LCD Soundsystem were one of the smartest, funniest and most literate bands of the last decade, and they did it by playing by their own rules. This isn't empty hyperbole, there were actual rules. "No sunglasses on stage" was one, as was "No rocking out" and "No psyching up the crowd". Why was this Spartan attitude to audience interaction so important? James Murphy, LCD's erstwhile iron-fisted leader, remembers his reign with a broad grin. "We relaxed them for a while, but people would get like James Brown 'fined'. "You're rocking out! Stop that!" No cool stuff. It's a shortcut for meaning. It's a simulacrum for meaning. I wanted to do away with that as much as humanly possible. The end doesn't justify the means."
Murphy grew up in New Jersey listening to David Bowie, the Clash and the warm hum of electrical appliances. In his stoic Irish Catholic family, the sound of a refrigerator was a "replacement for hugs". After moving to New York City in his late teens his attempts to understand the emotional power of noise led him into production and a series of failed bands. He was 35 by the time LCD Soundsystem released their debut album, and while he says now that he never made another song quite as direct as their debut single "Losing My Edge", it's the band's second album, 2007's Sound Of Silver which contains some of their most visceral and powerful moments, like the double punch to the heart and gut of "Someone Great" and "All My Friends". Along the way he's been charged with musical theft from time to time, and you can certainly hear him paying tribute to his heroes - well, specifically Bowie's "Heroes" - on tracks like "All I Want", but that was always sort of the point. There are no new things under the sun, just better remixes.
Following the release of their third album, This Is Happening in 2010, Murphy called time on the band, as he'd always threatened to, with an epic 4-hour final show at New York's Madison Square Garden on 2 April 2011.
Shut Up and Play the Hits, which has only screened at film festivals thus far, chronicles the events surrounding this final show. The film is being distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, the production and distribution company of late Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. Before he died, Yauch said of the documentary: "It can be pretty clear when a band starts, but perhaps less so when it ends, or how it should end. In that sense, it's brilliant of James [Murphy] to end it in such a definitive way."
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