying confusion that comes with it, like "My young heart chose to believe/We were destined."
The xx has always been one of those groups that pulls at all of my heartstrings, all at once. I seem to have an affinity for groups that create music that makes me want to both dance and cry simultaneously, I am fairly sure their new album I See You (due out in January) will not be any different. They recently performed on SNL and I am hoping that they'll make their way through the US late next year while on tour.
Stay up to date with The xx here: http://thexx.info/