The xx’s Gorgeous New ‘I Dare You’ Video Stars Millie Bobby Brown, Ashton Sanders, & Paris Jackson

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The xx’s new music video, for their song “I Dare You,” brings together a legenedary creative team to paint a colorful, invigorating video that’s basically Ferris Bueller meets Calvin Klein F/W 17. That’s because director Alasdair McLellan collaborated with CK creative director Raf Simons on the project, and employed the talents of some of fashion and entertainment’s brightest up-and-comers to be in the video: Millie Bobby Brown, Ashton Sanders, Paris Jackson, Lulu, and Ernesto Cervantes.

The video is “our love letter to Los Angeles,” the band said, “a city close to our hearts where we wrote and recorded parts of our album I See You.”

It’s the third video the xx has done with McLellan, and their first time with Simons contributing creative direction.

“It was amazing to work with both of them and such a pleasure to meet and work with Millie, Paris, Ashton, Lulu and Ernesto,” they continued. “Thank you to Calvin Klein and everyone involved.”

The video sees the five young stars playing hooky and visiting a haunted spot in Los Angeles where they slow dance next to a swimming pool. It’s romantic, lo-fi magic, and you can watch it right now, below:

The xx Release Gorgeous Doc Film About Their Night + Day Festival

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Following the success of their seven-day “Night + Day” festival in South London’s Brixton Academy, the xx have released a documentary short film of the same name, providing private insight into the record-breaking music event.

“Night + Day” featured concerts, talks, film screenings, and community events – collaborators in the festival included Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, Robyn, and Jehnny Beth of Savages, all of whom are included in the doc.

“Coming back to Brixton and just seeing how everyone just co-exists really beautifully, I love that,” says the xx’s Romy Croft in the film. “‘Night + Day’ was originally just an idea to do something a bit different, and a bit more than just a gig. To be honest, we didn’t know that these Brixton shows were going to become ‘Night + Day’ – it just sort of happened in an organic way because we were suddenly playing all these shows.”

Take a look at the 21-minute doc below:

The xx’s New Video For ‘Say Something Loving’ is a Loving Tribute to London Youth

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The xx have released the retro new vid for their song “Say Something Loving,” off their third studio album, I See You. The video, directed by acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Alasdair McLellan, presents a lo-fi portrait of young love in London: there’s depictions of queer couples in arcades, skate parks, and parties, and a glimmering image of the sun setting behind the city’s silhouetted skyline.

“We wanted to celebrate our home town and revisit some of the places that remind us of our friendship when we were growing up,” said the band of the video, a love letter to their hometown. “We’re so happy to be back home and so excited to begin our Night + Day residency in Brixton this week!”

Watch the full video below:

Tomorrow the xx launch their Night + Day Festival in London, which last over a week, before embarking on a tour across North America that will include stops headlining Lollapalooza and Coachella. Tickets for their upcoming shows are available here.

Watch The xx’s New Black-and-White Video for “Fiction”

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With their spaced-out melancholic tunes, The xx are the perfect sonic accompaniment for lonesome wandering through the night, swaying gently under the moon, or rolling around the sheets on summer’s night. You hear their particular brand of downtrodden yet catchy pop and feel like sinking into an atmosphere a little darker, slipping into something more comfortable, and moving at a languid pace.

And with their new video for "Fiction" off Coexist, we see lead singer Oliver Sam meandering from a sparse looking home out into nature, dancing ever-so-slightly, dragging his feet along the dusty terrtain, and mournfully pondering his lovelorn self. Shared today by the band, their video for "Fiction" plays out  with a sikly black-and-white texture perfectly fitting for their signature sound, directed by Young Replicant.

See for yourself below.

An Awesome French House Tribute From Jessie Ware and The xx

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Over the weekend, The xx’s Night + Day festival series, a curated day of live acts organized in the wake of their most recent album, hit Berlin’s Spreepark. The day featured performances from Mount Kimbie, The Chromatics, Mykki Blanco and, of course, The xx themselves. But the highlight of the set, via this video from Hannah Marshall (and shared by Pitchfork), came when the headliners brought out a special guest, rising British R&B star Jessie Ware. 

The xx launched into what appeared to be a medley of internationally beloved French house classics from the late ’90s and early oughties. The xx kicks things off with an interpretation of Modjo’s "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" in the typical, subtle, moody xx style. Then, they bring on Ware, who brings power and light to Stardust’s "Music Sounds Better With You" and busts this medley wide open. The rest of it goes on rather pleasantly, but for Ware’s entrance alone, it’s worth a watch and a listen.

The xx Release New Track for ‘Gatsby’ Soundtrack, ‘Together’

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Another week, and The Great Gatsby hype snowball rolls faster and gains more circumference. And, following the releases of new jams from the packed, Jay-Z-helmed soundtrack including Florence + The Machine’s big and loud "Over the Love," we’ve got another new offering this week.

This time, the new track comes from oh-so-relaxing British Medical Association-approved sleep aids The xx. It’s called “Together,” and it’s very gentle and slow-burning and nice, which are all adjectives one could use to describe a lot of songs by The xx.

The only thing is that after trailers featuring the bumping “No Church in the Wild” and the weird, yowling Filter cover of “Happy Together,” as well as bolder soundtrack offerings, and given the general over-the-top nature of Gatsby himself, Baz Luhrmann and, from first impressions, this movie, the track almost seems too subtle for something so totally, well, unsubtle. Listen below.

Listen to ‘The Great Gatsby’ Soundtrack Sampler

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The Great Gatsby as told by Baz Luhrmann is a mixed bag, with 3D effects and overblown sets and probably acting adding who knows what to an already excellent story. Can you tell I’m not sold on this yet? Well, as we gleefully look forward to what will certainly be the movie event of the spring, let’s take a break from all of the trailers and posters and listen to snippets from the soundtrack. With musical direction from Jay-Z, the album is all over the place. First of all, there’s the anticipated cover of "Back to Black" performed by Beyoncé and André 3000. And there’s also a new songs from Lana Del Rey, Sia, The xx, and Jack White. Plus a ’20s-inspired cover of Beyoncé’s "Crazy in Love." (Alright, I’m officially eye-rolling over this Pastiche for Dummies collection.) But at the very end of the day, I know I’m pumped that Fergie and GoonRock finally got it together.

Weekend Recovery: ‘Sunset’ Remix

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The xx already make music ideal for pulling the covers up to your chin and ignoring the world for a few hours more. “Sunset,” off of last year’s ultimately underrated Coexist, is a hushed, subzero kind of song—and here it gets a bit stirred up by Kim Ann Foxman, who was previously a part of Hercules & Love Affair.

And who says all dance music has to be abrasive bangers? Foxman’s take on “Sunset” preserves all the up-close dialogue and complicates the beat with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. In the end, she’s warming up the song itself, pulling it out of its desolation.

(I won’t try to explain what the video for this depicts. Just know that it’s weird and pretty, and very soothing.)

 

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Robert DeLong is an EDM Artist on the Rise

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Seattle-born, L.A.-based singer-songwriter Robert DeLong has a flare for the alternative. In a good way. The 26 (soon to be 27)-year-old EDM mastermind, dubbed a Young Artist to Watch by MTV, has the music scene in his hands—quite literally. Indeed, among the myriad instruments he manages to maneuver during performances are Wiimotes and Joysticks, rigged like MIDIs and adding edge to his already memorable brand of booty movin’ tunes.

Seriously, though, this whiz kid’s got the chops and multitasks better than the best of us—in front of an audience, no less. He’s a one-man-band who sings, drums, and fiddles with game controllers and keyboards, sometimes going so far as to incorporate guitar, too. His live set is something to behold, a sweaty mid-twenties talent, hair slicked down in an exaggerated comb-over, putting every effort into churning out original numbers while keeping the beat.

“I’m always writing songs,” says DeLong, whose debut album, Just Movement, drops today. Makes sense, since he constantly rocked out in bands back in high school. Now he’s signed to Glassnote, label to the likes of Phoenix and Mumford & Sons.

Recently, DeLong released a video to accompany his catchy track “Global Concepts.” The visual rendition of this f-bomb laden rhythmic ditty features a foggy interior, warehouse-like, smoke somewhat obscuring the agile dancers in the background. Tube lights suspended from above flicker and flash whilst DeLong engages in various aspects of performing, most notably wandering around and gesticulating with Wiimote or drumsticks in hand, or hitting his steel drum to excellent tribal effect as he marches subtly in place. Towards the end, the space is overrun with revelers, morphing into an all-out party you wish you’d been invited to. (The platinum blonde mop you may glimpse amid the shadows belongs to talented dancer James Koroni, the individual responsible for my introduction to and fast fandom of DeLong.)

Another nuance unique to DeLong is his affinity for orange, which he wears with pride in the shape of an “x,” big and bold on a classic black tee, as well as painted with precision on his cheekbone in the shape of a lightening bolt. More on this defining aesthetic to follow.

New Yorkers can catch DeLong in action on February 15 when, as part of a greater tour, he plays The Studio at Webster Hall. Festivalgoers will have several opportunities to indulge as well, from SXSW to Coachella, Ultra to Governors Ball.

Not long ago I sat down with the confident up-and-comer at The Commons Chelsea, one of my favorite neighborhood haunts, where over iced tea we discussed the multi-instrumentalist’s inspiration, interest in hacking HIDs, and what it all means.

What’s it like being dubbed a Young Artist to Watch?
It’s great. I grew up watching MTV, so it’s cool. Wild ride. Exciting. Surreal.

How have people reacted? Any super fans?
Nothing too weird so far. But, it’s definitely getting weirder. After the video came out, all of a sudden friends from high school started reaching out, sending messages. It’s fun to hear from people I haven’t heard from in years. But, it’s just funny.

I bet. Did you always know you were going to go into music?
Near the end of high school I knew I was going to do music. I started out thinking I was going to be in science or something. But, I was better at [music]. I think people knew I was a musician, but I don’t know if people knew I was into electronic music and that I was going to go that route.

What would you be doing if not this?
Since college, all of my jobs have been music related. I taught drum lessons, so that was my thing. If it wasn’t music at all, I guess I’d be going to school.

To become a scientist.
Yeah, I guess. [Laughs]

So, tell me more about this Wiimote rewiring…
You can hack [a] human interface device, anything from Gamepads to Joysticks, and turn it into a MIDI. Basically, the idea is you’re just sending information to a computer and can turn it into whatever you want. It’s the same thing as having a knob, slider, drum pad. It’s all the same if you can hack it and make it work for you. I found out you could do it, it seemed interesting and it’s cheaper than buying a bunch of expensive musical equipment. And it’s fun, people like it.

How many instruments do you have up onstage with you?
Three different electronic things, two computers, game pad, Joystick, Wiimote, six pieces of percussion, drum set, keyboard. Like, 15-20 things. Sometimes I’ll have a guitar. Oh, and two microphones.

Wow. That’s a lot for one guy to keep track of. So, are all your shows like the last time you performed in New York? No pauses between songs, stuff like that?
The show is always continuous and flows together. When I do a longer set, there’s more drumming. I play guitar sometimes, too. It’s high-paced. Jumping around doing a lot of different things.

I’m getting that vibe. You sampled Moby when you last played live in NYC. Have you been a long time fan of his?
When his album Play came out, I was probably, like, 12. That was when I first started experimenting with making electronic music, because it was kind of accessible, mainstream electronic music for the time. It was kind of something I grew up with.

Aww, an audible homage. Thoughts on our fair city?
I love this city, but Manhattan is a little terrifying. And it’s a little colder here. Do prefer the warm. Other than that, it’s beautiful. It’s awesome. Good people.

Who else besides Moby inspired or inspires you?
The songs on the album especially are an amalgamation of a lot of songs over the last four years, so it’s a wide variety of things. I grew up in Seattle, so there’s the whole indie singer-songwriter vibe that I kind of grew up with, like Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service, Modest Mouse. I think you can hear that whole Seattle sound in the way I write melodies. As far as things I’m listening to a lot right now, I’m listening to Lucy and Sports. I also grew up listening to a lot of Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Talking Heads. Those are some of my constant jams.

Can you tell me what inspired the lyrics behind “Just Movement”?
“Just Movement,” the first track, is sort of the thesis statement for the album. It was written right after college, a time of mental exploring. Just movement: the idea that, if you take this reductionist perspective, everything we do is just atoms moving around. It’s all meaningless. But, once you break it down, where do you go from there? Just movement, the double entendre. Dancing, philosophy. Take it or leave it.

Have you yourself always been into dancing? I’m thinking, too, of “Global Concepts”…
I go out dancing a lot. Do a lot of jumping around on stage. I think that’s an awesome thing. It’s the oldest response to music that human beings had, so it only makes sense to think about that. For a long time I was in the indie scene and no one dances. Everyone looks at their feet.

[Laughs] Shoegaze. How would you describe the music scene in L.A.?
It’s actually pretty cool. There’s definitely a burgeoning DIY electronic scene in Los Angeles. L.A.’s big. There’s always something happening. You can always see new music. It’s good stuff.

So, how did the face painting start?
The whole thing was a group of me and my friends called the Tribe of Orphans, a bunch of people who hang out and go to dance events and stuff. It kind of just evolved over time. My girlfriend Heidi face paint[s] at shows.

So she’s your professional face painter. Does she paint in real life?
Besides face painting she does studio painting and stuff, so it’s great.

Why orange?
Initially? That’s the color paint that shows up the best under black light. It glows the brightest.

Has anyone ever said something to you about your “x” symbol? How it very much resembles the “x” symbol of The xx?
Yeah, people have said that before.

Does it piss you off?
It does a little bit. It doesn’t really. I didn’t even know about them, that that was their symbol. The “x” just was kind of an organic development. My girlfriend had painted it on my headphones probably three years ago or something, so it was before that first The xx album came out. It was just kind of a simultaneous [thing]. We both did it. And then they became famous first. It’s just an “x.” It is what it is.

Emblem wars aside, what’s the greatest challenge of all this?
I think the greatest challenge is to not get sick all the time from running around. But, I have a lot of energy and this is what I wanted to do, so it’s all working out. So far. I get to do what I love. I love playing shows. That’s what it’s all about.

Photo by Miles Pettengell