The Naked and Famous
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The Naked and Famous formed in New Zealand in 2008 when Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith embarked upon a recording project together. After the success of two independently-released EPs, This Machine and No Light, they added more members so they could play concert dates. Their sound draws on modern dance-rock influences and combines them with pop hooks and layered vocals. Their songs are deceptively upbeat, with sinister underpinnings becoming apparent after multiple listens; one verse in "Young Blood" is "The bittersweet between my teeth/Trying to find the in-between/Fall back in love eventually." Their music is sexually androgynous and keeps personal narratives at an arm's length. There is a distinct aura of mystery surrounding their subject matter. To date the band's biggest hit is the aforementioned "Young Blood" from their 2011 debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You, which acquired ubiquity after being featured on several television shows, rather than through radio or music video success. They are cultivating an ever-growing audience of savvy music fans by playing international festival dates and continuing to tour on their own. The band is very famous and successful in New Zealand, having been nominated for six New Zealand Music Awards in 2011. The Naked and Famous were heralded early on by Entertainment Weekly, which speaks to the catchiness and quality of the songs, despite their difficult indie-alternative trappings and subject matter.