Album Review – LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem -‘American Dream.’ (DFA/Columbia)

James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem exploded onto the music scene in 2002 with the release of their debut single ‘Losing My Edge.’ Like all great debut singles should do, it sounded like a manifesto. Over the mocking tale of an aging hipster, musically it bridged the re-emerging interest in post-punk sounds with cool as anything dance music, that was anything but faceless. It still stands as one of the greatest tracks of the 2000s. Over the course of the decade, they released three studio albums which won not only critical acclaim but chart success in both the UK and the US. After playing a farewell show at Madison Square Garden in 2011, Murphy split up the band.

Since then, of course, he’s kept himself busy, amongst other things working with Arcade Fire (there’s definite parallels with American Dream and the Canadian’s recent, underrated Everything Now ) and remixing David Bowie.The latter reportedly convinced Murphy to reform the band. Of course, there’s a million bands who have reformed and left fans wishing that they hadn’t (though it’s pertinent to wonder whether many of those people aren’t having to depend on music to pay their bills). Yet, overall, this record feels like it has been worthwhile.

The first new music to emerge from the album was the AA-side of  ‘Call The Police’/’ American Dream.’ Excellent tracks, both, and providing a fine examples of two very different musical approaches running through the album. As you would expect, there are a number of tracks that sound most at home on the dancefloor, and ‘Police’ is one of them. However, as the title track indicated, the album is unquestionably the darkest of their four studio albums, and there’s a definite nod to both The Cure circa Faith and Pornography and Joy Division on the album’s centrepiece, nine-minute long  ‘How Do You Sleep?’

Murphy has, of course, always been something of a musical magpie: talent borrows, genius steals, as the old cliché has it. ‘Tonite’ and ‘Change Yr Mind’ are evocative of early 1980s Talking Heads, a band who were producing music that pointed the way for ‘indie-dance’ sounds that would emerge at the end of that decade. It does feel, though, that this album has Murphy wearing his influences on his sleeve rather more than he ever has before.

Many albums reveal more with successive listens (which is perhaps why I’m still not keen on reviews that highlight just a couple of tracks for the reader to stream later on). It has to be said that this album may not quite reach the heights of the first two LCD Soundsystems’ – though those are pretty big landmarks in any music fan’s book. Yet in a year that has also seen a number of other acts producing comeback albums (Ride and Slowdive spring to mind), this stands comfortably alongside them. It’s a successful comeback album – and hopefully will see Murphy stretch himself further on future albums.


is released on September 1 on DFA/Columbia

LCD Soundsystem bow out in spectacular style for Record Store Day


Record Store Day is a bit bittersweet for someone who loves Record Stores as much as I do. Great that you’re coming to check out what’s on offer – but what about the rest of the time? And those people who merely go to snap up stuff to flog on ebay? Scumbags. Utter, TOTAL SCUMBAGS.

One of the most amazing things I have heard about coming this coming year for Record Store Day (April 19, 2014) is the 5LP boxed set (yes, FIVE LPs) of The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live At Madison Square Garden, This is an unabridged recording of LCD Soundsystem’s near four-hour farewell show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, back in 2011. This will get a full release on May 19.

This below was LCD Soundsystem’s very first single, back in 2002. ‘Losing My Edge’ is one of my favourite tracks of the last twenty years, and this video shows what was clearly a great night being put to bed in style.

And there’s a rather awesome steal from Daft Punk’s ‘Da Funk’ included here, too…

The following is the 28-song strong tracklist (deep breath):
Dance Yrself Clean
Drunk Girls
I Can Change
Time To Get Away
Get Innocuous!
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Too Much Love
All My Friends
Tired / Heart Of The Sunrise
45:33 Intro
You Can’t Hide (Shame On You)
Sound Of Silver
Out In Space
Ships Talking
Freak Out / Starry Eyes
Us v Them
North American Scum
Bye Bye Bayou
You Wanted A Hit
Someone Great
Losing My Edge
All I Want
Jump Into The Fire
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

What Damon did next


A few days ago, it was the BRIT awards. For those who do not know, this is the British Music Industry Awards, which is largely for and about the industry, rather than artistic merit. However, Blur did win the outstanding achievement award, so I guess something went right, even if Kate Bush and PJ Harvey didn’t win awards they should have done. Ah well.

One of Damon Albarn’s other projects apart from Blur (along with writing Chinese Operas, film scores, making records in Africa etc..) is , of course, being part of the brains behind Gorillaz. He has collaborated with James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) and Andre 3000 (of Outkast) on a new track, being given away free, called ‘Do Ya Thing.’ It’s rather fine…

Follow this link to download the track

Meanwhile, Damon and Graham Coxon (who also has his own new solo album A+E out soon) performed this song at a Pre-BRITS gig on Sunday night. It’s called ‘Under the Westway’ and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Some more covers for Friday


‘I’ll give you Cat Power…’

OK…meant to do this last week, and then with going away decided to focus on my lovely family.

Anyway…some covers, yes?

Franz Ferdinand -‘Womanizer (Britney Spears cover).’ mp3

Cat Power -‘We Dance (Pavement cover).’ mp3Laura Cantrell -‘Love Vigilantes (New Order cover).’ mp3

Buffalo Tom -‘Going Underground (The Jam cover).’ mp3

Curve -‘I Feel Love (Donna Summer cover).’ mp3

Alabama 3 -‘Speed Of the Sound Of Loneliness (Nanci Griffith cover).’ mp3

Lemonheads -‘Different Drum (Mike Nesmith cover).’ mp3

LCD Soundsystem -‘No Love Lost (Joy Division cover).’ mp3

Flaming Lips -‘Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover).’ mp3

Cud -‘You Sexy Thing (Hot Chocolate cover).’ mp3

Best dancefloor tracks ever?


Will be DJing in public about four times over the coming weeks, and am trying to work out what I want to play.

It can be hard trying to work out what will work a crowd and resisting the temptaion to make sarky comments to various responses to people who grumble that you aren’t playing what you want to hear. Or bringing in a track you have played a million times before at the wrong speed (I did that with ‘Blue Monday a few years back. Ah well).

Still, as one of the best tracks of the last ten years, I am almost guaranteed to give a play over the next few weeks…

LCD Soundsystem -‘Losing My Edge.’ mp3

Mind you, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this went down one time…

Birthday Party -‘Release The Bats.’ mp3

…and I wonder just how well these would go down on a Saturday night…or not…

Huggy Bear -‘Herjazz.’ mp3

Voodoo Queens -‘Supermodel Superficial.’ mp3

Oh, and of course I use vinyl…the idea of using iPods to DJ with just seems too naff…

…so that was the noughties!


Tippi the cat wearily surveys the vinyl from her perch

There are pedantic sods out there who will say that the next decade doesn’t start until 2011…umm, too bad.

It’s been a busy decade with highs and lows, and soundtracked by some amazing stuff. Odd, considering that at the start of 2000, I was wondering whether I was being left behing as I failed to get into Nu-metal or garage. Thankfully, there’s been lots of brilliant stuff.


Highs: Getting married; moving to Scotland; being my brother’s best man at his wedding; becoming an uncle; getting cats; finally getting to work in a record shop; the invention of the iPod; meeting wonderful new friends in Scotland; the critical re-evaluation of The Cure; starting a blog that’s allowed me to interview people and get free music and into gigs for free; getting a Masters Degree; becoming a fully qualified teacher; Edinburgh’s music scene flourishing; getting to DJ again; going to New York -twice!; seeing my brother’s career in comedy and acting take off; the resurgence of post-punk and its’ infleunce on contemporary indie; setting up my own record label; Obama’s election; Great TV in the form of Life On Mars, The Office, CSI; ‘world’ cinema playing in multiplexes; successfully giving up smoking and drinking; nights out in Edinburgh and Glasgow; The Wire magazine; American Hip Hop and R&B; Grime; Dubstep; Kate Bush finally releasing a new album; finally having my own car; getting to see the likes of the Pixies (twice!), Blondie, Television (Twice!), Dead Kennedys, Julian Cope, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave (also twice!), Morrissey (three times), U2, Lou Reed…

Lows: Death of our beloved Jake the cat; black dog; the NME’s decline for much of the decade; people who showed they could not be trusted; the loss of three music venues in Edinburgh (La Belle Angele, The Venue, The Liquid Rooms); Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Labour letting us down; George W. Bush’s administration impacting on life here; the BNP; Tommy Sheridan proving to be human after all; the frightening prospect of a Tory Victory in 2010; the continued existence of racism, homophobia and domestic violence (and fuckwits who label any attempt to challenge this as political correctness gone mad)…

There’s been so much music that it’s hard to rank it all – this is just a handful of what’s floated my boat this decade.

The Delgados -‘No Danger.’ mp3

Gnarls Barkley -‘Crazy.’ mp3

The Bug -‘Angry.’ mp3

CSS – ‘Let’s Make Love and Listen To Death From Above.’ mp3

Franz Ferdinand -‘Shopping For Blood.’ mp3

Beyonce -‘Crazy In Love.’ mp3

LCD Soundsystem -‘Losing My Edge.’ mp3

Burial -‘Archangel.’ mp3

Santogold -‘My Superman.’ mp3

Low – ‘California.’ mp3

>Usher -‘Yeah.’ mp3

The Rapture – ‘House Of Jealous Lovers.’ mp3

Radio 4 -‘Dance To the Underground.’ mp3

Interpol -‘NYC.’ mp3

Missy Elliott -‘Get UR Freak On.’ mp3

Estelle -‘American Boy (featuring Kanye West).’ mp3

Skream -‘Midnight Request Line.’ mp3

This is by no means a complete list; I’ve intentionally left out anything from this year. The list could also include M.I.A.; White Stripes; Strokes; Yeah Yeah Yeahs; The Libertines; Dizzee Dascal; Arctic Monkeys; Outkast; System Of A Down; Calexico; Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy; Kylie; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds… and many of the scottish bands I’ve championed – and those I have signed.

Happy New Year!


Some Covers For Saturday Part V

It has been a while since I posted any covers here, but I’ve always enjoyed posti ng weird and wonderful covers…so why not?

BTW, very pleased to see just how many hits this blog is getting. Don’t forget to tell your friends and help me keep the traffic up.

Dump -‘Raspberry Beret.’ mp3 (Prince cover)

Xiu Xiu -”Ceremony (New Order cover).’ mp3

Wilco -‘Something In The air (Thunderclap Newman cover).’ mp3

Voxtrot -‘Love Vigilantes (New Order cover).’ mp3

Thin Lizzy -‘Whisky In The Jar (Irish Folk song).’ mp3

Polyphonic Spree -‘Wig In A Box (From Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’ mp3

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy -‘Puff the Magic Dragon (Peter, Paul and Mary cover).’ mp3

LCD Soundsystem -‘No Love Lost (Joy Division cover).’ mp3

Low -‘Nowhere man (The beatles cover.’ mp3

Canasta -‘The model (Kraftwerk cover).’ mp3

Halle -flaming-lujah

Have now finally had my bandwith renewed so will be posting more regularly. Am glad folks out there are downloading the music -and hopefully buying it!-but feedback is appreciated, yes?

Anyway, here’s seven covers for today. I may have posted some of these here before, it is quite pssible, but my brain is frazzled from having to deal with too many misbehaving teens and right now, anyone under the age of sixteen can just…(fill in blank as appropriate!)

LCD Soundsystem -‘No Love Lost (Joy Division cover).’ mp3

The Pop Singer’s Fear Of The Pollen Count -‘Vapour Trail (Ride cover).’ mp3

The Shins -‘We Will Become Silhouettes (Postal Service cover).’ mp3

Arcade Fire -‘Naive Melody (Talking Heads cover).’ mp3

Astrid Swan -‘When You Were Young (Killers cover).’ mp3

Manic Street Preachers -‘We Are All Bourgeois Now (McCarthy cover).’ mp3

Sloan -‘Over You (Roxy Music cover).’ mp3

Enjoy. And feedback gratefully received, yeah?