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The xx
The xx - Ilosaarirock 2012.jpgThe xx performing at Ilosaarirock Festival in Joensuu, Finland, in 2012. Left to right: Romy Madley Croft, Jamie Smith, Oliver Sim.
Background information
OriginLondon, England
  • Indie pop
  • indie electronic[1]
  • dream pop[2]
  • electronic rock[3]
Years active2005–present
  • Young Turks
  • XL
  • Romy Madley Croft
  • Oliver Sim
  • Jamie Smith
Past membersBaria Qureshi

The xx are an English band formed in 2005 in Wandsworth, London.[4] The group released their debut album, xx, in August 2009. The album was a commercial and critical success and was ranked highly on many best of 2009 lists, including number one on the list compiled by The Guardian and second for NME.[5][6] In 2010, the band won the Mercury Prize for their debut album. Their second album, Coexist, was released on 10 September 2012 and peaked at number five on the Billboard 200.[7] The band's third studio album, I See You, was released on 13 January 2017.[8]


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 2005–2009: Formation
    • 1.2 2009–2011: xx and Qureshi's departure
    • 1.3 2011–2012: Coexist
    • 1.4 2013–present: Touring, side projects and I See You
  • 2 Influences
  • 3 Band members
  • 4 Discography
  • 5 Tours
  • 6 References
  • 7 Further reading
  • 8 External links

2005–2009: Formation

The band members met while studying at Elliott School, the same school that produced Hot Chip, Burial, Four Tet, and Pierce Brosnan.[9] The group has however downplayed the influence of the school on its career: "A teacher from Elliott who had never even taught us said how great we were. It's a bit annoying. We were left alone, more than anything – although I'm sure that helped us in its own way."[10] Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft started the band as a duo when they were 15. Guitarist Baria Qureshi joined once it began performing in 2005, with Jamie Smith joining a year after.

2009–2011: xx and Qureshi's departure

The xx's debut album xx was released with the British independent record label Young Turks on 17 August 2009,[11] and was met with sweeping critical praise, achieving a rating of "universal acclaim" on Metacritic.[12] The album also ranked well on best of the year lists, being placed at ninth on the Rolling Stone list and second for NME.[6][13] In the 2009 NME The Future 50 list, the xx was positioned at number six, and in October 2009, it was named one of MTV Iggy's "Top 10 Bands with Buzz" (at the CMJ Music Marathon 2009).[14][15] In a first taste of success, its single "Crystalised" was featured on iTunes (UK) as Single of the Week, starting from 18 August 2009.

Though the band had previously worked with producers including Diplo and Kwes,[9] the members produced xx themselves,[16] while Jamie Smith and Rodaidh McDonald mixed it.[17] The xx recorded its first album in a small garage that was part of the XL Recordings studio, often at night, which contributed to the low, whispery nature of the album.[18]

In August 2009, the band headlined its own concert tour. The xx has toured with artists including Friendly Fires, The Big Pink, and Micachu.[citation needed] In January 2010, Matt Groening chose the band to play at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival which he curated in Minehead, England. In addition, the band played at five of North America's most popular music festivals, Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.[19]

In late 2009, second guitarist and keyboardist Baria Qureshi left the group. Initial reports stated that this was due to exhaustion, but Oliver Sim later said that the rest of the band had made this decision, "Also to be fair to her, people have an idea about that she left the band. She didn't. It was a decision that me, Romy, and Jamie made. And it had to happen."[20][21]

The music of its debut album was used extensively on television and in the media, such as 24/7, Person of Interest, NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games;[22] during the series Cold Case, Suits, Mercy, the Greek version of Next Top Model, Bedlam, Hung, 90210, as well as being the feature song for the March 2010 E4 advert for 90210, Misfits, the Karl Lagerfeld fall/winter 2011 fashion show, Waterloo Road, and the film I Am Number Four. In May 2010, the track "Intro" was used by the BBC in its coverage of the 2010 general election. This led to the band playing the track on an episode of Newsnight.[23] The track was also played before the UEFA Euro 2012 and UEFA Euro 2016 matches at stadiums in Poland, Ukraine, and France and featured during the end of Top Gear Season 19 Episode 6 (Africa Special Part 1). Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Sander van Doorn's 2012 single Project T, which launched the official Tomorrowland 2012 aftermovie,[24] contains samples from "Intro"; van Doorn had earlier released a remix of the song in 2010.[25] The song was also sampled in Rihanna's "Drunk on Love" from her album Talk That Talk[26] and was featured in the movies It's Kind of a Funny Story and Project X.

In September 2010, the band's debut album won the Barclaycard Mercury Prize.[27][28][29] After the live ceremony screening, the album jumped from 16 to 3 on the 12 September UK album chart, accompanying an 269% sales increase.[28] XL's marketing campaign drastically expanded after this substantial win, with day-time TV advertisements and billboard campaigns on some of the UK's highest-profile digital billboards.[27][28][29] Thanks to the highlighted publicity, XL Recordings says that it shipped more than 40,000 CDs in the days following the Mercury Prize.[29] XL Managing director Ben Beardsworth explained, "Thanks to the Mercury win...things are accelerating dramatically and the band will be reaching a bigger and bigger audience with their music."[27] In another promotional initiative, the label sent out Saam Farahmand's audio/visual sculpture of the album when the band toured at Bestival 2010, as well as to an event at Seoul.[27]

The xx was nominated for 'Best British Album', 'Best British Breakthrough' and 'Best British Band' at the 2011 BRIT Awards held on 15 February 2011 at the O2 Arena in London, although it did not win in any of the categories.[30]

2011–2012: Coexist

In December 2011, Smith revealed that he wanted to release the xx's second album ahead of its festival appearances the following year, and that it was inspired by "club music". "The majority of stuff I'm working on now is the xx stuff. We're just about to start recording. Hopefully we'll get it done in time for most festivals next year, because that's the most fun." Discussing the sound of the album, he said: "We've all come back off tour and been partying a bit more. We left when we were 17 and we missed out on that chunk of our lives when everyone else was partying. Club music has definitely had an influence on the next record."[31]

On 1 June 2012, it was announced that the follow-up, Coexist would be released on 10 September.[32] On 16 July 2012, it announced and released "Angels" as the lead single from Coexist.[33] And on 3 September 2012, in a collaboration with Internet Explorer,[34] the xx released the entire Coexist album to stream on its website until the worldwide release date on 11 September.

In August 2012, the xx was featured on the cover of Issue #81 of the Fader.[35]

The xx performed at Bestival on 9 September 2012 in front of the largest ever crowd at the festival. Its first North American tour started on 5 October in Vancouver, Canada, with dates throughout the US and Mexico.[36]

2013–present: Touring, side projects and I See You

In 2013, the xx held a series of three festival-style concerts, called "Night+Day", in Berlin, Lisbon, and London. The festivals featured performances and DJ sets curated by the band, including Kindness and Mount Kimbie. Each festival culminated in a nighttime concert by the band. The band was nominated for a Brit Award for Best British Group, eventually losing out to Mumford & Sons.[37]

In April 2013, the xx contributed the song "Together" to the official soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby.[38] In March 2014, the xx performed a series of shows at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. The show featured live visual effects and had a limited capacity.

In May 2014, the band revealed that they were working on their third studio album, working with producer Rodaidh McDonald at the Marfa Recording Company studio in Texas.[39]

In May 2015, Jamie xx said that his debut album In Colour "has definitely informed what we're doing for the next album." The band also reported that the record will have "a completely different concept" than their previous records.[40] In November 2015, the band stated that they would continue working on the record through December and it will be released in 2016.[41] On October 6, 2016, Variance Magazine reported the band was planning to release new music "before the holidays."[42] On October 10, 2016, they announced that they are still working on the third album, but shared a playlist and added tour dates.[43]

In November 2016, the xx announced that the release of their third studio album, I See You, would be on January 13, 2017. They released the album's lead single "On Hold" at the same time. On Saturday, November 19, 2016, the xx appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. They performed the songs "On Hold" and "I Dare You". On January 2, 2017, the band released the album's second lead single "Say Something Loving".

In November 2016, UK and European tour dates were announced for the new album. On the 25 November 2016 the band announced an extended residency at the O2 Academy, Brixton - adding four additional days to their original tour and setting the record for longest run of sold-out shows in the venue's history.[44]


The band members have cited several artists in their influences. Croft said: "Jamie started out very much into soul and then from there moved into hip-hop and UK-based dance music. He brings some much lower frequencies of bass into the band. And then I've grown up listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Cure. We're really quite a huge melting pot of different stuff."[45] She also had mentioned her liking for Jimi Hendrix, The Slits, Joy Division, Yazoo, Eurythmics and New Order.[46] The xx has also been inspired by Cocorosie, Electrelane, Cocteau Twins, Aaliyah, The Kills[47] and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.[48] Sim in particular is an avid fan of Aaliyah, while Croft enjoys Mariah Carey's music.[49]

Band members

Current members

  • Romy Madley Croft – guitar, vocals
  • Oliver Sim – bass, vocals
  • Jamie Smith – beats, MPC, production

Former members

  • Baria Qureshi – keys, guitar (2005–2009)


Main article: The xx discography
  • xx (2009)
  • Coexist (2012)
  • I See You (2017)


  • The xx Tour (2009-10)
  • I See You Tour (2017)


  1. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "The xx". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Boden, Sarah (12 July 2009). "Pop review: The XX, XX". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Caulfield, Keith (September 14, 2012). "Little Big Town, Avett Brothers Albums Aiming High on Next Week's Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 23 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Cochrane, Greg (12 May 2009). "Introducing...The XX". Newsbeat. BBC News. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "The XX – XX". The Guardian. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "50 Best Albums of 2009". NME. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "The xx". Thexx.info. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  8. ^ "New Music: Stream the xx's I See You". Spin. 2017-01-13. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  9. ^ a b Saxelby, Ruth (14 July 2009). "The xx" "It started as a joke"". Dummy. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  10. ^ "The sound of shyness". New Statesman. 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2012-04-09. 
  11. ^ O'Neill, Katie (14 August 2009). "Young Turks". Young Turks. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "xx reviews at". Metacritic.com. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "The 25 Best Albums of 2009". Rolling Stone. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  14. ^ "Pictures of The Future 50: The bands, the artists, the innovators". NME. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  15. ^ Iggy CMJ 2009: Top 10 Bands with Buzz MTV, 20 October 2009
  16. ^ "The XX announce debut album details". NME. 17 June 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  17. ^ Pawson, Caius (23 February 2009). "Young Turks". Young Turks. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  18. ^ "The Nocturnal Emissions of the XX". Exclaim!. November 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  19. ^ "Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival". Bonnaroo. Retrieved 12 March 2010. 
  20. ^ "Young and modern: Introducing the xx". CNN. 10 April 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  21. ^ "Guitarist Departs The xx". Clash Music. 13 November 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  22. ^ "What's That Song From the AT&T Commercial With Olympic Speed Skater Apolo Anton Ohno?". Spinner. 17 February 2010. 
  23. ^ Rising stars The xx play out Newsnight election special BBC News, 10 May 2010
  24. ^ Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs Sander van Doorn – Project T (Original Mix) on YouTube
  25. ^ Sander Van Doorn – Intro (XX Booty Mix) on YouTube
  26. ^ "Rihanna's 'Talk That Talk': A Track-By-Track Guide To Her New Album". MTV News. 
  27. ^ a b c d Cardew, Ben. "CHARTS: Mercury Win Expedites the Xx's Chart Fortunes." Music Week (2010): 3. Print.
  28. ^ a b c Paine, Andre. "The XX Factor." Billboard – The International Newsweekly of Music, Video and Home Entertainment 122.38 (2010): 42. Print.
  29. ^ a b c "The Xx at a Crossroads After Mercurys Win." Music Week (2010): 1. Print.
  30. ^ "The xx up for 2011 Brit Award". 
  31. ^ Published Thursday, 8 December 2011, 14:35 GMT (2011-12-08). "Jamie xx: 'New xx album in time for 2012 festivals' – Music News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-04-09.  CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ "The xx announce new album Coexist". Rekwired. 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2012-06-02. 
  33. ^ "The xx debut new single 'Angels', unveil new album 'Coexist' cover art". Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  34. ^ Lake, Steve (3 September 2012). "Internet Explorer collaborates with musical artists The xx". Microsoft. Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  35. ^ "World Premiere! The FADER #81 Featuring The xx and Chief Keef « The FADER". Thefader.com. 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  36. ^ "N.A. Tour dates, the xx". Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  37. ^ Brit Awards 2013: The winners, BBC News
  38. ^ Roy Trakin (11 May 2013). "From Flappers to Rappers: 'The Great Gatsby' Music Supervisor Breaks Down the Film's Soundtrack". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  39. ^ "The xx reveal third album recording sessions in Texas". Retrieved 2014-05-04. 
  40. ^ Amy Davidson (12 May 2015). "Jamie xx has hinted at what to expect from The xx's new album". DigitalSpy. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  41. ^ "The xx will be releasing new songs and an album in 2016". Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  42. ^ "The xx Could Have New Music Out 'Before the Holidays'". Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  43. ^ "The xx Will Tour Soon And Are Working On A New Album | SPIN". Spin. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  44. ^ "The xx announce more shows for record-breaking run of London gigs in 2017 - NME". NME. 2016-11-25. Retrieved 2017-03-10. 
  45. ^ Savlov, Marc (8 October 2010). "UK melodrama blessed from above". austinchronicle.com. Retrieved 15 October 2015. 
  46. ^ Capart, Nicolas (9 October 2009). "The Smile of XX (an interview with singer Romy) (original title: Le Sourire de XX)". La Libre Belgique. Retrieved 21 August 2013. Des sixties, je retiens Jimi Hendrix que me faisait écouter mon père. Puis, dans les années septante, The Slits, que j’adorais, Siouxsie and the Banshees (dont elle porte le T-shirt), Joy Division Les années quatre-vingt avec Yazoo et Eurythmics New Order aussi. Et bien sûr The Cure. Off the 60s, I select Jimi Hendrix that my father made me discover. Then in the 1970s, The Slits that I loved, Siouxsie and the Banshees (whom she wore a T-shirt, note of the author), Joy Division. The 80s with Yazoo and Eurythmics, also New Order. And of course The Cure. 
  47. ^ "XX: Interview and acoustic session (for the website Fluctuat.net)". 15 June 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  48. ^ "OMD rediscover the art of 80's noise". The Herald. Newsquest. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  49. ^ Rogers, Jude (13 August 2009). "xx – A teen band with a difference". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 

Further reading

  • Colapinto, John (2014). "Shy and Mighty". The New Yorker (30 June). Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
  • The xx discography at Discogs
  • The xx at the Internet Movie Database

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