NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t



When LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy attended live concerts, he says he always felt like there was something missing. “I’d start to see bands prioritize things wrong in my mind,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “[They weren’t] prioritizing the momentness of a show or the physical experience of a show. Instead, they [were] prioritizing making sure they didn’t make mistakes or prioritiz[ing] trying to faithfully represent a prerecorded piece of material.” When Murphy hit his early 30s, he says he decided that he would stop complaining and instead make his argument for better live music by composing and performing his own compositions. The result, LCD Soundsystem, combines a funky mix of dance music, pop, electronic tracks, indie rock and disco, along with other experimental styles. Murphy, who had worked as a DJ and party promoter, began the group in 2002 with the humorous eight-minute single “Losing My Edge.” It is an anthem, he says, to growing older and realizing that musical styles change with generations. “It’s really from a specific time in my life more than it is about it,” he says. “From when I had started DJing and I hadn’t released any records … and for the first time in my life, I was almost cool. … And I went to a punk show, and between the bands, somebody was DJing. And that wasn’t done. And I remember thinking, ‘Hey! That’s my thing.’ And they were playing some of the records I played, and I got really upset, and they were like 23, 24 — and I was really mad. And then I started getting very embarrassed that I was getting mad, because I remember being in a young band when I was 23, 24 and talking to this guy who was like ancient — I think he may have been 28 or 29 — and he was talking about how kids now, the guitar sounds aren’t good, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, man, you never say that.'” Murphy’s latest album, This Is Happening, again combines a number of musical elements with self-effacing humor. He’s said that this album, his third, may be the final full album he releases under the name LCD Soundsystem. “It’s become my whole life, which I’ve become very happy about,” he says. “It’s a wonderful life. I love being in this band. But to do a band properly does kind of mean you don’t really get to do anything else. Now I also have a record label (DFA) and I’m a producer, I design equipment, I like to write — there are a lot of things I’d like to do that I can’t really do because I have this job. So I thought like three albums — a nice trilogy over a decade — it feels like a good time to stop being a professional band. That doesn’t mean LCD will stop. It just means I’ll go back to the beginning: releasing a track here and there or being more fluid about my decision-making rather than albums, videos, singles, tour. Rather than this professional arch of being in a band, I’d like to go back to being a person who decides what he likes to do and pursues something new once in a while.” MORE


NEW YORK TIMES: The storefront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that will someday be House of Good, James Murphy’s “personal store” — cheap Chinese sneakers, whimsical socks, candy from Denmark — is presently filled with musical instruments, amplifiers and bulky travel cases, all stenciled with the name of a band that no longer exists. Soon, whenever the renovation is complete, there will be coffee for sale here, made in partnership with the California stalwart Blue Bottle, and custom luggage designed by Mr. Murphy himself. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem in the documentary “Shut Up and Play the Hits.” Mr. Murphy disbanded the group and is currently pursuing other ventures, including House of Good, a store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But for now the first floor of Murphy’s nascent empire is something between a storage space and a graveyard, a ghostly repository for the thousands of pounds of battered, expensive infrastructure that once supported Mr. Murphy’s old band, LCD Soundsystem. On a recent Monday evening Mr. Murphy was glumly taking it all in: splintered drumsticks, wrestling mats, an array of vintage keyboards. “I’m definitely keeping those,” he said, wiping a layer of dust off the instruments. “As for the rest of this stuff,” perhaps he’d sell it. Or hold on to it all. He could auction the gear off for charity, maybe, except at this point “the charity would be me.” It is an in-between moment for Mr. Murphy, whose decision last year to disband LCD Soundsystem, for which he was the frontman and sole songwriter, helped signal the end of an uncommonly vital period in New York music, one that brought dance music and unabashed disco into the traditionally diffident world of indie-rock. For Mr. Murphy the farewell to his old band has been protracted. A valedictory documentary about the end of LCD Soundsystem, “Shut Up and Play the Hits,” is due this month. And while his next act is bright with possibility — there is new music on the horizon, new production projects, the House of Good — it has been slow to arrive. MORE