On April 2nd 2011, LCD Soundsystem played its final show at Madison Square Garden. LCD frontman James Murphy had made the conscious decision to disband one of the most celebrated and influential bands of its generation at the peak of its popularity, ensuring that the band would go out on top with the biggest and most ambitious concert of its career. The instantly sold out, near four-hour extravaganza did just that, moving the thousands in attendance to tears of joy and grief, with NEW YORK magazine calling the event “a marvel of pure craft” and TIME magazine lamenting “we may never dance again.” SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS is both a narrative film documenting this once in a life time performance and an intimate portrait of James Murphy as he navigates the lead-up to the show, the day after, and the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.
The Queitus recently posted a lengthy and interesting piece on James Murphy where he details how This Is Happening will be LCD Soundsystem’s last. Given that the album landed at #10 on the Billboard 200 and kicked Lady Gaga out of her 5 month #1 spot of the dance charts, it seems like a hard gig to walk away from. If you read the piece, here’s a fair bit of complexity to Murphy that I wasn’t previously aware of.
The closing track ‘Home’ is my favorite from the album, full of hypnotic loping keyboards and a trademark LCD Soundsystem lockstep beat. Murphy’s vocals shine on this one, emoting the longing in the song perfectly. Given the news that this will be the band’s last release, the lyrics take on an added meaning…almost a tired but loving send off to his fans. Regardless, it’s a fantastic album closer and, if it is indeed the case, a great cap to Murphy’s trio of albums.
This Is Happening was released on May 18, 2010 via DFA Records. You can purchase it from iTunes or direct from the band as a $80 deluxe pack which features a record bag, t-shirt, vinyl, cd & digital download.
Holy Ghost! has a pretty great remix of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Drunk Girls’ as part of the Adult Swim Singles Program. The program is in it’s 7th out of 8th week, and has hosted exclusives from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Madvillan, and Black Lips. To go with the track, Adult Swim got Daniel Garcia to shoot a clip for it. They went up to Portland and filmed an epic bike jousting round in slow motion…less something to go with the lyrics, more something that just works as a wacky visual. It doesn’t at all beat the original Spike Jones video, but I think the remix may be better than the original album version…makes it sound less like ‘North American Scum’ and a proper dance track.
I was set up this morning to write a little bit about LCD Soundsystem…not really something undiscovered or needing of press, but it’s a beautifully composed album. James Murphy seems to pull from a lot of things I love: Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Joy Division…so the album hits me in the right places. The track “All I Want” always stuck in my ear, because the guitar riff felt warmly familiar. The song opens with a warmly dissonant, wandering guitar lead that I ultimately figured out is the love child of riffs from Brian Eno’s ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’ and David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ (also produced by Eno).
From a 1977 Bing Crosby christmas special
A pretty amazing song, from an equally amazing album
Listen to those, then give a try to LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All I Want’. It’s not some note for note thieft, but you can see where the Eno influence has bled into Murphy’s music…something I wholeheartedly approve.
While I was researching, poking around at different versions of the above songs to post up here I came across this French experimental metal trio Marvin. The chose to close out their bizzarely sprawling album Hangover The Top album with a spaced out, Isis-derived take on the Eno’s album closer. I think as much as I’m really just happy that anyone is still interested in Eno’s solo pop work, I’m a fan of the riff heavy route that Marvin has gone. It’s a good way to discover a band.
From what I’ve heard of the album, it’s a mixture of many different metal influences. Some songs groove like old Trans Am, hit riffs with that same Isis-ian sense of space, others are like the faster moments on any given Boris record. The band is just synth, guitar and drums, which makes for some interesting moments throughout. Given their taste in covers, I’ll definitely endorse.
Hangover The Top was released on April 6th, 2010 (my birthday, bonus points for that) and is available on iTunes, Amazon, or direct from their label African Tape.