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The xx

The meaning of «the xx»

The xx are an English indie pop band from Wandsworth, London, formed in 2005.[1] The band consists of Romy Madley Croft (guitar, vocals), Oliver Sim (bass guitar, vocals), Jamie Smith, also known as Jamie xx (beats, MPC, record production), and formerly Baria Qureshi (keyboard, guitar). They are known for their distinct and minimalist sound that blends indie pop, indie electronic, indie rock, dream pop and electro-rock and the dual vocalist setup of both Croft and Sim. Their music employs soft, echoed guitar, prominent bass, light electronic beats and ambient soundscape backgrounds.

The band was formed when Croft and Sim met during their time at Elliott School, with Baria Qureshi joining the same year and Smith a year later. After posting demos on their Myspace page, they drew the attention of the Beggars Group-owned label Young Turks. Working with producer Rodaidh McDonald, the band released their debut album, xx, in August 2009. The album was a commercial and critical success, reaching number three on the UK Albums Chart,[2] ranking first for The Guardian's and second for NME's best of the year lists among others,[3][4] and winning the Mercury Prize in 2010. After their debut, Qureshi was released from the group and their second album, Coexist, was released on 5 September 2012 to positive reviews, reaching number one in the UK and number five on the Billboard 200.[2][5] After a four-year lapse between releases, including Smith's solo debut in 2015, In Colour, the band released their third album, I See You, on 13 January 2017, which debuted to critical acclaim and peaked at number one in the UK and number two on the Billboard 200.[2][6]

The band members met while studying at Elliott School, the same school attended by Hot Chip, Burial, Four Tet, actor Pierce Brosnan and singer Matt Monro.[7] The group has downplayed the influence of the school on its career: "A teacher from Elliott who had never even taught us said how great we were. It's a bit annoying. We were left alone, more than anything – although I'm sure that helped us in its own way."[8] Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft started the band as a duo when they were 15. Guitarist Baria Qureshi joined once it began performing in 2005, with Jamie Smith, also known as Jamie xx, joining a year after. Smith, although schoolfriends with Croft, Sim and Qureshi, joined the band after being formally introduced by Young Turks.[9][10]

The xx's debut album xx was released on 14 August 2009 through the British independent record label Young Turks,[11] and was met with critical acclaim. The album ranked on best of the year lists, ranking ninth on the Rolling Stone list and second for NME.[4][12] In the 2009 NME The Future 50 list, the xx was positioned at number six, and in October 2009, it was named one of MTV Iggy's "Top 10 Bands with Buzz" (at the CMJ Music Marathon 2009).[13][14] "Crystalised" was featured on iTunes (UK) as Single of the Week, starting from 18 August 2009.

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