After five-year hiatus, LCD Soundsystem debuts new songs during recent live performance

LCD Soundsystem plays at the Roskilde Festival on July 1, 2010. Bill Ebbesen / Wikimedia Commons

LCD Soundsystem holds a special place in any musicophile’s heart. The band is the project of one James Murphy, a multi-instrumental, record-producing, label-managing, songwriting bundle of talent incarnate. His sound draws from a plethora of genres — disco, rock and punk, just to name a few — but always manages to maintain some consistency that makes it sound uniquely his.

The band played what many fans thought would be its final concert in 2011 at Madison Square Garden. Murphy stumbled on stage in a disheveled tux and gave an epic three-hour performance (you can find a filmed version on Youtube), ending on a bittersweet note with the hit, “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” (2007). Then he waved goodbye and gave the audience a bow, and the theater went silent.

For five years, the band went on hiatus. Perhaps Murphy had a touch of clairvoyance, as his lyrics “love and rock are fickle things” proved to be true. Besides releasing “The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden” in 2014, no new material was produced. But then the band seemed to spring out of a Christmas stocking in late December 2015 with the single “Christmas Will Break Your Heart.” For fans around the world, it was the present they’ve all been waiting for. From then on, the band officially jumped back on the road and spread the holiday cheer, without announcing plans for more new music.

But after performing the standard compilation of their old hits for a while — which likely didn’t disappoint most fans — some big news surfaced. In February 2016, LCD Soundsystem signed to Columbia Records, suggesting an upcoming album release. Murphy has since confirmed that they are in fact working on a full-length album of new material to be released on Columbia Records. Though the exact date is still to be announced, Murphy personally responded to a fan’s inquiry on the matter via a Facebook comment in January, writing “Still working on it, but it’ll be done soon. Winter tends to mess with my voice, so finishing the thing drags out.” The still-unnamed album is expected to be released sometime in 2017. Given Murphy’s recent response, it’s safe to expect it sooner rather than later.

At their first of five performances, which was held on April 6 at the Brooklyn Steel venue, Murphy gave a sneak peak of the album to fans by performing three previously unheard tunes. The band asked the audience specifically not to film or record any of the songs, writing on a poster, “Hi there guys! Welcome! We have a special plea … please don’t film the new songs. It’d be a real gutpunch to all the people who have been working insanely hard for the last 18 months to release this music in the way we want to release it.” This seems like a fair request, and it’s exciting to hear how much they are committed to their vision.

Though fans who didn’t make it to the concert haven’t heard the three new songs yet, a Reddit user who was at the show wrote up a short synopsis of his thoughts on each song. The user compared the first song, “Tonight,” to “a Berlin ’70s discotheque,” noting that it provides the usual sarcasm and commentary that Murphy is known for. The fan further notes that the second song, “Call Police,” seems to have taken inspiration from Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie. “It was also the LOUDEST SONG I’ve ever heard,” the fan wrote. The third and final song, “American Dream,” has been described by concert attendees as ballad-like. From these descriptions, one can only hope that the album won’t disappoint.

Perhaps the band’s debut performance of these three songs suggests that we can expect the album to be released within the next week or so, but no one can say for sure. In the meantime, Soundsystem fans everywhere can continue to listen to the band’s old hits on Spotify to build the hype.


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