The New York-based (and near-universally acclaimed) indie rock act LCD Soundsystem bid farewell to their fans last night with one final show at Madison Square Garden last night. The band's revered leader, and one continual member, James Murphy announced that the group would be calling it quits on February 5 via the band's website. Since then their rabid fan base has been half-dreading, half-eagerly anticipating the band's last stand. From all accounts, they did not disappoint the sold-out crowd of adoring fans, playing for three and a half hours and getting a little bit of help from Grammy-winning band The Arcade Fire on their song, "North American Scum."
For those who frequent the music-minded corners of the internet (and even some non-music corners, like Esquire and The Economist), it was impossible not to encounter thousands of words--sometimes from just one source--on the band and its legacy this past week. Here are some of the more notable examples:
- Pitchfork The bible of indie music streamed the band's final show for all those not lucky enough to snag a ticket. The coverage didn't stop there, though, as the site also dedicated 20,000 words to discussing every single song the group ever recorded. As Pitchfork's editor wrote in the intro to the piece, the purpose of this exhaustive exercise was “telling its story through the music. All of it. Below, you’ll find all of LCD Soundsystem’s 43 songs cataloged...with insights on how each track fits into the big picture.” Or at least, to provide something to read while listening to the entirety of that catalog.
- New York's Nitsuh Abebe In a rather lengthy (but not too long) essay, Abebe gets to the heart of what LCD Soundsystem was about: “What happens when you really devote yourself to something, over the longest possible term?” He also touches on the band's obvious appeal to music obsessives, but doesn't overlook the band's humanity. "When you boil down his subject matter, it can actually begin to look like stuff young fans are more likely to hear from parents than favorite musicians: Few people in Murphy’s position have written quite so conversationally about sorting out how to be a functional adult."
- The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones Frere-Jones, who profiled the band for the magazine last year, kept his goodbye brief: “The band is finishing its career with a stretch of shows at Terminal 5 and a last blast, on April 2 at Madison Square Garden, a venue that every New York musician, even a kid from Princeton Junction, dreams of playing. Help Murphy dream; it'll help wake you up.” It was short and sweet, but when was the last time The New Yorker dedicated inches to a rock band twice in one year?
- Esquire's Paul Schrodt The magazine's website conducted interviews with a number of indie-rock acts, including Chromeo, Cut Copy, and Holy Ghost!, asking what Murphy and LCD Soundsystem meant to them. The bands understandably fawned over Murphy, but none more than Schrodt himself who wrote this about Murphy in the intro to the piece:
“He is by no means a superstar musician, but among a certain set of people, he's everything: the frontman of LCD Soundsystem, arguably the most influential indie band of the past five years; co-founder of DFA Records, a young New York record label already known for its "bulletproof" quality control, spawning critically acclaimed acts like Hot Chip and Hercules and Love Affair; and all-around renaissance man, extending his reach far beyond that little world he occupies (he even did the soundtrack for Noah Baumbach's film Greenberg)."
- Spin's Kevin O'Donnell With all the words being spent on LCD Soundsystem, you knew at some point it was going to happen, the inevitable comparison to a universally agreed upon great band that they're nothing like: “How do you pick the best LCD Soundsystem songs? It's like trying to rate Nirvana's music. Both have released an incredible body of music over relatively short runs: three studio albums each, plus a handful of EPs, singles, and live compilations.”
As over-the-top as some of these things may read, they make clear that LCD Soundsystem was a band that really meant something to a lot of people. And while it'll be sad to see them go, their music is sure to live on and be enjoyed by generations of music fans. Plus, now everyone can start looking forward to whatever Murphy will do next.
Here are three videos from last night's show. You can see more of them here.
"North American Scum" (with Arcade Fire)
"All My Friends"
"New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down"