Release Date: May 19, 2014
Record label: Parlophone
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
LCD Soundsystem, and in particular anti-talismanic frontman and brainbox James Murphy, occupy a critical space reserved for an elite few. In a career comprising only of a triptych of albums, they achieved the acclaim and die-hard fan base that bands usually carve out over decades. There’s a generation of people, now in their mid-to-late twenties, for whom LCD, and Murphy, exist as a near-deity.
On a spitting grey evening last week, I went to Rough Trade's new record store in Williamsburg to see what's being called an "interactive gallery exhibition" in honor of LCD Soundsystem. It showcased a small shrine to the band—replete with candles, flowers, and an empty bottle of Jameson—alongside some framed photos, a flat screen TV playing the 2012 documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits on mute, and a glitchy projection of random home-movie style footage of the group. There were also five portable Numark turntables set up, each spinning one of the discs from the box-set chronicle of their 2011 finale, The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden.
From the instant the very first synth tone of Dance Yrself Clean pings out in the first moment of this 28-track live swansong from James Murphy’s most famous incarnation – even before his Kermit vocal adds lyrics to the mix – you can tell the Madison Square Garden crowd are enraptured. And so they should’ve been, being as this 2011 show was to be LCD’s last ever. Scalper sellers forced Murphy to keep adding smaller dates in New York throughout the preceding month in order to take the emphasis away from the night.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. LCD Soundsystem gigs never felt like regular gigs but, then again, they weren't exactly one for the regular. Each show they played became more like one big party; an incredibly infectious atmosphere permeating the room fuelled by the immensely danceable disco-punk tunes of yearning and general melancholy that would make anyone who goes to gigs and ardently refuses to move, preferring instead to stand stock still with arms crossed, get lost in the groove.
Live albums are curious creatures. They tend to fall into one of two camps. Either they are shameless cash-ins, the last promotional refuge of corporate, contractually-bound artists or else, they are genuine one-offs, career-defining artefacts which serve to pull in the naysayer and the interested outsider. LCD Soundsystem’s The Long Goodbye, thankfully, falls into the latter camp.
For a band built on dance music's in-the-moment bliss, there's an unseemly sadness about this document of LCD Soundsystem's 2011 farewell gig in New York. At least the DVD doc Shut Up and Play the Hits lets you see the revelry. Yet the sound, cleaned up beautifully, is way better than most fans heard in Madison Square Garden – and when the choir blows in on the mission statement "Dance Yrself Clean," it sounds like a revival meeting, albeit less Baptist than the Sacred Church of Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy).