Truce, fingers not crossed

Scene Jesus, James Murphy, blessing his congregation

“Watch the Tapes,” the first peek I’ve had at the new LCD Soundsystem, is thankful reassurance of my biased and hopeful assumption that dance punk is an emaciated corpse in the corner of a MisShapes party. And yet it does a dance, albeit up and down, with the tenacity and smirk of a elder punk still brandishing a full set of chompers. Straightforward rhythm dominates “Watch the Tapes”: Locked-in, even-headed and effortless repetition on the drum kit is matched tit for tat by steady guitar strumming not bothered by a light workload of two, maybe three chords total. Only Murphy’s sing/scowl and a gently undulating fuzz tone — originating from a bass or synth (it’s near impossible to differentiate) — move the tune forward.

This bullet train approach calls to mind the motorik pulse of “Losing My Edge” shout-out-recipient Can, particularly their Tago Mago-era work. Though Murphy is still very comfortably himself, his slightly disjointed lyrics of being high on lemon sips, “politricks,” individuals too eager to please, and advocacy to “read all the pamphlets and watch all the tapes” make small guestures of kinship with Damo Suzuki.

Concentrating all of its energy into consistent sameness, “Watch the Tapes” is brightest during the short adjournment bursts that might be choruses. There Murphy cuts a little loose, an adorable “ah-woohoo!” straight from ELO hit “Don’t Bring Me Down,” even harmonizing with himself on the clever, encouraging lyrics “Avoid all the cold sideways glances / Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate and then turn to stone.”

LCD Soundsystem’s highly anticipated to return may not be the most action-packed or wildly different, but it has greatly raised my expectations for Sound of Silver. Using the same tools as found on previous work reappropriated without sounding dull, firing off a streamlined dose of chipper kraut punk rock without being vapid — neither of these are easy tasks. With all this motion, Murphy takes no time to rest on his laurels and pulls off “Watch the Tapes” with flair to spare. Game on, Murphy, game on.


LCD Soundsystem, “Watch the Tapes” (EDIT: I’ve taken this down at the request of DFA Records. Didn’t mean to cause a fuss and I apologize for doing so anyways.)


6 comments so far

  1. Attorney for Murphy and/or RIAA on

    jackasss – did it ever occur to you that Murphy a) isn’t thrilled that the new album leaked this far from the release date?
    b) probably doesn’t love the idea of some also ran blogger trying to increase the number of hits that his or her site gets by posting a song off the album?

  2. DFA on

    take this down

  3. Astronaldo on

    HA! Threatening words from a low-rent lackey for yet another wannabe-indie bitchslut of the cabal of cocksucking, shit flinging monkies known as the “EMI/SonyBMG/Universal/Warner Global Child Prostitution and (badly cut) Scag Distribution Cartel”. I believe them call themselves the “RIAA”. What they should call is an employment agency and look for real jobs… or at least a job that doesn’t involve taking three showers to wash the foul stink of failure that only a self-important, $30k-per-year liberal-arts school dropout can only fully experience and know.

    Congratulations Mr. Little White Earbuds, they rats have taken notice. Do not cave into the fear, instead carry a big stick. Dogs that bark a lot occasionally need to be thumped on the skull… or at least yelled at for a bit.


  4. DFA on

    Mahalo, you are both a total cocksucker and an ignorant fool. I assume even the blog agrees, as they removed the track out of respect to the wishes of the artist. What point are you trying to prove here anyway? Please impress us all with your educational background and current employment too, as you seem to have so precisely summed up everyone elses in your eloquent rant. The above came from DFA not the RIAA.

  5. Antonee on

    I’m kinda bummed DFA uses “cocksucker” as an insult. I guess they don’t like getting their dicks sucked.

  6. Ratko on


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