For most people the first taste came in 2002 via a rapturous eight minute ode to hipsterdom called “Losing My Edge”. Counter to the aloof and impenetrable New York City rock bands of the early 2000’s, James Murphy’s first single as LCD Soundsystem was earnest, danceable and memorable for that shopping list of influences he spits at the end (LCD are nothing if transparent when it comes to that). It was also pretty devastating if you looked past the ridiculousness of it all. Choked by self doubt masquerading as elder-statesman-elitism, Murphy caught a glimpse at the “art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia”, looked in the mirror and ran the other way. For that among many other reasons (elastic basslines anyone?) it was the perfect introduction to LCD Soundsystem. At the time revelatory, it showcased Murphy’s ability to reconcile traditional instrumentation with electronics in a way that now seems so organic and obvious, we call the rock-dance crossover thing they pioneered pop music. It also foretold Murphy’s decade-long crusade to gauge, attain and understand relevancy. In the end though, he had nothing to worry about. From their jokey first single to their triumphant last bow, Murphy’s almost academic self-awareness has kept LCD from losing their momentum, much less their edge and for that reason it could only end one way.
Last Saturday LCD Soundsystem played their final show ever at Madison Square Garden in New York City. There were covers (Alan Vega and Harry Nilsson). There were special guests (Liquid Liquid and Arcade Fire). There were balloons. There were tears. And there was a poignant hands-in-the-air finale (“New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”) which, though less lyrically appropriate than “Someone Great”, was about the only way they could have said goodbye.
Thanks to Pitchfork you can watch the whole 3 and a half hour set below so say goodbye to productivity and goodnight to James, Nancy, Pat, Tyler, Al and Gavin. Goodnight everyone. We love your other bands too but this one we love the most. R.I.P. LCD Soundsystem.
LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire – “North American Scum”