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Stream The xx’s new I See You LP, see them at the Skyline Stage this spring

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The xx | Photo by Laura Coulson

Today marks the release of a new record from English electro-pop outfit The xx, their third full-length and a follow-up to 2012’s Coexist. Along with previously-shared singles “Hold On” and “Say Something Loving” the tracks on I See You build on the introspective, sparse worlds of the trio’s other efforts with themes of friendship, growing up, and loss. It sparkles like the best of their work, especially the xx-reminiscent “Brave For You,” but also introduces new sonic personalities like the horn-accented opener “Dangerous.”

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On Hold: The xx, Slowdive and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

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The xx | Photo by Laura Coulson

The Indie Rock Hit Parade is back in your face tonight at 11pm ET on XPN! Be sure to listen after What’s The Frequency??? with John Vettese for a full two-hour show that’s buckling under the weight of so many new songs. We’ll hear from newcomer groups like Cherry Glazerr, The Proper Ornaments and Landlady, along with new releases from established favorites like The Feelies, Slowdive and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Plus the IRHP Album Spotlight is back for another round in the midnight hour, where we’ll hear a few selections from The xx‘s newly released I See You.

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Just Announced: The xx will bring I See You to the Skyline Stage in May

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The XX | Photo by Laura Coulson

Seven years after many of us were introduced to them by way of Apollo Ohno speedskating to “Intro,” The xx return with their third LP in tow. I See You is set for release on January 13th via Young Turks and the record now has a supporting tour that brings the London electro / dream pop trio to The Skyline Stage at The Mann on May 17th.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Colin Stetson at First Unitarian Church, Jukebox the Ghost at World Cafe Live, The xx at World Cafe Live at the Queen and more

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He’s played with Bon Iver and Arcade Fire, but you probably won’t recognize him by name. The multi-talented saxaphonist Colin Stetson who’s played with the two has released a record of his own called New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light back in May and is still promoting it. Check him out tonight at First Unitarian Church. Tonight’s show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $15.

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Photo Recap: The xx and Austra at The Electric Factory

UK downbeat electronic group The xx played for a sold-out crowd at The Electric Factory last night, making up for a rescheduled date from back in October. The band played songs from its 2012 album coexist, as well as its 2009 self-titled debut, and was preceded by an opening set from Toronto synth pop artist Austra. Check out a recap of the evening in the photo gallery above.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Michaela Majoun’s five most sonically addictive songs of 2012

For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, XPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun shares her five most sonically addictive songs of 2012.

By which I mean songs you just can’t get out of your head, not necessarily because of lyrical content or musical depth, but because of a sound that hooks you.  I suspect it has something to do with repetition and viscerally-felt clapping or drum noise and the other things noted below. There are studies about why music is addictive – read more here and here. Continue reading →

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Stream The xx’s Coexist via NPR Music (playing the Electric Factory on Oct. 29)

The downbeat electronic three-piece The xx releases Coexist, the followup to its 2009 self-titled debut, next Tuesday September 11, with a U.S. tour following that brings it to the Electric Factory on Monday October 29. Today, NPR Music premiered the album on its First Listen series. NPR’s Stephen Thompson had this to say:

The London band invests these 11 songs with real, bruised emotion, whether Romy Madley Croft is exposing her lovesick nerves in “Angels” or she and Oliver Sim are exuding wounded regret in “Sunset.” In “Missing”… Sim brings his ache to the front of the mix, singing, “My heart is beating in a different way” as Croft’s voice swirls behind him.

In the months and years to come, Coexist‘s songs are bound to be reworked, chopped to bits and remixed around ever more insistent dance beats. So now is a perfect chance to soak them up in their purest form: delicately crafted so that every softly ringing note, and every aching second of dead air, hits like a cymbal crash.

Dig into the icy textures and breathtaking minimalism of Coexist here; tickets are available for the Electric Factory show here.