Following the announcement of their anticipated performance at Coachella this year, The xx have announced their huge North American tour. Kicking off April 23rd in Portland, OR, Jamie xx and company will make stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, New York, Toronto and more, until the tour concludes where it started (well…kind of) at the end of May in Portland, ME.
Whether you catch them at Coachella, or one of the many dates on their coast-to-coast Portland to Portland tour, The xx will surely deliver. Fan pre-sale begins on January 10th, so be sure to grab yours fast before they are all gone.
Peep The xx’s entire set of tour dates below and visit their official website for more ticket information.
Move over Miami, because Chicago may be the new premiere city for EDM, as today React Presents’ electronic mega-festival, Spring Awakening has just announced its 2016 lineup, and it’s epic. Performing at the Chicago festival this year, at its new location of Addams/Medill Park, will be deadmau5, The Chainsmokers, Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki, Kaskade, Zeds Dead, Jamie xx, RL Grime and many more. A festival lineup that EDM fans could only dream of.
This year the festival will take place from June 10th through the 12th and will host 5 stages total (with 6 branded stages, 2 each day). Tickets are on-sale for Spring Awakening now, so get them before it’s too late!
Narrowing down 365 days of great music to a list of 30 records is near impossible, but we figured it out! With a lot of amazing tracks not making the cut, we have put together our list of the 30 best tracks of this past year. From epic collaborations to Soundcloud released diss records, our list has a little bit of everything. A few veterans dominated our list this year, but a lot of emerging artists found spots high on our list as well. We won’t spoil too much for you, check out the Top 30 Tracks of 2015 below and send us a tweet @TheEarlyReg to tell us what you think!
Following an arguably weak year for albums, 2015 has seen a lot of great projects and many unexpected ones as well. While this year we saw the highly anticipated return of Adele, patient fans are still awaiting Frank Ocean’s sophomore album and Kanye West’s Swish. But where Frank and Kanye have left music fans hanging, new comers like Bryson Tiller, Alessia Cara, GoldLink, BOOTS, Halsey and more have put out some great albums to help kick off their relatively young careers. 2015 though was also a great year for some heavyweights, of course we’re referring to artists like Drake, Future, Kendrick Lamar and even pop superstars like One Direction and Justin Bieber. In just one day, November 13th, the music world saw more great releases than it did in a span of months in 2014. Cheers to hoping 2016 delivers as well as 2015 did!
What’s in a genre, anyway? Genres themselves can usually be constricting and compact in general, conveying a sense of inflexibility and generally puts walls around the sound being described. When things are ever experimental, it’s usually a conspicuous and sharp reach for something more, yet for English-producer Jamie xx, it’s a little different. With Jamie xx’s first step away from his group The xx, he has released a record that boasts sonics that are perfectly mingled, experimental in a sophisticated way, and minimalistic while still colourful. With a refreshing and stimulating take on one of modern music’s most staple instruments, the sampler machine, Jamie xx’s debut album In Colour is able to reinvent the wheel in the most pleasing and unconventional ways possible.
After listening to this record, it becomes very clear that Jamie has a very specific yet eclectic ear, one that varies and reaches only to collect and add to a cohesive piece and aesthetic. In this respect, Jamie is flawlessly able to pull features from Young Thug, Popcaan, and bandmates Romy and Oliver Sim while having nothing look astray. The album starts with the building and jittery ‘Gosh’, with a clanging percussion based beat built around a sample built from old BBC Radio sessions. The beat never really builds and breaks, but instead swells and cracks to reveal shining synths that pierce through the fading percussion. It’s an intro that is as subtle as it is genius, and doesn’t overuse the sample in a dance-y way a la Les Sins or Hudson Mohawke. ‘The Rest Is Noise’ pulses at a similar pace, but uses more traditional chords to build on to the crisp claps. The short interlude ‘Just Saying’ toots and whistles below layers of reverb and filters, fading in and out of a key-based melody and a faint talking sample.
Not everything here is subtle and ambient, though. ‘Seesaw’ bounces at a tempo that frequent collaborator Romy is usually not accustomed to, but her voice is filtered above and beneath the beat in a fashion not far from fellow British-producer James Blake’s wheelhouse. What becomes more and more evident, however, is the contrast between this record and Jamie’s previous production cues with The xx and even with his Gil-Scott Heron remix-album, We’re New Here. On those records, his sounds seemed more muted and controlled, where here, once the track flows and progresses, it breaks into colourful blends of disco, dance, and garage. The undeniable summer banger ‘I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)’ is a brilliant example. Popcaan sounds at home atop the bright and vibrant baseline, while Young Thug sounds unusually excited and joyous, bringing more of his lighthearted Barter 6 flow to the track. Where Jamie might build a space of intimacy and closeness with his straightforward song structures, he is also able to effortlessly craft catchy and even anthemic jams with the help of his excellently executed vocal features on the album.
That, in a way, is where the real genius is found on this record. While a lot of gripes with The xx have been the bland vocals and songwriting, specifically pointing at the lack of range and emotion used on tracks in general, Jamie xx is able to solicit emotion with his brilliant, shimmering production cues, making the most simple and even grotesque loops seem beautiful and compelling. ‘Hold Tight’ features a weird, off-beat loop of some kind of dialogue, but the shuttering synths and hard 808s behind it make it seem so interesting and thoughtful. ‘Sleep Sound’ is able to use samples in a similar fashion, this time by burying it beneath layers of reverb and filters while layering it between distorted harps and soft percussion that rises and floats at beat breaks. It masterfully balances the vibes of dancing your heart out in a poorly lit club in a tight room with the intimacy of sitting at your laptop with your headphones on.
If In Colour is anything, it’s lustrous balance—in the most refreshing way. It’s balancing dancehall with trap, indie with soul, and dance with trip hop. The record finds it’s pinnacle moments side by side with samples of all shapes and sizes, while Jamie is also able to impress with his brilliantly tamed drums and minimalist bass lines. It’s able to be polished and beautiful yet it exists in a space that would be best heard in grimy underground London club. While In Colour is essentially an experiment in modern bass lines and matured, nostalgic samples, it is also can be viewed as an album that invents just as much as it borrows.
Just like the rest of the weekend, the end of Coachella’s first weekend definitely did not disappoint. We caught a lot of great sets and of course got a ton of great shots of some of your favorite artists. Sunday fans saw amazing performances from Drake, St. Vincent, Florence + the Machine, Mac DeMarco, Marina and the Diamonds, Angel Olsen, Ryan Adams and more! Drake made out with Madonna! St. Vincent channeled her inner-David Bowie! Florence showed Indio why she is a great score for any major music festival! If you didn’t make it to Coachella this past weekend, and you aren’t going next weekend, you certainly missed out.
Pitchfork has just announced the lineup for its 2015 music festival and not only is it full of huge hometown names, it is full of other great acts as well. Representing the city of Chicago includes artists like Wilco, Chance the Rapper, and Vic Mensa (who was just featured on Kanye’s new song ‘Wolves’). Other acts include Sleater Kinney, Future Islands, Run the Jewels, iLoveMakonnen, A$AP Ferg, Chvrches, The New Pornographers, Panda Bear, Jamie xx, Vince Staples, and more! Check out the full lineup below, Pitchfork Music Festival takes place July 17-19 at Union Park in Chicago.