On Friday, LCD Soundsystem released its “comeback” album, American Dream. My feelings on it were mixed. Here’s my take in a nutshell:
By the way, boilerplate LCD can still be pretty damn rousing. A lot about “Tonite” makes me roll my eyes, starting with Murphy’s passive-aggressive defensiveness about his own hipness. “I’m a reminder, the hobbled veteran, of the disc-shop inquisition” — yeah yeah, you’re 47, most of the people who like your band are old, too, dude. But those keyboard and drum sounds? Those cyborg backing vocals? The way the song builds over several minutes like one party-drug surge? <em>Man</em>. That creep can roll. All of the obsessive-compulsive affectations that rub me the wrong way with Murphy as a lyricist continue to pay off big time with Murphy as an architect of sprawling dance-rock tracks.
To get to the bottom of LCD Soundsystem, I called up someone who knows a lot more about James Murphy than I do, author and critic Lizzy Goodman, whose recent book Meet Me In The Bathroom is an oral history of the NYC rock scene in the ’00s. We talked about Murphy’s background as a failed indie musician who found fame in his 30s by co-founding DFA Records, refashioning himself as a skilled architect of dance-rock records. We also cover Murphy’s decision to revive LCD Soundsystem, and how American Dream fits with the rest of the band’s catalogue.