xx marks the spot

If there was a how-to book on cool, indie-pop band The xx could have written it. Or, better yet, have had it cribbed from their lives.

1. Be English.
2. Have names like Romy and Oliver.
3. Have gone to the same school as Hot Chip and FourTet.
4. Shrug off the notion that said school influenced the band.
5. Write dreamy-dancey songs that are simultaneously haunting and soaring, soulful and modern.

Photo from the band’s blog.

Each track on The xx’s Coexist breathes and pulses with longing, with poetic gesture and swoon. There’s white space, there’s rising heat, there’s tension that thrums with its own musicality.

Guitarist Romy Madley Croft and bassist Oliver Sim share singing duties. Croft’s vocal is all halting catches and a shyness overcome by emotionalism. Sim’s voice is duskier, smoother. Together, theirs is a romantic pairing. Breathy and intimate. To listen to the spare duet of “Reunion” is to happen upon a tender moment unfolding.

The xx plays the Orange Peel on Wednesday, Jan. 30. At press time the show is sold out, but if you like what you hear, it might be worth looking for an extra ticket. The opener, Austra, is also a stellar act. That band, an indie-pop-noir outfit from Toronto, played Moogfest in 2011 (photo by Bill Rhodes).


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “xx marks the spot

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.