BEST MUSIC POLL
Best Breakthrough act in National
Good luck finding a more solid debut record than the one London dirge-pop trio the xx dropped on us last year. The whispered come-ons and casually caustic dismissals that Romy Soft and Oliver Sim volley over fields of low-wattage beats sound battle-tested at first moan. Fortunately for us, they passed up chances to work with Diplo and Kwes on this record, opting to finish quietly what they started in their own (presumably) dim-lit garage. They cross cold bedroom production skills with sly R&B hooks and churn out the most soulful slab of low-key dance pop we've heard in years, and it all sounds effortless. Now, they're headed into what could be their biggest challenge yet — getting the stuff to translate over to the Bonnaroo plastic-cups set as they navigate a full sked of summer-festival dates. This could be good.
2. Titus Andronicus
4. Surfer Blood
by MATT PARISH