LCD Soundsystem’s final run of shows kicks off in New York this week, culminating with the band throwing its own dance-punk version of The Last Waltz at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
To celebrate the band’s farewell, Pitchfork has a feature called You Were There, which reviews every song in LCD’s catalog, including singles and b-sides. It’s an amazingly thorough overview of the band’s recorded output, and a refreshing piece of music journalism at that. Pitchfork reviews are a little difficult to parse out at times, but it’s great to see someone publish a long-form piece that closely examines everything in an artist’s catalog.
LCD might be the first quintessential “internet band,” one that managed to climb into the cannon and gain worship with absolutely no radio or MTV exposure and scant recognition from any sort of mainstream source (you could argue Arcade Fire, but those dudes got love from Bowie and just won a Grammy). There are book-length reviews of the songs by classic artists like The Beatles and Bob Dylan, but rarely does a current artist warrant such praise.
Granted, LCD’s run is just under a decade in length, but it was a gradual climb that saw them go from NYC secrets to arena-selling heroes, with tunes from a 30-something singer who chronicled love, loneliness, loss, lust, uncertainty and elation in the early 2000s in a way unlike any other.
The hipster dance track “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” seemed like a lark until mastermind James Murphy released his sophomore album, Sound of Silver. Second albums aren’t supposed to make a leap like that, from snarky hipster night out jams to doe-eyed introspective Bowie space dance. We got midway through that album, heard the jittery opening notes of “All My Friends” for the first time, and suddenly realized we had something on our hands.
I never got to see LCD live, but I’ll spin those records ‘til I die. Nearly one quarter of my correspondence with a friend in South Korea references “All My Friends.” There are nights where I make a pot of coffee and just stay up listening to that track, and it puts my mind at ease. Third album This Is Happening is a post Y2K classic as well, combining the lonely night reflections with neck-breaking bass and snappy hip shakers. P4k’s feature reminds us the debut self-titled album is worth revisiting if you haven’t heard it in a while. The b-sides and other stray tracks, mostly available as a bonus disc with debut or on iTunes, are worth sniffing out as well.