|Year of release||2017|
On September 1st LCD Soundsystem released their fifth (studio) album American Dream. The band has returned after a 6 year period. How does the new album relate to the previous, perfect, works?
LCD Soundsystem until now
One day after the release of the debutalbum (on January 24th, 2005) I bought the debutalbum. I’m not entirely sure, but I probably bought the album because of Losing My Edge. I liked the song immensely and thought it was pretty funny. The lyrics are about the fact that, at a certain point in time, you start to fall behind on all the current hypes, musically speaking. The song also showed the encyclopedic knowledge of and love for music by bandleader, singer and songwriter James Murphy.
I bought all the albums after the first one: Sound Of Silver, 45:33, This Is Happening and The London Sessions. The last one ranks number 3 in my album top 50, so I would be understating it, saying I like the band. I loved the music, the band, their live shows and their mix of dance, rock, punk and pop. Past tense, indeed, for on April 2nd, 2011, LCD Soundsystem bid their farewell. At the height of their ‘fame’, LCD Soundsystem was laid to rest during a four hour show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. After 9 great years it was all over.
The DVD/Blu-ray and the vinyl release of their goodbye show (called Shut Up And Play The Hits and The Long Goodbye, respectively) was all that followed.
All My Friends
A special shout-out must be made to All My Friends, one of the greatest songs ever made. The goto song for the first decade of the 21st century. A driving, moving, swinging, beautiful song. Listen and shiver!
In the meantime I still followed the band using lcdsoundsystem.com. Texts were posted on a regular basis, and it was a great way of keeping up with the whereabouts of the band members. Many DJ sets, but also a lot of productionwork. James Murphy started working with David Bowie. Bowie asked him as a co-producer for, what was to become his last album, Blackstar. Murphy didn’t consider himself worthy enough and refused (he did play percussion on the album). He produced Arcade Fire’s Reflektor, developed the soundsystem Despacio with Soulwax and opened a winebar.
Meanwhile he kept DFA Records afloat. DFA Records is an independent record label, recording studio and (name for a) productionteam. All LCD Soundsystem music stems from DFA Records. Contracts with the great recordcompanies (like EMI and, for the new record, Columbia) are closed for distribution.
Christmas Will Break Your Heart
Despite the fact that I followed LCD Soundsystem, I was pleasantly surprised on First Christmas Day of 2015 with the release of a new LCD Soundsystem song: Christmas Will Break Your Heart:
so, there’s been this depressing christmas song i’d been singing to myself for the past 8 years, and every year i wouldn’t remember that i wanted to make it until december, which is just too late to actually record and release a christmas song… but this year, al doyle had a short break between hot chip tours where he could be in nyc, and pat and nancy were home, and tyler agreed to fly out from berlin for a few days, so we all recorded this together, reserved a pressing plant slot, and our friend bob weston was available to master it quickly—so that means, less than 2 weeks after we recorded it, there is actually a christmas 7″, which feels like something that could only have happened a very, very long time ago.
anyway, for the holidays we give you the previous, very long run-on sentence, and this song: “christmas will break your heart”, which is another one of those songs which had about 75 lines of lyrics, though we’ve knocked down to 8 to keep the suicide rate in check.
james murphy, 25-12-2015
Could it be true after all? There had been rumours in 2015, but they were denied.
On January 4th, 2016, confirmation came for what I was hoping for: LCD Soundsystem was scheduled for a performance on the American Coachella Festival. A day after that it was officially announced that a new album would be released in 2016. Another day later, James Murphy wrote a letter to all the fans, music-lovers and critics, explaining why he reconsidered his decision of disbanding LCD Soundsystem and why he wanted to make music again using that moniker.
LET’S JUST START THIS THING WITH SOME CLARITY.
i write songs all the time. sometimes they’re just weird songs i sing while changing a baby, or songs about annoying things that i sing to myself, or to friends while sitting at a bar, or about christmas, or new york. sometimes these songs live in my head for years and have verses upon verses added to them, almost infinitely. sometimes they’re just ghosts of ideas, and sometimes they’re fully-formed things which float in front of me, seeming like they’d be easy to make flesh, only to fight furiously as soon as i try to pin them down in any way. some of them I make with friends in a room with instrument things. only a tiny fraction of these ever become Songs; get recorded, feel like something that should be shared. those ones, i write the title or some lyrics of down on a page in a little book i carry around. or i sing a bit of them into a tape recorder (or now a phone, I guess). i’ve been doing this since i was a kid.
early in 2015, i realized i had more of those than i’d ever had in my life. more of them than when i went in to make any LCD record, or when i recorded tapes upon tapes of terrible things in high school. just loads of them, and i found myself a little perplexed.
if i record them, what do i do with them? maybe I shouldn’t record them at all? i considered that, which was in a way the easiest option, but it also seemed like a weird and arbitrary (and sort of cowardly) cop-out. but to record them—well then, suddenly i have, what—a record?
so i asked pat and nancy to come over to my apartment for coffee and told them: “i’m going to record some music. should i make up a band name, or make a “james murphy” record, or should it be LCD?” we all thought a good amount about it. we have had lives for the past 5 years, which has been nice, and those guys have made amazing music with Museum Of Love, the Juan MacLean, and all sorts of other things. i’d managed to do a bunch of fun, dumb stuff which mostly annoyed people who were into the band because, well, subway turnstiles and a coffee aren’t LCD, basically.
at any rate, they both said “let’s make an LCD record”. you see, if they didn’t want to, which i’d half assumed, then there’s no such thing as LCD. imagine this: me making a record, calling it LCD, and then you go to the show and there’s just some guy playing drums over there, or some other person playing keyboards. horrifying. then imagine this: i make a “james murphy” record, or, i don’t know, an “everteen” record, or whatever made-up name i come up with, and there’s pat playing drums, and nancy. maybe al isn’t too busy with hot chip so he comes to play. what the fuck is that? here were our choices: 1. make music with your friends and call it something else, which seems hilarious (everteen) or egomaniacal to the point of sociopathic (james murphy solo record). 2. make music, but WILLFULLY EXCLUDE your friends because of the horrors in option 1. 3. make an LCD record with your friends, who want to make said record, and deal with whatever fall-out together. 4. don’t make music, to avoid the horrors of all of the above. 5. make music and, like, hide it somewhere.
we decided, clearly, on option 3, and i was fully prepared for a certain amount of “oh fuck that guy” over-it stuff—in fact welcomed it. it’s strangely energizing to have people who don’t make music themselves take potshots at you from the internet. and there’s always been a current of O.F.T.G. with me (i’m saying me and not us because, let’s be honest… no one hates anyone else in LCD, partially because they’re unhateable, and also because they have the wisdom to not shoot their mouths off nearly as much), and that’s just fine. i’m pretty used to it, and find it relatively funny.
but in my naiveté i hadn’t seen one thing coming:
there are people who don’t hate us at all, in fact who feel very attached to the band, and have put a lot of themselves into their care of us, who feel betrayed by us coming back and playing. who had traveled for or tried to go to the MSG show, and who found it to be an important moment for them, which now to them feels cheapened. i just hadn’t considered that. i know—ridiculous on my part. i saw some comments online a few days ago from people who felt that way, and it blindsided me, and made me incredibly sad. i saw some other people replying with stuff like “if that’s what you cared about, and you don’t want them to play anymore, maybe you liked the band for pretty weird reasons”, and it made me think. the truth is, while i get what the replier is saying, i kind of side with the original complaint: if you cared a lot about our band, and you put a lot of yourself into that moment (or anything about us you chose), and you feel betrayed now, then i completely understand that. it’s your right to define what you love about a band, and it’s your right to decry their actions and words as you see fit, because it’s you, frankly, who have done much of the work to sustain that relationship, not the band. i was so clearly expecting the cynical cries of foul, that i hadn’t seen the heartfelt complaint coming. we’ve always talked about how we’d never betray anyone who cares about us, but here we are now. given the chance again to make new music with the people i care about, and who have given a big part of their lives to doing this weird thing together, and who wanted to do it again, i took it. and in doing so, i betrayed whoever feels betrayed by that action. i by no means think that everyone who liked our band feels bad right now. a lot of people who liked our band are very happy, and we’ve been pretty blown away by the almost overwhelmingly positive response. last night i sat with al and nancy in a weird italian bar and we talked about how fucking awesome it was that so many people were happy to have us back. but that doesn’t take away from those who feel hurt. to you i have to say: i’m seriously sorry. the only thing we can do now is get back into the studio and finish this record, and make it as fucking good as we can possibly make it. it needs to be better than anything we’ve done before, in my mind, because it won’t have the help of being the first time. and we have to play better than we’ve ever played, frankly. every show has to be better than the best show we’ve played before for anyone to even say “well, that was good. i mean, not as good as they used to be. but, you know. it was good.” we know all that. which is healthy for us, because it means we go back to war, like in the beginning. for us it was always war, but now it’s really with ourselves. maybe we have a chance to make it right.
in other, more pedantic news: we’re not just playing coachella. we’re playing all over. we’re not just having some reunion tour. we’re releasing a record (sometime this year—still working on it, actually), so this isn’t a victory lap or anything, which wouldn’t be of much interest to us. this is just the bus full of substitute teachers back from their coffee break with new music and the same weird gear—or as much of it as we still have (it’s very interesting to re-buy the same gear, and in some cases buy gear BACK from people you sold it to), and rambling around trying to be louder than everyone else. thank fuck we were never skinny and young. or at least i wasn’t. that always happens with bands… they aren’t fat when they come back, typically, just, i don’t know, thicker. i was lucky to start this band kind of fat and old, so there’s no, like “look how YOUNG they were!” shit to even find on the internet. i mean, we were younger and everything, but we weren’t young, if you know what i mean.
one last note: thank you to everyone who has been absurdly kind to us over the past 14 (!) years. if you have moved on and don’t like us anymore, that’s obviously ok, too. but please, if we ever gave you any joy, just find something new and good that blows you away, and post it on our facebook page or something with, like, “hey fuck you guys! this is the REAL shit!” so we can hear new good stuff. that would be the best for all of us.
james murphy, 06-01-2016
More festivals followed, a contract with Columbia Records was closed. In August 2016 the band cancelled some shows to work on the new album. However, it was carefully made public that a 2016 release might not be possible.
LCD Soundsystem played their first 2017 show on April 6th. During the first encore three new songs were played. Three songs off the new album: Tonite, Call The Police and American Dream, a few days later followed by another new song: Emotional Haircut. On May 4th James Murphy posted a message, which was about the new album and contained the announcement that on May 5th two songs would be released: Call The Police and American Dream. On May 6th both songs were played live during a broadcast of the television show Saturday Night Live.
in other news, we’re releasing 2 songs tonight at midnight (and i mean, literally, midnight. wherever you are. so, like, australia first, and so on and so forth) via the digital things that people use now on their devices. these songs are named “call the police” and “american dream”. we played them both at brooklyn steel. they’re new. i (james) mixed “american dream” DFA Studios, and my friend dave sardy mixed “call the police” at his sweet place in LA last week, and shuttled them quickly to the great bob weston (at Chicago Mastering Service) to master them so we could get them out today.
seriously almost done with the LP. 1 more vocal and 2 more mixes to go. as eager as folks have been for me to get this done, it’s got nothing on how much i want to be finished myself. it’s been one of the most enjoyable records to make in my life, if not the most fun ever (i think it is, for sure, the happiest i’ve ever been making a record.) so it will be sad in some ways to see it leave the house etc., but we’re really looking forward to not feeling “late” all the time, and being able to do things like plan a weekend to do something fun. or respond to an email about eating with a friend with something other than “i’m sorry! i’m totally buried in the LP! check with me in a month?”
so, to answer some inevitable questions:
Q. but when is the ALBUM coming out!?!! gahh! SERiously!!
A. that’s hard to say in specific, but here’s some info. i insist that there is vinyl on the day it’s released (because… well… because i’m an old person) so it will go like this: finish last mix > get to bob to master > get masters to pressing plant > plant takes X amount of time > records get to distro so that they can go to stores > record released. however long that takes = when the record will be out. i can control the first part, and i’m furiously trying to get everything to bob before shellac goes on tour and that pushes things further back, and then there’s the jockeying for position in line at pressing plants, and various other things i don’t control nor fully understand, but i’ve been assured by folks i trust that there are a series of fast runners in sweat wicking clothing waiting at the line for the baton to then bolt forward…
Q. is there vinyl of this release?!?
A. no. see above. time makes that hard. also, these are album versions, so they’ll be available on vinyl on the LP. i’m not doing “b-sides” for this, as this is, essentially, a “double A side” release. meaning that there isn’t one song i’m like “oh this is THE song” and another song that i’m like “well, this one can go on the other side” with these. it’s not a 7″, nor a 10″ nor a 12″, in theory or format for me… these are just 2 songs that we wanted to get out to the lovely and patient (and some less patient, but one assumes equally lovely) people who want new music. there may be “singles” on vinyl of these later, if that seems to make sense and not be dumb. depends on whether there are smart things to put on a b-side. they’re not necessarily things i’d want remixes of, so it’s more about whatever else would go with the songs. there is a LOT of new music–much more than i usually have, so we’re puzzling through all that.
Q. are you guys playing any SHOWS?? near ME??
A. well, that depends on where you live. but our plan is indeed to play shows near where people live. and no, not just festivals. that’s all being planned as well. we loved playing the Brooklyn Steel shows, and we’re just in a funny place, in terms of understanding what size venues/how many nights we should play in various places. we generally prefer medium sized venues over huge ones, but we also loathe overpriced stubhub bullshit, so we’re navigating this as best we can. honestly, a lot of this is down to me (james, still) being difficult when talking to our very lovely and capable managers and agents w/r/t larger venues… i’m always like “that seems insane!” when a properly big venue is proposed, since we’ve only ever played hollywood bowl, red rocks and MSG, all of which were “special” shows, so it’s just hard to get our heads around the fact that maybe many more people that we assumed want to see us perhaps DO want to see us. it’s been a very nice revelation, but oh dear it’s still hard to make sense of.
what we don’t want: us in some mega-dome (looking like we think we belong in some mega-dome) playing to 1/16th of a full room, while someone says things like “well, we can curtain off the balconies so it doesn’t look so bad,” after telling us “you have to charge $180 a ticket for it to make any sense.”
what we also don’t want: tickets to our shows being sold for $1000 on eBay, and people who like our band standing outside crying because they bought some bogus barcode from some shit-heel scalper.
what we want: full shows that aren’t so big that you feel like you need binoculars to see if pat is actually behind the drums or if it’s louis ck or something.
anyway, this has been a communication from the desk of JM. now i need to get some oatmeal and go to work.
james murphy, 04-05-2016
The album is done
On May 30th of this year James Murphy announced that the album was finished:
hello humans. this is just a note to say that we’re done with the record. like, totally done with the music and mixing. just some art stuff to finish, but it’s been mastered already and the lacquers are winging their way to the pressing plant (which is, i think, where they’ll make the mothers and stampers, etc.). i’ve been wrangling the fastest route between final mix and record release for the past few weeks so that there isn’t such a lag, and i think it’ll be soon. 6 weeks is the very fastest, i think, but it will likely be longer than that. just trying to get all the ducks in a row so that there’s someone with a catcher’s mitt waiting at each stage. we mixed the last song last wednesday, and korey ran to (a national overnight carrier) to get it to bob weston over at Chicago Mastering Service for the next morning. then we took off to play sasquatch in washington, and now i’m home proofreading lyrics and credits and all that crap. sorry it took so long, honestly. i didn’t think it would, but i, once again, underestimated the distractions inherent in touring and living a “life”. this will be the last record at the original DFA Studios, as we’re closing that down after the building was sold, so there’s a lot to digest for me. i’ve been there nearly 20 years now, and i wasn’t a particularly young man when it opened, so there’s that.
anyway, be well, thank you for yr patience (even when it manifested as semi-angry “where the fuck is the RECORD< james!” posts!) and very much looking forward to getting this to you.
james murphy, 30-05-2016
On June 19th the album’s title was announced: American Dream. It was to be released on September 1st. All song titles were made public and a world tour was announced. LCD Soundsystem will play the Paradiso at Amsterdam on September 11th and 12th. On August 16th Tonite was released, including a videoclip.
And, is the album worthy of the long wait? Most certainly! It is unbelievable but true, LCD Soundsystem just continues making great albums.
My anxiety of LCD Soundsystem not living up to its promise, has turned out to be completely unfounded. Such wealth, again! 1980’s influences (Talking Heads, The Cure, New Order), but also David Bowie. All extremely current and complete with the LCD Soundsystem dance influences. Murphy’s voice remains a little wonder. Whenever he sings/screams, it all comes across as sincere.
The music is rich, varied, sombre ánd uplifting. Its beauty is almost tangible at times. The production is clear, as can and may be expected of James Murphy.
Lyrically it’s more beautiful than ever. Nice lines all over the place:
i just got nothing left to say
i’m in no place to get it right
and i’m not dangerous now
the way i used to be once
i’m just too old for it now
at least that seems to be true
LCD Soundsystem – Change Yr Mind
standing on the shore getting old
you left me here with the vape clowns
i must admit: i miss the laughing
but not so much you
LCD Soundsystem – How Do You Sleep?
you got numbers on yr phone of the dead that you can’t delete
and you got life-affirming moments in yr past that you can’t repeat
LCD Soundsystem – Emotional Haircut
Early highlights are Oh Baby, Other Voices, Change Yr Mind, How Do You Sleep?, Tonite, Call The Police and Emotional Haircut.
It’s hard to grasp, but (luckily) true: LCD Soundsystem made another classic record!
All songs written by James Murphy, unless stated otherwise.
- Oh Baby
- Other Voices *
- I Used To **
- Change Yr Mind ***
- How Do You Sleep? ****
- Tonite **
- Call The Police **
- American Dream
- Emotional Haircut ****
- Black Screen **
|*||Written by James Murphy & Nancy Whang|
|**||Written by James Murphy & Al Doyle|
|***||Written by James Murphy, Al Doyle & Tyler Pope|
|****||Written by James Murphy, Al Doyle, Pat Mahoney & Gavin Russom|
Have you heard the new album yet? What’s your take on it? Let me know!
All quotes & lyrics Losing my Edge: James Murphy
LCD Soundsystem image: jambase.com
LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge image: txcreativep1.wordpress.com
LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge – Lyrics image: tumblr.com
LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem (2005), Sound Of Silver (2007), 45:33 (2007), This Is Happening (2010) & The London Sessions (2010) image: dfarecords.com
LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends – Videostills image: paulgormanis.com
LCD Soundsystem – James Murphy image: thewire.co.uk
DFA Records Logo image: lcdsoundsystem.com
LCD Soundsystem – Christmas Will Break Your Heart image: tomorrowsverse.com
LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police & American Dream en American Dream images: lcdsoundsystem.com