LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem

Few artists of his generation have a superhero origin story as compelling as James Murphy. A failed musician and touring sound man—one who’d spent his twenties chasing popularity in the notoriously insular 1990s American indie rock scene—Murphy had all but given up on his dream of achieving underground celebrity by the time he met another unsung producer: Tim Goldsworthy, the silent partner in ultra-hip UK imprint Mo’ Wax. The latter introduced the former to DJing and ecstasy, and they began to collaborate in the studio as The DFA, introducing a retro disco-meets-post-punk sound to a New York downtown scene whose denizens were craving their own version of the city’s late-1970s and early-1980s creative heyday. The DFA struck gold almost immediately, producing the genre-defining dance-punk classic “House of Jealous Lovers” by The Rapture. That song, in turn, attracted other cool kids, from NYC hipsters Le Tigre to chart-topping hip-hop weirdos N.E.R.D., both of whom approached Murphy and Goldsworthy about remixes (the duo even took a meeting with one of The Neptunes’ clients, pop princess Britney Spears). At the same time, Murphy had begun producing his own music as LCD Soundsystem. The first LCD single, 2002’s “Losing My Edge,” became an unexpected anthem, one that captured the concerns of an aging hipster who was literally losing cachet to “the kids coming up from behind.” That song was followed by “Yeah,” which doubled down on the disco beats. Those tracks would wind up on LCD Soundsystem’s 2005 self-titled debut, along with the breakout hit “Daft Punk is Playing at My House,” an indie-sleaze anthem released a year before the French duo’s legendary Coachella performance. “Daft Punk” demonstrated Murphy’s ability to divine musical trends, a skill he’d bring to his DFA label, which released buzzy records like Hot Chip’s 2006 breakthrough record, The Warning. But Murphy would soon seize the mantle of coolest-of-the-cool-kids for himself in 2007, with the release of LCD Soundsystem’s hit-packed Sound of Silver.

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