LCD Soundsystem “American Dream” Album Review + Music Videos…

LCD Soundsystem

American Dream – Cassette // CD // DD // Vinyl

Colombia // DFA Records – released September 1, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup:
James Murphy – Vocals & almost everything except…
Pat Mahoney – drums (tracks 5, 9), vocals (track 9)
Nancy Whang – vocals (track 2)
Tyler Pope – bass guitar (track 4)

Al Doyle – piano (tracks 3, 9, 10), Korg PS-3100 (tracks 3, 9), guitar (tracks 6, 7), vocals (tracks 7, 8), Yamaha CS01 (track 3), snake guitar (track 4), cello (track 5), bowed mandolin (track 5), congas (track 5), Synare (track 6), vocoder controller (track 6), Roland SH-5 (track 6), Korg Delta (track 7), Oberheim OB-3 (track 8),
Gavin Rayna Russom – arpeggiated Roland Jupiter-4 (track 5), Korg MS-20 (track 9), Oberheim SEM (track 9), vocals (track 9)
Matt Thornley
Korey Richey – vocals (tracks 2, 7–9), snaps (track 8)
Matt Shaw – Yamaha CS-60 (track 1)
Riley MacIntyre – snaps (track 8)

Tracklist:
“Oh Baby” 5:49
“Other Voices” 6:43
“I Used To” 5:32
“Change Yr Mind” 4:57
“How Do You Sleep?” 9:12
“Tonite” 5:47
“Call the Police” 6:58
“American Dream” 6:06
“Emotional Haircut” 5:29
“Black Screen” 12:05
Japanese edition and digital re-release bonus track
“Pulse (v.1)” 13:42

History:
“American Dream” is LCD’s first studio album in seven years. (The last was 2010’s This is Happening.) This is also a reunion album after the split in April of 2011 after their farewell concert at Madison Square Garden.

LCD Soundsystem Live at Madison Square Garden, NYC in 2011

American Dream is the second longest studio album by the band. It is also the most polished sounding of the band’s releases. “The album’s lyrics deal with depression, social issues, fear, and ending of friendship and love.” The sound is also is a mix of Dance, Disco, New Wave, Punk, Synthpop, and Rock. (Like a mix of their past albums with a refinement of the sound mixture that James has since made his own)

Track-by-track:

“Oh Baby” – Starts off with a constant metallic clang and layers are slowly added in, like drums and a bass synth, after a minute we get the first words. “Oh Baby” despite up tempo beats the song becomes melancholy. He asked to be awakened by his lover.

“Other Voices” – This track is very Talking Heads-y; the bass line is very funky. “Your still a pushover for passionate people” is one of the phrases that is repeated throughout the track

“I Used To” – Is another Talking heads sounding song.

“Change Yr Mind” – A strange mix of some industrial sounding beats a dance bass, the bellowing of an out-of-tune guitar tones and post-punk vocal delivery.

“How Do You Sleep?” – A drum pattern and arpeggiated synth make this song a dreamscape with the vocals a little more drawn out with an almost loud howling from the distance.  This track has a different vocal cadence and that is varied from James Murphy’s normal flow.  As the track progresses so do the layers build to another dance freak-out.

“Tonite” (My favorite song) – Now for the Grammy winning song… We get an 80s bass synth. The song has a very Giorgio Moroder sound.

“Call the Police” – This has a dream pop feel to it and it was also the first single.

“American Dream” – This also has a dream pop feel to it.

“Emotional Haircut” – Has a post-punk feel to it.

“Black Screen” – Is a mostly ambient track with vocoded vocals.

“Pulse (v.1)” – Is an instrumental that wouldn’t sound out of place on 45:33

Live Band Pic

Final Thoughts:

This album is my favorite from the band. It is a mixture of everything James has done in past albums and polished it to what I feel is the perfect example of what LCD Soundsystem is… Everything is here, the rhythms, the hits, the experimentation, heartfelt lyrics. So if this is your first exposure to the band this album is a great place to start.

Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dream_(LCD_Soundsystem_album)
https://www.facebook.com/lcdsoundsystem/


Album Review – Heavy Traffic “Plastic Surgery”

Heavy Traffic

Plastic Surgery

Twin Earth Records

Released December 17, 2016 – Cassette / DD

 

Twin Earth Records brings us their offering from Heavy Traffic that was purportedly recorded “live to tape” over the course of a March 2016 weekend. Ian Caddick and Tav Palumbo had recorded five albums of material in the two years previous to moving to Brooklyn, New York in 2015, intent on putting a band together to focus on playing live. Two months later this was the result.

First thing I gotta say is the vocal mix is a little too over-saturated and echoplexed to be able catch most of the lyric content on first listen. Leaning heavy on psych rock, combining elements of noise, doom, punk, and shoegaze, most of the songs move along at a tempered slower pace until “Three Stigmata” when the staccato mixes with fills galore lending to a faster pace and listenability that has been missing until. “Medicated Bed” also has a faster pace complete with guitar solos brought into the forefront making this the one I kept going back to as the standout. The bonus song with the release seemingly reflects on two members referred to as White and Green on the band’s Facebook page, presumably Ian and Tav, clocking in as one of the longest songs offered and goes back to the slower tempoed stoner tromp of the first half of this record. The track listing needs to have a smoother flow in and out as they demonstrated they could do with “Acid Sweater” running smooth as glass into “Broth Drain”. We’ll see with the progression of these guys. If they are as prolific as reported, this should be the first of much to come and I hope the polishing continues until it is refined as they find the balance in the vocal mix so the words conveyed are easier grabbed. Seeing Heavy Traffic Live would be the venue to get the full affect in my opinion of this solid debut on Twin Earth Records.   If you like your Traffic “Heavy,” this is release is for you!

 

Band Pic

 

Band Members:
Ian Caddick
Tav Palumbo
David Grzedzinski
Dan Bradica

Words by Ric “Sui-Syko” Dorr