It seems we'll be getting new music from The xx sooner than we expected. Exactly one year removed from their stunning sophomore album Coexist, news arrived that the band will start recording LP #3 in early 2014. This comes from the mouth of Jamie xx, who was recently interviewed by Swedish festival blog Festivalrykten. While the band is currently on tour, including numerous festival slots, Jamie said:
We are working on some new songs right now, we have a couple of demos and some sounds. After finishing this tour, we will be doing some separate things, I'll produce and DJ, but we will get back together after New Year’s and start recording our third album."
Let the wait begin. For now, why not indulge in some of The xx's current affairs?
Jamie xx's eerie, droning remix of the Coexist track "Sunset" gets accompanying visuals, taking footage from French television channel Melody. It focuses on old footage of a lone dancer, contorting across the dancefloor as the remix pushes forward with a relentless bassline and echoing percussion. I can't explain why, but something about this video really adds to the depth of the song. Watch it below.
Tame Impala continued their exstensive festival circuit, burning through fan-favorite "Elephant" with as much passion as ever.
Alt-J were there too, causing an uproar of cheers with their intricate An Awesome Wave highlight "Breezeblocks."
The xx took hold of the crowd, performing their emotional and minimal single "Angels." They really are mesmerizing to watch. I witnessed this at Sasquatch!, and you get a good sense of it even by watching a YouTube clip.
Jessie Ware took things in a dancier direction, booming her vocals across the stage with a sensual rendition of "If You’re Never Gonna Move" (formerly known as "110%").
Check out all of these highlights after the jump, and check out more of BBC's coverage of the festival here.
The xx have been busy since releasing Coexist last September, touring extensively and headlining festivals. They've also been curating their own mini-festival, Night + Day. The first took place in Lisbon on May 5th and the second in Berlin on May 18th, and Red Bull Music Academy have posted a nice treat from the latter. Jamie xx performed a 30-minute DJ set during the mini-festivities in Berlin, including remixes of Florence and the Machine, Gil Scott-Heron and more. Stream it below.
At times music, for me anyway, can take me back to a time when I first heard it. Maybe even a time that I was listening and something significant in my life happened. A time when I was maybe doing absolutely nothing but I heard it and upon hearing it again that moment in time returns to the forefront of my mind once again. The xx's "Fiction" was playing last year while I sat reading George RR Martin's A Storm of Swords. Those of you with a television may have recently been watching HBO's Game of Thrones, which is based upon the Martin book series. Well last week's episode was what I was reading when I was listening to this song, and every time I hear it I'm thrown back into that blood filled room, open mouthed at what I'd just read.
The video from The xx however is a far less bloody number and it features Oliver Sim walking around a lovely looking nighttime location. With a black and white aesthetic, it works wonderfully with the track. Check it out above. Also, fuck you Walder Frey.
As the weekend of Sasquatch! festivities continued, the weather got better and so did the overall mood. The sun beamed down and the festival goers were waking up eager to party. The smell of bacon was met with the crack of beer cans opening, and campers were quick to set up ladder golf or throw a frisbee around. Day two was already off to a fantastic start and the nighttime was even better. The xx, Bloc Party, Holy Ghost!, Porcelain Raft, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, a hilarious stand up set by Nick Offerman and more, Saturday really impressed with some of the best performances of the festival. Check out the recap of day two below (and read our recap of day one here).
Photo by Christopher Nelson.
Much of Saturday was spent hanging out in the campgrounds, meeting our neighbours, drinking beer and enjoying the sun, putting us all in a good mood. Spirits were high as well as being consumed, and around two in the afternoon my girlfriend Katherine and I headed off to the festival grounds. Over the next couple of hours, we spent some time in the backstage and media areas doing interviews (these will be appearing on the blog over the next five days) with some fantastic musicians. Everyone we met was so interesting and fun to chat with and that's the feeling I got throughout the whole festival. There was always someone new to meet.
At around 6 o'clock, we made our way to the El Chubacabra tent to see Nick Offerman. For those unfamiliar, get familiar. Offerman is best known for playing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation as well as being married to Megan Mullaly of Will & Grace fame. The guy is hilarious, with a very straightforward, dry Nick Offerman. Photo by Matthew Lamb.delivery, and it all works into his American everyman style. He strutted out without a shirt on, calmly stating, "You were warned that minor nudity was included." Putting on an American flag button-up, he offered attendees his "10 tips for prosperity." He encouraged the consumption of plentiful meat and bread, to practice romantic love and to do it often, as well as the safe use of drugs and intoxicants. He also dished out a few songs on his guitar, and at the end even brought his wife and actress Stephanie Hunt on stage. They did a mashup of Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" and Cypress Hill's "Hits from a Bong" that was simply awesome. You can check out the mashup here, but be warned the sound quality isn't the best.
Next up was Holy Ghost!, who performed at the Honda Bigfoot stage right after Offerman's set. It was good timing and I was really excited to see these guys live again. Rest assured, they did not disappoint. The sun was still bright when Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser tore up their hour-long set. With a full touring band supporting them, they sounded great. Kicking it off with their new single "Dumb Disco Ideas," the New York duo then dished out loud, dancey renditions of "Hold On," "Wait & See," "Do It Again," "Hold My Breath" and pretty much their whole debut album. I didn't stop dancing that whole hour.
Still on a bit of an energy high from Holy Ghost!, we caught the second half of Bloc Party's set at the main stage. While we showed up late, what we did see was fantastic. I caught them last year at Outside Lands Bloc Party. Photo by Christopher Nelson.Festival in San Francisco, and they sounded as good if not better this time around. Sitting comfortably up on the hill, their set sounded so tight and it was a treat hearing songs from all four of their albums. While most of the set was material from Four, hearing old highlights like "Helicopter" was great. They even debuted a new song titled "Ratchet." Crowds were high-energy for this one.
With a bit of free time on our hands, we caught a short bit of Porcelain Raft at the Yeti stage. I had never seen Mauro Remiddi live but I really enjoyed his debut album Strange Weekend, so I was excited to find out what he sounded like in person. After hearing both "Drifting In And Out" and "Put Me To Sleep" I was very impressed. Remiddi's dreamy tunes sound great live, floating effortlessly through your eardrums. After what I heard, I was sad to leave, but The xx was waiting right around the corner.
Heading back to the Sasquatch stage, we prepared for The xx. Tucking into the left side of the stage, we made our way into the crowd and up to the front left. With a great, up-close view, we parked ourselves inRomy and Oliver of The xx. Photo by Christopher Nelson. place. As the band walked on stage the sun was giving us it's final minutes of light, giving way to the band's dark attire and stunning light show. All I can say is these three blew me away. Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie xx know how to build and atmosphere and completely own a crowd. Their stage presence is minimal and quietly charming, and for good reason. They let their instruments and sounds do the talking, using heavy bass kicks, explosive claps, rolling basslines and dazzling light arrangements to put you in a trance. It was so mesmerizing to see and hear "Reunion" live, being carefully strung along by the slowly-encompassing atmosphere. "VCR" was met with roaring applause, and then complete silence as the crowd gave way to the music. As was "Islands." As was "Swept Away." "Angels." "Crystalised." Seriously, it was like that with every song. I had no expectations going into it, but I left that stage in awe.
Walking away from the main stage, my mind was lost, still in a daze. We wandered to the El Chupacabra for a change of scenery. It was a drastic shift going from the minimalist beauty of The xx to the pulse-pounding electronic beats of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. That didn't matter. My excitement for TEED quickly took over. Easily securing a spot against the front barrier, our eardrums were met with a barrage of pulsating bass and synthesized sounds. Surrounded by flashing lights, he kept the crowd moving for an hour straight, never letting go. TEED assaulted the senses with a well-paced set, and fans responded with high-energy dancing. He threw down tracks both old and (mostly) new, including "Your Love," "American Dream Pt. II," "Garden," "Stronger" and more. This was my first taste of electronic music at the festival, and it was so good.
Following TEED's set I had a ton of energy, so my friends and I bounced around to different stages for a while. First, we headed to the main stage, reaching the crest of the hill overlooking the tail end of Sigur Rós' set. The view was beautiful. A clear black sky speckled by stars dominated while the band doled out their final songs. It was a brief visit to the main stage—only 10 minutes—but it was a mellowing follow-up to TEED. My attention was occupied by something else, though, as Sigur Rós' quieter presence lost out to Tame Impala's raucous sounds at the nearby Yeti stage. We brashly decided that the party should continue and headed in that direction.
Tame Impala were supposed to perform at the Honda Bigfoot stage at 10pm, but due to their gear arriving late they were moved to an 11:15 set at the much smaller Yeti stage. That didn't matter, though. By the time we arrived at Yeti, the crowd was massive. Thousands of dedicated fans amassed around the stage, and the band responded with a fuckin' rowdy set. They brought songs from both Innerspeaker and Lonerism and Empire of the Sun. Photo by Matthew Lamb.unleashed them in loud, blistering fashion upon us, enveloping vocalist Kevin Parker's fragile vocals in warm, psychedelic sounds. It was incredible to hear "Elephant" roar to life, causing the excitement level to explode, and to lose yourself in "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" as it drifts along in a dream-like manner. The highlight was easily the end of their set, as "Solitude Is Bliss" so very loudly echoed from the stage, leaving everyone with the words "You will never come close to how I feel" etched into their minds.
Still feeling the reverberation of Tame Impala course through my body, we set our sights on the final show of the night: Empire of the Sun. Gladly choosing this band over Laidback Luke's set at El Chupacabra, I prepared for the bright, colorful extravagance of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore. That's exactly what we got. Booming explosions of light and smoke introduced the band, donned in absurd outfits and accompanied by bizarre dancers. Apparently, they needed over an hour to prepare the stage and costuming for the show, and it certainly showed. This is pure showmanship, with stage-wide visual wonderment. The music was fantastic too. It was great to finally hear "Standing on the Shore," "We Are The People," "Half Mast" and "Walking on a Dream" live, but it was the new material that really stood out. "Alive" was anthemic and the whole crowd was chanting along energetically, while brand new songs from their upcoming album Ice on the Dune really showcased a catchy '80s dance vibe. I did get the sense that their was a lot lip-syncing going on, but I admit I didn't care because it was so bright and theatrical and fun. Fuck... is that a bad thing? It was just so good!
Day two really showcased all of what Sasquatch! has to offer: amazing music diversity, stunning vistas and weather as well as tons of memorable experiences. It was a day full of continuous high notes, amazing performances and ridiculous fun, and the story continues tomorrow with a recap of day three.
Only two days left until Sasquatch! begins. Tomorrow and the next day will see thousands of avid music fans journeying to The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, WA, prepping their campsites, stocking up on alcohol and drugs in anticipation of dozens of amazing performances. This year's lineup boasts some fantastic talent, such as The xx, Vampire Weekend, Sigur Rós, The Postal Service, Disclosure, Arctic Monkeys, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros and many, many more. It's a lineup worth salivating over.
As the festival quickly approaches, I've put together a list of some of the best acts playing each of the four nights. Each band comes with some recommended listening, because there is no better way to prepare for a festival than sampling what each band has to offer, whether you know them or not. Check out our most anticipated artists for days one and two below, with days three and four to follow tomorrow.
Day One (Friday):
Japandroids - 6:05-7:05pm @Honda Bigfoot
This Vancouver duo knows how to get a crowd moving. With their raucous, anthemic sound, Japandroids are sure to get the party started right.
Father John Misty - 7:30-8:30pm @Honda Bigfoot
Former member of Fleet Foxes and Saxon Shore, J. Tillman now performs under the moniker Father John Misty. His soulful folk ballads would be perfectly paired with a beer in one hand and a joint in the other. Don't forget your lighter for this one.
Arctic Monkeys - 8:30-9:45pm @Sasquatch
The Sheffield four-piece are no strangers to the big stage. They'll be rockin' it out on the main stage for an hour and fifteen minutes, plenty of time for you to get fucked up amidst a rowdy crowd. There's no doubt a mosh pit will start during their set.
Youth Lagoon - 8:30-9:45pm @Yeti
Trevor Powers will bring his dreamy, weird soundscapes to the Sasquatch! crowd on Friday night. If you're not in the mood for Arctic Monkeys, this one will surely attract a more experimental crowd. Don't freak out if you come across a few people on mushrooms.
Vampire Weekend - 9:45-11:15pm @Honda Bigfoot
With Modern Vampires of the City now out, Vampire Weekend will have three albums worth of material to unleash on festival goers. Expect more than just ivy league ballads, as the New York outfit have expanded their sound in a fantastic way.
Day Two (Saturday):
Andrew Bird - 5:55-6:55pm @Sasquatch
While his last album Hands of Glory wasn't his best, we can expect he'll dish out tracks from throughout his career, including last year's amazing Break It Yourself. Relax on the hill, drink and smoke merrily, and let Andrew Bird usher in a beautiful sunset at The Gorge.
Holy Ghost! - 6:50-7:50pm @Honda Bigfoot
Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel proudly carry the DFA torch, bringing the classic nu-disco style defined by LCD Soundsystem to the west coast. I've seen these guys before, and they know how to get a crowd dancing. They're also releasing a new album later this year, so expect them to perform new material.
Bloc Party - 7:25-8-25pm @Sasquatch
Bloc Party is one of those bands that lives on through a certain nostalgia. Every fan has that one album that they clung to during the angsty teenage years, or that first time you saw Kele Okereke and co. live and couldn't hold back your excitement. They strive off it, but it doesn't hold them back. Their latest album Four was aggressive, loud and overall really fucking good. If you haven't seen these guys perform before, you're in for a treat.
Porcelain Raft - 7:40-8:40pm @Yeti
Mauro Remiddi's debut album Strange Weekend is a highlight amongst the often tiresome dreampop genre, an LP that is so mesmerizing that it refuses to become stale. It's so catchy and unique, and hopefully that translates to a great live show.
Divine Fits - 8:15-9:15pm @Honda Bigfoot
How can you go wrong when you bring together talent from Spoon, Wolfmother and Handsome Furs? Divine Fits pulls the best aspects of those bands, yet brings something more. It's raw and experimental, combining rock 'n' roll and synthesized elements that never overpower one another. Every instrument and sound complements each other perfectly, something that will surely shine during their live performance.
The xx - 9:00-10:15pm @Sasquatch
Atmosphere is all you need to know about The xx. Their moody, minimalist approach is enough to turn the rowdiest of crowds into a mass of hypnotized converts. Don't miss this performance.
Sigur Rós - 11:00-12:30am @Sasquatch
Much like The xx, Sigur Rós strives on the atmosphere they create. Their ethereal sound is simply beautiful, something you can so easily become lost in. The band is also releasing a new album next month, so make sure to pay attention for new material.
Tame Impala - 10:00-11:00pm @Honda Bigfoot
This Australian outfit is damn good live. Like, damn good. Their brand of psychedelic rock is fantastic no matter the setting, and a warm summer night at The Gorge sounds like the perfect place. Unfortunately, the band's bassist Nick Allbrook said farewell earlier this week, being replaced by Pond member Cam Avery. Don't expect Tame Impala to sound any less amazing, though.
Despite his name coming across as that of a stately professor, Orlando Higginbottom owns the dancefloor with his bass-heavy beats. He is a highlight in this year's crop of electronic artists, bringing a unique brand of synthesized flavor to the El Chupacabra dance tent. If you're in the mood for dancing, this is the right artist for you.
Empire of the Sun - 12:30-1:30am @Honda Bigfoot
Capping off Saturday night is the flashy and theatrical Empire of the Sun. Slipping into the early hours of the morning, this show will no doubt keep you awake and ready to party. If their recent performance of "Alive" is any indiciation, this show will be weird, bright and extremely awesome.
There's been a lot of love lately for Stardust's lone hit single "Music Sounds Better With You" (see Giraffage's fantastic remix here), and that continued last night. During The xx-led Night + Day concert in Berling, the band brought fellow Londoner Jessie Ware onstage to help them with a unique cover of the song. Ware's vocals add a touch of sensuality to The xx's atmospheric instrumentation. Let's hope a studio version hits the web soon. For now, you can watch the live version below.
The next and final Night + Day concert takes place at London's Hatfield House, with The xx leading a bill that includes performances from Solange, Poliça, Kindness and Mount Kimbie.