Over The xx
The xx are a coed London trio whose 2009 debut album seemed to come out of nowhere. A note-perfect distillation of super-slow indie pop swathed in ambient reverb and sparkling minimalism, it hardly seemed the kind of thing that four 20-year-olds would come up with, but they did, from songwriting to production. The band members met as teenagers at Elliott School and by summer 2009, on the eve of their album's release, NME proclaimed them a next-big-thing. Business as usual for the U.K. pop scene, maybe, but rarely does a band this subtle get anointed as such a hot property. Influenced by slowcore mope-rockers Low as well as the 2-step scavenging electro-poppers Junior Boys, the xx also suggest a '50s rock 'n' roll sensibility (albeit via Chris Isaak), but their intuitive grasp of low-end suggests more in common with dubstep's bass worship. This is a band with range and an almost scary sense of self-control to match.