LCD Soundsystem burst onto the indie scene with their unique style and flavor nearly two decades ago, but their dance-friendly rock songs still resonate through playlists and DJ booths, especially in their hometown of New York City. The famous band, led by its primary songwriter and frontman, James Murphy, developed their sound as a mix between the underground electronic movement that was beginning to emerge into the mainstream at the time, with the city’s already beloved alternative and punk rock scene.
The band continued to collect fans on an international level throughout the 2000s before calling it quits in the spring of 2011. They returned to the spotlight with a controversial comeback in March of 2016, and have since been the featured headliners of numerous music festivals and arena shows in the year and a half since. In addition to performing an impressive 22 sold-out hometown shows at NYC’s brand new Brooklyn Steel last year, they also released their highly anticipated comeback album this past September with American Dream.
LCD Soundsystem are currently in the running for “Best Alternative Music Album” and “Best Dance Recording” at the upcoming Grammy Awards this weekend, which happen to take place in their backyard. Before the annual awards show takes place at Madison Square Garden this Sunday, here are five things that you may not have known about the band.
1. Singer James Murphy is quite the wine connoisseur
It goes without saying that singer James Murphy knows a thing or two about music, especially in the indie-electronic realm. His fans outside of Brooklyn may not know that he’s also quite knowledgeable in the world of fermented grapes. The singer opened up his own local wine bar in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn back in June of 2015. Named Four Horsemen, the bar was reportedly designed so that the room’s makeup allows for acoustic sound waves to bounce around similarly to that of a recording studio.
2. The band took the recording process of Sound of Silver quite literally
LCD Soundsystem released their Grammy-nominated sophomore LP back in March of 2007. Titled Sound of Silver, the album’s recording process took place at Long View Farm Studios in central Mass., where the band quite literally captured the sound of silver. According to Murphy, the whole studio was draped in silver in hopes of truly setting the tone for the album. Whatever they did clearly work, as Sound of Silver would go on to earn a Grammy nom in 2008 for "Best Electronic/Dance Album."
3. The band made records so they’d have decent new music to spin during DJ sets
James Murphy is very anti-digital when it comes to giving live DJ sets. He’s also much more fond of older dance music rather than most of today’s records, which was actually the catalyst for writing and recording new music in the first place.
“We started making records because I couldn’t find new records to buy,” he admitted in a 2009 interview. “When we made ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’, I said ‘can we make a dance 12” out of this so I have something to f**king play?’ I still like older records more. I don’t mean to be bitchy about it. It’s not fair. You have 12 months versus 22 years, there’s gotta be more good old music simply by numbers.”
4. James Murphy has scored numerous films for notable indie director Noah Baumbach
In addition to writing his own music, Murphy has also worked alongside Academy Award-winning film director Noah Baumbach (“Frances Ha,” “The Squid and the Whale”). Murphy played a part in arranging the soundtrack for 2010’s “Greenberg” and 2014’s “While We're Young,” in addition to composing the former's on-screen musical score.
5. Music wasn’t exactly the driving career path for Nancy Whang when she met James Murphy
Nancy Whangis LCD Soundsystem’s longtime backup vocalist and keyboard/synths player. She’s also a popular local DJ who occasionally still spins around New York City and Brooklyn, but a career in music wasn’t exactly on her radar when her and Murphy initially met at a party back in the early 2000s. She was actually more involved in the art world at the time.
“I was working for an artist when I first met James. I was working for this artist who published Index Magazine and we met at an Index party,” she admitted in more recent interview. “After that I was just doing various art worldly jobs. The office where I worked was like a block away from Plantain [Recording Studio co-operated by Murphy] so I’d just always be there hanging out. And that was before the label really began.”