Wild Mercury Sound
Looking back over the past month and a bit, I think the two records I've played most in the Uncut office have been a new Grateful Dead live set from 1976, and the forthcoming second album from New York's LCD Soundsystem. Not sure what this says about my taste or my state of mind.
But anyway: LCD's "Sound Of Silver" is tremendous - a kind of electronic party record written from the perspective of a grouchy man in his mid-thirties. James Murphy - who is LCD, ostensibly - has been stereotyped as a hipster over the past few years, thanks to his key role (as artist, producer and CEO of DFA Records) in the New York disco-punk scene.
Murphy, however, is faintly disgusted at the idea of being cool, and "Sound Of Silver" proves that his music deserves to be much more than a passing fad. As the list of artists on his debut single, "Losing My Edge", suggested, Murphy has great taste, and one way of explaining his appeal is to note the influences here: Berlin-era Bowie, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, the Velvets, New Order, early Human League, Steve Reich, The Fall, Liquid Liquid, yada yada.
He's the sort of musician who doesn't see the point in hiding the debt to his favourite artists. But fortunately, Murphy has the character to be more than the sum of his influences. With blocked sinuses, boundless reserves of sarcasm and a fraction of sentiment hiding amidst all the viciousness, he's a gripping frontman. "We set controls for the heart of the sun," he sings on the outstanding "All My Friends", "one of the ways that we show our age." It's great. Especially after you've just sailed past the heart of the sun listening to a 20-minute jam by the Dead.