LCD Soundsystem – Electric Lady Sessions

LCD Soundsystem (jambase.com)

LCD Soundsystem

Albumdata

Artist LCD Soundsystem
Album Electric Lady Sessions
Year of release 2019

Rating

Introduction

It had to come to this, I too have fallen to the streaming world. The new LCD Soundsystem album is available in two formats only: vinyl (double) album of digital/streaming. As of the beginning of this month I am an official (ie paying) member of Spotify, the service which also hosts the A Pop Life playlist. Nothing’s too much for LCD Soundsystem, my favorite band of the current century, musically as well as live. This albums combines those two worlds.

N.B.:
This is the first time I write about a musical item I don’t physically own.

After American Dream

What has transpired after the release of the great American Dream in 2017? Firstly, the band went on an elaborate tour, bringing the band to the Paradiso in Amsterdam on September 12th, 2017. On June 10th, 2018, the band was part of the line-up of the Dutch Best Kept Secret festival. I was there both times and they ended up being my personal shows of the year.

LCD Soundsystem - Spotify Singles (spotify.com)

LCD Soundsystem – Spotify Singles

On September 12th, 2018, LCD Soundsystem released a couple of live songs as part of the Spotify Singles series: a cover of Chic’s I Want Your Love as part of the extension to Home (from their 2010 album This Is Happening). Tonite was also released that day.

On November 2nd, 2018, the band released a cover version of the Heaven 17 song (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang. On that day it was announced that the song was part of the Electric Lady Sessions, a live album recorded at the Electric Lady Studios in New York (just as the two songs released on September 12th). The album was slated for release the same year. It turned out to be somewhat later in time: the release date is today, February 8th, 2019.

Electric Lady Sessions

LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions (pitchfork.com)

LCD Soundsystem – Electric Lady Sessions

A mixture of old and new, originals and covers: that’s what the new LCD Soundsystem live album is made of. The original (LCD Soundsystem) songs stem from the albums Sound Of Silver (1), This Is Happening (2) and American Dream (6). The remaining three songs are all covers: Seconds (by The Human League), I Want Your Love (by Chic) en (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (by Heaven 17). The band was recorded during rehearsals for the American Dream tour. Ever the purist, LCD Soundsystem front man James Murphy announced that the recordings were made at the downstairs room at the Electric Lady Studios. The same room where John Lennon and David Bowie recorded Fame in 1975. Fame was the first single Murphy ever owned.

Just like the 2010 The London Sessions album (number 3 in my album top 50), Electric Lady Sessions has been recorded as a live album in a non-standard concert setting. The band plays live in the studio, which means that James Murphy leaves a lot of tasks he usually does himself in the studio, to his band members.

And, once again just like the The London Sessions album, Electric Lady Sessions is a truly exciting representation of the band’s live sound. Tight, swinging, and very, very good, the band effortlessly goes from groove to groove after groove. Highlights for now: Seconds (wherein Murphy’s voice eerily resembles Phil Oakey’s), You Wanted A hit, Get Innocuous (with lots of percussion), Home and Emotional Haircut (‘LCD Soundsystem goes wild’).

All in all, a very welcome addition to the band’s body of work. But, fair is fair, this is not an essential release for the general public, but for everyone who loves dance music at an extremely high level and for me personally it is indispensable.

Songs

  • Seconds
  • American Dream
  • You Wanted A Hit
  • Get Innocuous
  • Call The Police
  • I Used To
  • Tonite
  • Home
  • I Want Your Love
  • Emotional Haircut
  • Oh Baby
  • (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

Run-out groove American Dream

LCD Soundsystem - American Dream run-out groove (thevinylfactory.com)

LCD Soundsystem – American Dream run-out groove

The run-out groove of American Dream‘s vinyl version contained the text ‘SEE U IN 5 YEARS’. Obviously, this didn’t refer to the first new release by the band. Maybe it points to the first new release containing new material. Or maybe was it a message regarding the 5 years leading up to the American Dream release? Time will tell.

Electric Lady Studios

Electric Lady Studios - Logo (univibes.com)

To whomever may be interested a (short) history of the famous Electric Lady Studios in New York. In 1968 Jimi Hendrix and his manager Michael Jeffery bought a small club in the basement of a nondescript building in the Greenwich Village area of New York City. Original plans for reopening the club were put on hold after the local mafia payed the club a visit concerning the infamous pizzo (‘protection money’). The plans were readjusted and a new destination was agreed upon: a specialized and custom-built recording studio.

Jimi Hendrix at unfinished Electric Lady Studios (nytimes.com)

Jimi Hendrix at unfinished Electric Lady Studios

The design, which was completely focused on Hendrix, was made by architect and acoustician John Storyk. The place was meant to be a relaxed environment, ensuring every opportunity for Hendrix’s creativity to blossom at its fullest, but without the risk of endless sessions without return.

Hendrix got to record at his own Electric Lady Studios, but just for two and a half months, as work on the studio hadn’t completely been finalized. On August 26th, 1970 a welcoming party was organized. 23 days later, on September 18th, 1970, Hendrix died in London.

After Hendrix’s death the studio quickly became a (rock) musical Mecca: Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Billy Cobham, Patti Smith, Kiss, Stanley Carke, Chic, AC/DC, The Clash, Jill Jones, PIL, Run DMC, Weezer, Maxwell, Santana, The Roots, D’Angelo, Common, Depeche Mode, Erykah Badu, Guns ‘N Roses, Nas, U2, they were all there.

In closing

Have you heard Electric Lady Sessions yet? What’s your take? Let me know!

Video/Spotify
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: LCD Soundsystem – Electric Lady Sessions. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.

2 comments

    • Wayne Futter on 02/08/2019 at 7:15 PM

    I love the version of Human League’s ‘Seconds”

    1. Yeah, it’s wonderful!

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