Tag Archives: DFA Records
LCD Soundsystem – Brooklyn Steel – December 19, 2017
James Murphy and his LCD Soundsystem lot are all too aware of the hype that surrounds their live performances. The collective that has reemerged from their “breakup” in 2011 in much the same arrangement, and with the addition of some new blood, recognizes the buildup prior to when everyone takes their positions onstage in their stacked pyramid instrumental setup that surrounds the spotlit Murphy, the master of ceremonies. They recognize the level of great expectation and with the poise of players in long-run theater, unflinchingly rise to the occasion. Murphy has essentially admitted that he was fooling himself to think that he could walk away from the life of making music and performing it with LCD Soundsystem. As evidenced at Brooklyn Steel last night throughout the seventh show in a run of 10, he needs that outlet. It’s too much of what he is. As you find yourself moved by the power and grace of his singing voice over primal dance grooves that don’t feel as if they have a discernible beginning or ending, it becomes clear that he was too much of a comet to hide for too long and the crew of old friends are the players that form around him like a solar system.
Putting on a good show is about reps. Any performer would tell you that. To go along with this year’s new album, American Dream, LCD Soundsystem have been getting plenty of them, having put on strings of consecutive shows that have become residencies at their new Brooklyn home. What’s so rewarding is that they have risen to that rarified place of performance where you know what songs are coming and yet when they’re played with that special mix of timepiece precision and instinctive improvisational flair sprung from the raw energy of the moment, you feel like you’re experiencing a favorite song for the first time, like what it felt like to walk through the woods stoned for the first time. Therein lies the unique magic of an LCD Soundsystem show, and why it never loses its vitality even after the second, fifth or seventh time you’ve seen it. The second-nature orchestration of playing parts all churning in sync is well oiled at this point and just takes off. It’s hard to imagine a better tone-setter to begin a night with than “Yr City’s a Sucker.” It holds that raw NYC cold-steel break-loop groove, priming everyone for the party that’s about to ensue.
The sequence of hits that followed was kind of mind boggling: “I Can Change,” absolutely resplendent live, “Get Innocuous,” “Tribulations,” “You Wanted a Hit” all unravel and ascend to their own euphoric peaks, and you’re so wrapped up that you don’t even realize songs like “Someone Great,” “Dance Yrself Clean” and the dizzying rapture of “All My Friends” are still ahead. Tracks from the new album are sprinkled in almost inconspicuously as the ’80s synth romanticism of “Oh Baby” drops the energy down into a beautiful lull. It was one of those shows that still makes you feel cool that you could get into and no matter how big the group’s become, they still extend meaty-jam grooves like basement bands that don’t know how to stop. They are a unique combination of musicians who understand how and when to give the crowd exactly what they’ve come for, a release into the frenzy of their extended plays. Almost right away, you see what all the fuss is about. LCD Soundsystem are the kind of band that snaps you out of the conversation you’re having with the person you invited to get to know, and suddenly you’re both dancing irresistibly with broad smiles. And when you walk away with that buzz that rolls on like one of their live songs, you know it’s an experience you’ll go back for as many times as you can. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly
Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com
Tags: Al Doyle, American Dream, Brooklyn, Brookyn Steel, Charles Steinberg, DFA Records, Gavin Rayna Russom, Gregg Greenwood, James Murphy, Korey Richey, LCD Soundsystem, Live Music, Matt Thornley, Music, Nancy Whang, Pat Mahoney, Photos, Review, Tyler Pope
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Tags: Al Doyle, American Dream Brooklyn, Brookyn Steel, DFA Records, Gavin Rayna Russom, Gregg Greenwood, James Murphy, Korey Richey, LCD Soundsystem, Live Music, Matt Thornley, Music, Nancy Whang, Pat Mahoney, Photos, Tyler Pope
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Sebastien Grainger (vocals and drums) and Jesse F. Keeler (bass, synths and vocals) formed the punk duo Death from Above 1979 at the turn of the millennium in Toronto. They put out a couple of EPs and then an explosive debut full-length, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine (stream it below), arrived in 2004. The album earned Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” label and a glowing review: “By turning the rock knob down a notch, DFA79 have kept You’re a Woman loud and nasty and ensured a cohesion and unusual degree of listenability.” They were off to a hot start, but two years later, the band called it quits siting disagreements and too much travel as problems. Fortunately, it didn’t take permanently, and Death from Above 1979 (above, doing “Holy Books” for 3voor12 Radio) reunited in 2011. And as an added bonus, just playing live wasn’t enough, so they released their sophomore LP, The Physical World (stream it below), in 2014. Critics again were floored. NME called it “magnificent” and went on to gush, “After a decade away, the noisy Toronto duo are back to give modern technology a glorious kicking…. They clearly haven’t forgotten the pounding thrash that made them great, but it’s not all cheap thrills and weighty beats. What makes it such a rewarding repeat listen are the layers of meaning that emerge like Renaissance paintings appearing in television static.” Earlier this year, the duo dropped “1979” from their name—officially reverting to Death from Above—and last month, their most recent long-player, Outrage! Is Now, (stream it below), arrived. “This album cements Death from Above’s place as one of the great rock bands of their era,” said AllMusic. “It’s a vital document to wave in front of anyone who says rock is dead, because one listen to any DFA song is enough to prove that argument DOA.” Now touring behind their new album, Death from Above play Brooklyn Steel tomorrow night. Make sure you arrive early enough to catch Toronto four-piece the Beaches opening the show.
Tags: Beaches, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Steel, Death from Above, Death from Above 1979, DFA Records, Jese F. Keeler, Live Music, Music, New York City, Outrage! Is Now, Physical World, Preview, Sebastien Grangier, Video, You’re a Woman. I’m a Machine
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Electronic musician and producer John Maclean already knew James Murphy from the Providence, R.I., band Six Finger Satellite. When the group broke up, Maclean drifted out of music but remained friends with Murphy. Several years later, having already founded DFA Records, the LCD System founder prompted Maclean to return to music—and his label provided a home for Maclean’s danceable mash-up of post-punk and experimental compositions under the name the Juan Maclean. Somewhere along the way LCD Soundsystem keyboardist and vocalist Nancy Whang came aboard, and over the course of nearly a decade and a half, there have been a slew of remixes, singles, EPs and LPs. The most recent of which, the ’80s-influenced In a Dream (stream it below), came out last year. AllMusic calls it “the Juan Maclean’s best record yet. It puts together all the elements they’ve worked with in the past and added a few more, and the result is an emotionally powerful work that sounds easy to dance, dream or get bummed along to.” And the Juan Maclean (above, their video for “A Place Called Space”) play a pair of hometown shows this week, tonight at The Bowery Ballroom and tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Tags: Bowery Ballroom, DFA Records, In a Dream, James Murphy, John Maclean, LCD Soundsystem, Live Music, Music, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Nancy Whang, Nicholas Millhiser, Preview, the Juan Maclean, Video
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Gavin Russom knows the music industry inside and out. After playing in noise bands as a teen and studying music composition and theory in college, he began making experimental music in New York City in the mid-’90s. But it wasn’t enough to explore the sounds he created—he also wanted to explore how he made them. So Russom started building custom analog synthesizers. Two musicians who bought his work, James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy, signed him to their label, DFA Records. Since then, Russom has collaborated with Delia Gonzalez, played synths and percussion with Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem and relocated to Berlin before moving back here a few years ago. More recently he began making music heavily influenced by Latin rhythms and psychedelic rave under the name the Crystal Ark (above, the video for “The City That Never Sleeps”), and the Crystal Ark plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night.
LCD Soundsystem – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 8, 2010
News traveled quickly that LCD Soundsystem planned to play a surprise gig at Music Hall of Williamsburg. And as soon as the tickets went on sale early Wednesday morning, the greater Internet community swarmed, swiftly selling out the impromptu show. Such is the demand for the music of James Murphy—the DFA Records’ pioneer with a reputation for creating, managing and producing internationally renowned dance music. With a third and potentially final LP, This Is Happening, slated for release next month, Murphy and the rest of LCD Soundsystem, chose to warm up before a long summer of touring begins.
Ambling upon the stage as the band set up their instruments, Murphy fumbled with his microphone before patiently explaining, “I have good news and band news.” The crowd, audibly distraught at the prospect of some limiting factor ruining the performance, braced for the worst. “The good news is we’re here,” he stated. “But the bad news is I’m wasted.” If this insight was intended to disappoint the eager crowd, it utterly failed. For the next 80 minutes, a rapturous audience hung on every slurred lyric.
Repeatedly, Murphy informed those in attendance that this performance was the first since the group’s longest break. This fact hardly affected a tremendous set, consisting of a couple of new songs and established staples. “Drunk Girls” and “Change,” both debated for the upcoming album’s first single, seemed to elicit as impassioned of a response as choice selections from the last album, Sound of Silver. However, during the masterful piano anthem “All My Friends,” a mosh pit formed in the front of the crowd, which made the song necessarily stand out. Further, for an encore, the band closed with “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down.” Regardless of whether LCD Soundsystem considered themselves prepared, the crowd would not dare remember it as less than a triumphant return. —Jared Levy
(LCD Soundsystem plays Webster Hall on Monday.)