The xx & Opinions on The Dead Weather

The xx has quietly taken the U.S. by storm. Now we’ve got the British electronic trio live in our studio. Plus Jim and Greg review the new album from The Dead Weather.

The xx
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Exile on Main Street is widely considered The Rolling Stones’ best album and one of the best albums of all time. Jim and Greg would agree. So, it’s no surprise that fans have been clamoring for even the smallest extra bit of insight into the making of the record. Unfortunately, the new Exile reissue does not deliver that. It comes with a deluxe edition of the album, bonus tracks, a documentary DVD and a book, but nothing that would allow a fan to penetrate the mysterious, drug-filled recording sessions. It’s merely a big tease, say Jim and Greg, and nothing approaching the successful model of reissues established by Pet Sounds and Funhouse.

The xx

The xx

This week’s guests are The xx. The young British band released their self-titled debut last year, and it went on to make Greg’s list of top albums of 2009 ( Listen here. Since then their music has appeared in a number of major television shows and ads, and they’re playing Lollapalooza. The group is known for their intimate, call and response sound–one that emerged more out of necessity than art. Bassist and vocalist Oliver Sim explains that neither he nor Romy Madley Croft were confident to sing on their own. But Romy assures us that there’s nothing romantic about their intimacy. The two have been friends since they were small children.

Sea of Cowards The Dead Weather

Sea of Cowards

Jack White might be the new hardest-working man in show business. Not only does he front his original band The White Stripes, but he’s a member of The Raconteurs and most recently The Dead Weather. That group just released its second album in less than a year called Sea of Cowards. White is joined by Alison Mosshart from The Kills on vocals and Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age. But, as Greg explains, it’s White’s stamp that’s all over this record. He does the songwriting and production. Jim hears a lot of enthusiasm in the music, and it holds together more as a project than the self-titled debut. He compares White to Nick Cave—the music is dangerous and enticing and gets a Buy It rating. Greg can’t believe Jim would compare White to Cave—he doesn’t think he has nearly the same songwriting chops. And the songwriting is where Sea of Cowards falls off for Greg. He loves the attitude and sound, but thinks the songs are fragments at best. It gets a Try It.

Jim

During The xx interview, the band spoke of their admiration for Aaliyah. This got Jim thinking about the R&B singer, who died in 2001. As he says, she wasn’t the greatest singer, she wasn’t the most original, but she had real charisma and star power. He adds the track Rock the Boat, from Aaliyah’s third and final self-titled album.

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