Romy Madley Croft

Coachella Band Preview: Jamie xx

Two things: it’s almost March and I’m almost home from my winter in Mexico! This means one thing: Coachella is a little over a month away after almost 1,100 days. Simple math. It makes my Coachella motto all that morning meaningful. I’ve always said to live every Coachella like your first Coachella. This time live every Coachella like your first Coachella and your last Coachella. Live it up hard. You never know. It just might be a while before your next one. Safe to say it’s been that way for this week’s preview artist. He last performed solo at the event in 2015 and performed with his band The xx in 2017. He goes by the name Jamie xx.

James Thomas Smith, or Jamie xx, is an English DJ/record producer. As I mentioned, he’s a member of indie pop band The xx, but it was shortly after the band’s formation that he began remixing tracks leading to his solo work. Along with remixing tracks by The xx, he began remixing music of several artists such as Florence + the Machine, Adele, and Glasser. His first album, We’re New Here, was entirely remixes. It came out in February 2011. His second and first original album, In Colour, was released in May 2015. He hasn’t really released much new music since then, aside from a single in 2020. The xx, however, last put out an album in 2017.

It’s definitely been a while since the last polo fields visit for the electronic artist who specializes in a style that incorporates future garage, post-dubstep, and house. He takes to the stage on Sunday in the desert. I’d imagine he would play the Sahara tent, but I could very well be wrong. He may be on the Coachella main stage or behind the booth at Outdoor. I would love a Jamie xx sunset set, and I feel like I’m not alone in this so I’ll be crossing my fingers that it happens. I’m also hoping that there may even be an appearance from Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim, the other two members of The xx. It would be so sick to get the band back together for their first appearance in several years. To get ready for whatever the Jamie xx set brings, I’ll be listening to:

  1. Loud Places
  2. I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)
  3. Gosh
  4. See Saw
  5. Idontknow
  6. Obvs
  7. Girl
  8. On hold (Jamie xx remix)
  9. You’ve Got the Love (Jamie xx remix)
  10. Stranger in a Room

Coachella Band Preview: The xx

Hey guess what…Coachella Band Previews are back! It was only a matter of time since the lineup release last week. Coachella is a little over 3 months away so if you’re headed out to Indio, your prep needs to begin asap. Like yesterday asap. The timing of my first preview works out perfectly because this band’s third album, I See You, comes out tomorrow! They hail from the UK and they’re called The xx.

In 2005, while still in school, Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft formed the band. Guitarist Baria Qureshi joined once the band started performing and Jamie Smith joined the year after. The group released their debut album, xx, in 2009 under the British indie label Young Turks. It received praise from critics in both the UK and America. It made Rolling Stone’s list of Best Albums of 2009 finishing 9th. Songs from the album have been featured on countless television and film productions as well as for sporting event promotions. The band also headlined its own tour in promotion of the album and earned spots at several major North American music festivals in 2010, including Coachella, Sasquatch, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits. In late 2009 though, band member Baria Qureshi left the band turning The xx into a trio.

In 2012 the band once again played the festival circuit in anticipation of their second album, Coexist, which was released on September 5, 2012. Coexist combines The xx’s signature sound and integrates it with a club music feel. Jamie Smith spoke before its release about the club influence on it. It’s definitely noticeable especially on songs like “Sunset” and “Swept Away”. The second album didn’t generate as much success as their debut, but was still highly anticipated.

As I said, their third album comes out tomorrow and once again the band will embark on a touring/festival circuit route for the year. They begin touring in Europe in February, head to South America for their Lollapalooza dates, and then it’s Southern California for Coachella followed by their North American tour with more festivals mixed in along the way. As for the album itself, I’ve only heard the singles that were released early, but I recently read a review from Pitchfork claiming that the album combines classic xx and the growth of each members’ talents. Obviously the challenge for any band or artist with a largely successful album is trying to replicate that success with still being able to grow as musicians and make and play the music that the band or artist wants to create. While there will never be another xx, it’s safe to say that this upcoming album sounds tremendous so far. It even caught my ear early for someone who has listened to The xx here and there throughout the last 5-6 years. Maybe it’s a long shot or maybe it’s not, but I’m predicting some good things for the new album and the band this year.

The xx plays an indie electronic style of music. It can even induce that hypnotic dream pop sound. The xx honestly combines the best of both of my worlds at this point. While searching for upbeat electronic songs to listen to while I work out, I’m constantly wondering if there are any DJ’s out there who have a more indie sound to combine with their electronic music. The xx answers that question for me. They combine guitar with digital/electronic beats and sounds. Though not necessarily the type of music I’d listen to while working out, their music is just what I’ve been looking for.

As I said, I’ve listened to The xx here and there throughout the last 5 years. I first heard them in 2011. I’m pretty sure I heard the song “Intro” while listening to the Foster the People channel on Pandora. Eventually I discovered the song “Islands” and casually enjoyed the song for the past few years. 2 months ago, before I heard about the new album, I added the song “Heart Skipped a Beat” to my newest music on iTunes. Right before I added that song, a friend of mine told me one of her top 5 favorite albums of all time was xx. I forget the other albums she said, but the mentioning of The xx interested me since I knew about them for years without really getting into them. Between the new album and the promotion from my friend of their debut, I’ve developed a recent interest in the group and I was excited to learn that they’re expected to play Coachella this year.

The xx plays Coachella on Friday and by Friday, I totally mean Friday night. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll either take the Main Stage before Radiohead or play a late set on the Outdoor Stage. In fact, The xx playing as the sun sets over the mountains of the Indio desert is probably the most ideal setting imaginable. No matter what setting they play in though, their set will undoubtedly be a great one and one I would surely be at. To prep for it, pick up a copy of I See You tomorrow or listen to some of these songs:

  1. Islands
  2. Intro
  3. Angels
  4. Heart Skipped A Beat
  5. Sunset
  6. Crystalised
  7. VCR