xx – The xx
After meeting at school in 2005, Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Slim, Baria Qureshi and Jamie Smith, known as Jamie xx, used to message each other after curfew with lyrics for their rudimentary songs. Although the group grew after posting a few tracks to their MySpace page, Qureshi left the group, and it wasn’t until the release of their debut album, xx, that the group took off.
xx exhibits a distinct style of indietronica, incorporating an abundance of empty space to help create their notoriously eerie sound. XL Recordings owner Richard Russell forced the group to record the album in the label’s refurbished garage after the employees had left, contributing to the record’s isolated feeling.
Built on the backbone of bass and sparse beats, each song uses simple guitar riffs and hypnotic lyrics to capture listeners. The extra dimensions to this project make it stand out as a staple in dream pop and electronic music.
Tracks to listen to: “Intro,” “VCR,” “Crystalized”
Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy may be the only member of LCD Soundsystem, but the eclectic nature of the one man band’s music makes it difficult to imagine one man made it.
After the success of his debut album, Murphy streamlined his sound on Sound of Silver, cutting out any humor and roughness, opting for a touching sound instead. On every song, Murphy sounds like a seasoned producer of dance hits, but looking deeper, it becomes apparent almost none of these songs should play in a club because of their lyrics and dark messages.
Sound of Silver displays Murphy not just as a glorified producer but a lyricist and songwriter as well. With LCD Soundsystem reuniting at Coachella in April and working on a new release, expectations for a record as impactful as Sound of Silver are abundant.
Tracks to listen to: “Someone Great,” “All My Friends,” “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”