Entries tagged with: James Murphy

25 result(s) displayed (1 - 25 of 109):

by Bill Pearis

Hot Chip with David Byrne at Webster Hall 8/5/2015 (photo by Nicky Digital)
David Byrne and Hot Chip

Hot Chip played their second of two sold-out shows at Webster Hall on Wednesday (9/5) which was pretty much a non-stop dance party. (It's always a bit disconcerting to feel Webster Hall's floor bounce so much.) Like they did at Webster the night before and Baby's All Right on Monday, Hot Chip finished the night with a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" with a bit of LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" at the end. After seeing they had brought out LCD's Nancy Whang on Tuesday, I was wondering who might make an appearance on Wednesday.

I figured it would be Pat Mahoney who was LCD's drummer (and Hot Chip's on one tour) and whose band Museum of Love opened the show. But it turned out to be someone a little more special: David Byrne whose shock-white hair was instantly recognizable from where I was in the balcony before they actually announced him. He held it down on tambourine duty. Johnny Lam, who played with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor and David Byrne at the William Onyeabor tributes at BAM, was on stage as well playing pedal steel. The crowd went nuts, and even more so when they realized "All My Friends" had kicked in. (James Murphy watched from the VIP area.) You can watch a few short instagram videos below.

Continue reading "David Byrne joined Hot Chip at Webster Hall for "Dancing in the Dark / All My Friends" cover (video)"

by Bill Pearis

Ezra Furman Perpetual Motion People

Ezra Furman defies easy categorization, actually singing "let's wreck all these preconceived notions" on "Ordinary Life," one of the standout cuts from his new album Perpetual Motion People that dabbles in folk, doo-wop, distorted rock, and hooky guitar pop. (He is also orthodox Jewish and publicly identifies as queer and genderfluid.) The record is worth checking out and you can stream the whole thing via Spotify below.

Copies of Perpetual Motion People sold at Rough Trade come with an exclusive five-song covers EP, featuring takes on Beck's "Devil's Haircut," Melanie's "The Good Book," The Replacements' "Androgynous," The Arcade Fire's "Crown of Love" and an affecting, acoustic version LCD Soundsystem's "I Can Change." That LCD cover makes its premiere in this post and you can listen below.

Ezra and his band start a short US tour tonight (8/5) in NYC at Rough Trade with J. Fernandez and Emily Einhorn. Tickets for that show are still available but if you'd like to go for free we're giving a pair away. Details on that and a list of all Ezra Furman dates are below.

And speaking of LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy will DJ at Output on August 14 with Eric Duncan. Tickets for that are on sale.

Continue reading "Ezra Furman released 'Perpetual Motion People,' shares LCD Soundsystem cover, begins tour tonight in NYC (win tix!)"

James Murphy Subway Symphony

While he's been busy with his Four Horseman wine bar/restaurant, James Murphy hasn't given up on his dream to change the sounds subway turnstiles make into something more symphonic. He's even got backing for it now: Heineken, who are producing videos about the "Subway Symphony" project, and they are apparently developing prototype turnstiles.

But what they don't have, is any support whatsoever from the MTA. The Transit Authority's spokesman Adam Lisberg told Gothamist, "I am familiar with James Murphy's proposal, and while I would never refer to him as 'just a musician,' I can say confidently that it is as creative as it is unworkable" and said that when the MTA gave Murphy permission to film one of his promotional videos in the Subway, the agreement included the following language:

Licensee and Agent hereby acknowledge that the MTA has informed the individual depicted in the advertisement that the concept presented in the advertisement involving the turnstiles of the New York City subway system cannot be implemented.
Murhpy, however, told Gothamist that Lisberg is "not a policy maker, he's the press guy, so I wouldn't expect him to know what our project is." Lisberg responded, saying the contract's language "seems pretty black and white."

Even if Heineken or some other benefactor was willing to pay for "Subway Symphony" to be fully implemented, the tones actually serve a specific purpose beyond annoying straphangers like Murphy:

"The tones are an ADA element for the visually impaired, and we won't mess with them--much less take turnstiles out of service and risk disabling them for an art project. (It would be a very cool project, don't get me wrong, but we can't mess with turnstiles that handle 6 million customers a day for it.)"
Murphy remains politely tenacious, with a new promotional video being released this week which you can watch below.

Continue reading "James Murphy still working on 'Subway Symphony,' has backing from Heineken but MTA still says it'll never happen"

Four Horsemen's vintage McIntosh soundsystem / wine racks (via @fourhorsemenbk)
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While James Murphy has his hands full with his new wine bar in Williamsburg, he's not letting it completely rule his life. He'll be spinning at Output on June 19, performing back-to-back sets with Eric Duncan which he's done a few times now. Tickets are on sale now.

Returning to that wine bar -- Four Horsemen opened to the public this past Sunday (6/7). Bon Appetit got a first look at the place which features a lot of blonde wood and a vintage soundsystem:

"You can buy $20,000 speakers, but put them in a room that's not right and it sounds terrible," Murphy said. "If you buy $20 speakers and put them in a room that's tuned right, it'll sound great." The acoustics are serious business at The Four Horsemen--and no wonder given Murphy's background. The cedar slats on the ceiling are absorbent, and the burlap on the walls helps, too. "Imagine the wall was a mirror. If you shone a flashlight on it, the light would bounce right back in your face. If that mirror that was a bumpy, chaotic surface like a disco ball, the light would disperse and go all over the place," Murphy explained.

As for what tunes will be blaring through the sound system, which Murphy purchased on eBay, Murphy said it'll be whole albums. There will be no Pandora or Spotify (he "hates that stuff") and no electronic or dance music. Instead, expect feel-good energetic music, anything from The Monks to Van Morrison.

Four Horsemen is open daily at 5:30 PM, with the kitchen open till 11 PM and wine served later than that. Anybody gone already?

Stream his David Bowie cover from earlier this year below...

Continue reading "James Murphy opened 'Four Horsemen' wine bar, DJing at Output this month"

(via @fourhorsemenbk)
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When a prominent chef heard that James Murphy had decided to open a wine bar in Brooklyn, he nudged Mr. Murphy to compose an online journal about the process.

Mr. Murphy mulled it over, at least for a moment.

"I thought I would call it 'the Worst Idea Ever,' " he said the other day with a flick of the self-effacement that became his hallmark as the brain behind the dance-punk band LCD Soundsystem.

No pearls of prose ever materialized, though.

"I've never done it because I'm overwhelmed," he said. - [New York Times]

James Murphy's new wine bar is called Four Horsemen (as in "of the Apocalypse"?) and is located in Williamsburg at 295 Grand Street which some of you maybe remember as the address of vegan fast food spot Foodswings. Of the venture, which he's undertaking with wife Christina Topsoe, Murphy says "I need something with really low margins, high risk, brutal hours and which I have no experience at."

Also helping the couple (who are due to have a child any minute) is Justin Chearno, the onetime Pitchblende/Turing Machine guitarist who has been a fixture at Williamsburg's UVA Wine Shop almost since its inception. There will be food too ("We keep calling it a wine bar because we want to underpromise and overdeliver") and he's worked hard on the acoustics, "mounting noise-soaking burlap on the walls and cedar slats and sound-absorption panels along the ceiling so that conversations can proceed at a civilized cadence." It all sounds very grown up.

Four Horsemen is set to open in early June.
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by Bill Pearis

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We posted yesterday about James Murphy's score for Noah Baumbauch's upcoming comedy, While We're Young, and the soundtrack includes his cover of David Bowie's "Golden Years" and that has now been released. It's definitely an original take on the cut and you can stream it (via The Dissolve) below...but just don't get too excited. You can stream Bowie's original below too if you're feeling undernourished.

Continue reading "stream James Murphy's cover of Bowie's "Golden Years" from the 'While We're Young' soundtrack"

by Bill Pearis

Ad-Rock in 'While We're Young'
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James Murphy has made some non-Tennis-based new music, scoring Noah Baumbach's film While We're Young, which will be out March 27 in the US. He also covers David Bowie's "Golden Years" for the soundtrack, which also features cuts from Psychedelic Furs, A Tribe Called Quest, HAIM, Survivor and more. Full tracklist is below and it's out March 23. One piece from Murphy's score will be on the official soundtrack, a moody synth piece titled "We Used to Dream" which is in the Vangelis/Tangerine Dream style. You can stream that below.

As for the film, While We're Young stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as an uptight 40-something affluent couple who become friends with a 20-something Bushwick-type couple (GIRLS' Adam Driver and Big Love's Amanda Seyfried). Hilarity and soul-searching ensues. The film also stars Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz and an out-of-retirement Charles Grodin. While We're Young was shown at both the Toronto and NY Film Festivals last September? Anybody catch it there? It's gotten pretty good reviews. You can watch the trailer below.

James Murphy, who previously scored Noah Baumbach's Greenberg (also starring Ben Stiller), headlines the Slingshot Fest in Athens, GA later this month.

Continue reading "James Murphy did the score & covers Bowie in new comedy 'While We're Young' which has Ad-Rock in it (stream a track) "

Slingshot

Slingshot Festival is returning to Athens, GA from March 26-28, and this year's lineup includes a DJ set from LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, Jamie xx, Nosaj Thing, Clark, Saint Pepsi, Reptar, Holly Herndon, Glenn Kotche, Prince Rama, Omar Souleyman, Juana Molina, Awesome Tapes From Africa, a DJ set from Washed Out, and more TBA.

There will also be a comedy night headlined by Kurt Braunohler, as well as a Japan Nite with Peelander-Z, TsuShiMaMire, QUORIUM, the fin., BO-PEEP and Zarigani$. Tickets go on sale today (1/22) at 9 AM EST.

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As mentioned, James Murphy headed up a project for IBM that turned real-time data from the 2014 US Open into music. That music was mostly random bleeps and bloops but he then took that and shaped it into something still bleepy and bloopy but with more form:

James Murphy used the IBM Cloud and a custom-built algorithm to turn data points from more than 400 hours of tennis play (data like serve speed, number of aces, etc.) into music cues, generating real-time soundtracks for each match. Using those tracks as soundboards James remixed his favorites to create the 12-track album you see here.
You can stream Remixes Made With Tennis Data in its entirety, below...

Continue reading "stream James Murphy's 'Remixes Made With Tennis Data' LP"

James Murphy @ CBGB's Fest 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
James Murphy

You may remember that IBM hired James Murphy to help create music based on data from US Open tennis matches. The project was called The US Open Sessions and resulted in over 400 hours of music. Muphy went through it all, picked some of his favorite pieces and gave them a little more structure. Those will now be released as an album titled Remixes Made with Tennis Data which will be out this Friday (12/19). You can stream a bit of one of those remixes, "Match 176," below.

Last week James Murphy DJ'd at Output with his old pal Tim Sweeney -- anybody go to that?

Continue reading "James Murphy releasing 'Remixes Made with Tennis Data' LP this week (preview a track)"

James Murphy at CBGB Fest 2013 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
James Muphy

LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy hasn't let the dissolution of his old band slow him down. He's hitting Brooklyn's Output on December 11 with frequent collaborator Tim Sweeney to DJ the club's weekly INPUT party. Tickets are on sale.

James Murphy has been a busy guy in the past few months, drumming for the recently-reunited Dungbeetle, starring in Arcade Fire's recent horror flick, DJing a Star Trek event and turning tennis data into music.

Other recently-announced Output DJ sets include Chromeo on 12/30 (tickets), DJ Koze and many more on New Year's Eve (tickets), and Bonobo on 2/5 (tickets). James Blake's DJ set at Output is this Wednesday (12/3) and tickets are still available.

Watch James Murphy's 2012 Boiler Room set below...

Continue reading "James Murphy DJing Output this month (Chromeo, DJ Koze on NYE and Bonobo DJ sets also announced)"

LCD's final bow at MSG, 2011 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
James Murphy

As mentioned, Saturday (11/22) at Le Poisson Rouge is the release party for the new issue of Radio Silence which features Stephin Merritt, Tanya Donnelly, Matthew Friedberger, readings by Greil Marcus, Rick Moody and more. One of the more interesting performers is a reunion of late-'80s NYC art-punks Dungbeetle whose frontman Sam Lipsyte is now an established author. We noted that one of their biggest fans was a pre-LCD James Muphy who ended up as their sound guy. Well on Saturday, he'll be playing with them as their drummer. Murphy hasn't done much (any) non-DJ performing since LCD Soundsystem's MSG farewell. Tickets are still available.

Arcade Fire

It's Halloween and the horror short films keep coming. First Avey Tare, and now Arcade Fire have put one out called Festi. The band gives the following description:

Festi, an Arcade Fire production.
In association with people in Austin.
A look back at the Arcade Fire summer festival tour, 2011.
It was directed by "Noreen Bauble" and stars the members of Arcade Fire, James Murphy, Fleet Foxes, The National, ZZ Top, Slash, Peter Gabriel and more. Watch the full spooky thing below...

Continue reading "Arcade Fire release short horror film 'Festi' ft. James Murphy, Fleet Foxes, The National, Peter Gabriel, Slash & more"

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NY Super Week, the lead-up to NY Comic Con, is almost upon us, running from October 3 - 12 at places all over NYC. Since we last posted about it they've added a LOT more events. Among them:

--James Murphy and Pete Tong at Hammerstein Ballroom on October 7 (tickets): Coffemaker James Murphy and famed UK DJ Pete Tong will trade sets after a conversation with Endgame: The Calling author James Frey.

--"Rock Comic Con" at Webster Hall's Marlin Room on October 9 (tickets): High-concept geek-friendly bands Kirby Krackle, Harry & The Potters, and Math the Band play songs about comic book characters, Harry Potter and...math.

--Cast Of Star Trek: The Next Generation Moderated By William Shatner at Hammerstein Ballroom on October 10 (tickets): Jean-Luc, Geordie, Data, Q, Troi, Dr. Crusher...pretty much everyone except Whoopie Goldberg and Will Wheaton.

--'Harmontown Live' at 92 Y on October 10 (tickets): The creator of Community (and writer of cult pilot Heat Vision & Jack), Dan Harmon will record a live edition of his popular Harmontown podcast featuring roleplaying games with special celebrity guests TBA.

--"Ask Me Another" at 92 Y on October 10 (tickets). The popular WNYC show (a mix of gameshow, music and comedy) tapes live with special guest Neil Gaiman.

--The Karate Kid 30th Anniversary Cast Conversation and Screening at 92 Y on October 11 (tickets). Has it really been 30 years since The Karate Kid? Join Ralph Macchio, William Zabka ("Sweep the Leg" Johnny), and Martin Kove (Sensei Jon Kreese) as they talk about the making of the film after a screening.

Super Week also boasts the Nickelodeon reunion with Polaris, Startalk Live! with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugene Mirman and Malcolm Gladwell, and and a whole lot more Super Week. The full schedule is here.

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After dabbling in film and coffee, James Murphy has finally gotten back to making music. Sort of. Murphy has teamed up with some big brains at IBM to generate music based on game data from 2014 US Open matches which is happening as we speak out in Forest Hills, Queens. (Did they pick him for his fondness for wearing white?) The project, called The US Open Sessions, uses every point, ace and foot fault to create bleeps and bloops coming out of your speakers. (It's very bleepy and bloopy.) Some 400 hours of it will be generated by the end of things on September 8. It's being generated live, so if you're watching on TV and want a soundtrack to it, here you go. The matches' music is archived as well. For more on this,  a short video of how this all came about can be watched in this post.

In related news, we weren't able to get James to sit on our City Gardens Q&A panel at AMC Loews Village 7 tonight (8/28), but we do hope he comes to watch the documentary about the club he once worked at as a bouncer.

US Open Sessions video below...

Continue reading "James Murphy making music based on data from US Open tennis matches"

James Murphy at LCD's final show (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
James Murphy

LCD Soundsystem/DFA Records honcho James Murphy has a few DJ dates coming up including one in NYC happening on May 28 at Output. It's with Eric Duncan, who he's DJed Output with before. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All currently known dates are listed below.

Meanwhile, LCD Soundsystem's loooooooong goodbye is continuing with their interactive exhibit at Rough Trade NYC which is underway and continuing through May 7 (free and open to the public, 11AM - 11PM nightly).

List of all currently known James Murphy dates below...

Continue reading "James Murphy -- upcoming DJ dates including Output"

by Wyatt Marshall

Lotsa Coffee Drippin': Murphy's blend
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Producer/DJ/director/man about town James Murphy may never see his plans to turn NYC subway cacophony into pleasant soothing xylophone sounds come to fruition, another long-brewing idea has now come to a boil.  Esquire reports that the espresso blend Murphy's been working on for a while has now hit the market. It's called "House of Good" and was developed as a collaboration between Murphy and Blue Bottle. It's descibed thusly:

Its flavor profile - dried cherry, cocoa, meyer lemon - is a harmony between the voluptuous and the austere: It's akin to the second movement of Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 3 - or, perhaps, to that buzzing, syncopated synth line from "Dance Yrself Clean."
You can buy it online right now at $26 a pound and is available at the Boerum Hill location of Blue Bottle coffee (which opened today), for the next month in its espresso drinks.

For those keeping track, Murphy's been working on his coffee blend for about two years. You also may remember that "House of Good" is the name of the not-yet-realized store that the ex-LCD Soundsystem frontman plans to open in Brooklyn, which he told the NY Times will sell "cheap Chinese sneakers, whimsical socks, candy from Denmark" and luggage designed by Murphy, among other things.

"House of Good" isn't the only indie-rock edible out there -- Bonny Prince Billy made a coffee, too, and how could anyone forget Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks' "Cinnamon and Lesbians" ice cream flavor at Momofuku Milk Bar?

James Murphy getting on the Bedford L (clearly at an off hour)
MTA

Remember James Murphy's idea to make the NYC subway system more musical? He's still talking about it, and was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal in a short video feature:

The subway sounds quite brutal, and there's a missing opportunity at the turnstile. At the moment there's this kind of unpleasant beep. Given that there's already this information in the turnstile, why don't we make it a nice sound, just make it pleasant.
The idea really came to spark when Murphy heard that the MTA were planning to switch to a tap-and-ride from the old swiping system, he saw his chance with new turnstiles. "There's already going to be a thing that makes a sound, why can't it make the nice sound?"

Unfortunately it's probably not going to happen. WSJ points out that Murphy is not the first to have this idea and, more importantly, the MTA is just not that into it. MTA spokesman Andy Lisberg told the Journal, among other things, "we don't really care." Still, Murphy is not giving up on the idea and has set up a website and an online petition for the project. You can read Murphy's plea and can hear what his "nice sounds" might sound like in that video, below....

Continue reading "listen to James Murphy's idea for a "Subway Symphony" & sign his petition to make it happen (though it probably won't)"

Klaxons

UK art rockers Klaxons are finally set to follow their 2010 album, Surfing the Void, with their third full length this spring. Release date and title TBA, but ahead of that they'll put out a new single, "There Is No Other Time," on March 23 via Akashic Records. Produced by Gorgon City, the new single sees the band heading in a synth-poppy direction, and you can hear it for yourself, below.

The new album is set to feature Tom Rowlands (Chemical Brothers), Erol Alkan and James Murphy.

Stream below...

Continue reading "Klaxons planning new LP, release new single "There Is No Other Time" (listen)"

Lee "Scratch" Perry @ LPR during RBMA 2013 (more by Greg Cristman)
Lee Scratch Perry

Remember when the Red Bull Music Academy "took over" New York City for most of May 2013, bringing in such luminaries as Brian Eno, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Giorgio Moroder, Kim Gordon, James Murphy, and many more to play and talk about music? You can relive that month -- or get a taste of what you missed -- in a new documentary, What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music:

What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music explores the challenges that a life in music can bring. Shot with hand-held cameras in a cinema verité style at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York by award-winning director Ralf Schmerberg, the film seeks to go beyond music, and ask questions about life itself.
The film will screen in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit on February 17 and then be released on the internet for free on February 18. Trailer for the documentary is below.

Additionally, there is a coffee table book too titled For the Record: Conversations with People Who Have Shaped the Way We Listen to Music which pairs artists with journalists and music industry types and lets the discourse flow. Nile Rodgers, Sly & Robbie, Erykah Badu, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Modeselektor and more are featured and all the pairings are listed, along with the book art, below.

Continue reading "Red Bull Music Academy documentary coming in February (watch the trailer), book out now"

by Andrew Sacher

Pitchfork

Pitchfork just posted their Top 100 Tracks of 2013. It's got what some people might call the worst song ever, the song with the most talked-about rap verse of the year, some surprises, and some of the year's most undeniable songs. Their #1 pick is certainly one of those undeniable songs, whether or not you're a fan of the artist who made it. What do you think of their list? Did your favorite song make it? Any glaring omissions?

Check out the full top 100 below...

Continue reading "Pitchfork's Top 100 Tracks of 2013"

David Bowie

There's already one video, made on the cheap, for the James Murphy remix of David Bowie's "Love Is Lost," and now, like James/David's pals in Arcade Fire did with "Reflektor," a second video has been made. This one, directed by Barnaby Roper (Futureheads, Moby), came out today (via VICE) and it can be watched below. It's on the NSFW side, mind you.

In other news, James Murphy wants NYC subways to be a little more musical. Reports Huffington Post:

In an interview with Chicago radio station WBEZ, Murphy explained a little about his thought process and why he thinks that incorporating music into the already very noisy subway is so important. "I want to make every station in New York have a different set of dominant keys," he said. "So that people when they grow up, later on in life, will hear a piece of music and be like, 'Oh that's Union Square.'"

Murphy wants a note to play every time a commuter walks through a turnstile.The most musical parts of the day would of course be rush hour when large crowds of people are walking through the turnstiles, causing many different chords to echo through the stations.

"Each line would be a piece," said Murphy. "The green line would go through different chords and when they intersected with other lines that would change that station."

Watch the new Bowie video below...

Continue reading "David Bowie made a new video for the James Murphy remix of "Love Is Lost" (watch it); James wants musical NYC subways"

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You may remember that last year, James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem, DFA Records) was picked by Canon to make a short film as part of Project Imagination. Using pictures submitted by the public as inspiration, he made it under the mentorship of project head Ron Howard. He was also busy working on Arcade Fire's Reflektor, which came out this week, and now his film, titled Little Duck, is out as well. Murphy shot the film in Japan back in March with cinematographer Manuel Alberto Claro who did Lars Von Trier's Melancholia. The 15-minute film tells the story of a man who must leave New York and go back to his Japanese hometown when his estranged brother gets into some trouble. Watch it below...

Continue reading "James Murphy's short film, 'Little Duck' is out now (watch it)"

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That expanded edition of David Bowie's The Next Day (which just lost the Mercury Prize to James Blake's Overgrown) is due out on Tuesday (11/4), which features the James Murphy's "Hello Steve Reich" mix of "Love is Lost" (which cribs a little from "Ashes to Ashes"). Bowie just released the video for that song which, appropriately for today, features some scary monsters. Specifically, some puppets from Bowie's own collection. Check it out below...

Continue reading "David Bowie made a video for James Murphy remix of "Love is Lost" starring scary puppets"

Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire have had no lack of a marketing plan for their new album, Reflektor (due out 10/29 via Merge), which has included SNL, an NBC special, mysterious murals, cryptic videos, and some random shows, including two in NYC during CMJ at 299 Meserole in Bushwick on Friday (10/18) and Saturday (10/19). Not the first time Arcade Fire was the talk of CMJ.

Formal attire or costumes were mandatory for the show, and as you may have heard, the first night began with a little "trick" from the band. Stereogum puts it like this:

[Fans] were let inside shortly after 8 PM and crowded around the small stage set up with some gear, setlists, and a Reflektors logo behind it. Ninety minutes later, "Reflektor" producer James Murphy took the stage with some bad news: "There's been a little snafu. We can only get three members right now. But it's going to be OK. I'd like to introduce the Reflektors!"

Three people in those familiar papier-mâché masks came onstage to jam awkwardly on bad reggae for a bit. Then, on the opposite side of the room, a curtain dropped to reveal the real, larger stage, where the real, larger Arcade Fire launched into "Reflektor." A chaotic stampede of kids in fancy suits and dresses ensued. Some were not amused.

Later, Win Butler apologized saying, "Sorry we played a trick on you, we just thought it was funny." He then continued saying it wouldn't be the last time they did something to be funny that no one else thought was funny, and some crowd members may have felt that way, when after their 75-minute set, Win returned to the stage to explain their lack of an encore. Via SPIN:
"We're not playing any more songs," he said. "But we're going to play a bunch of dance music. We're going to come out and dance with you. If you guys want to hang out and dance, that's totally cool. But if everyone just stares at the stage, nothing's happening. So it's super awkward."

The audience booed.

"I just wanted to explain it to you so you know that it's happening," he continued over the kvetching. "If that's super a bummer that we're totally going to dance with you and party all night, then I apologize. But otherwise, I'll see you on the dance floor."

"Tricks" aside, what Arcade Fire did do is debut more previously unheard tracks from their album, including "Flashbulb Eyes," "Joan of Arc," "Supersymmetry," and "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)," in addition to playing the other Reflektor tracks that have found their way online in one way or another. Only two older songs -- "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)" and "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" -- were played though. Regarding those new tracks, Pitchfork writes:
[The songs] are darker, more self-aware, dancier, and--yes--trickier than anything Arcade Fire have done before. "We've all got something to hide," yelped Butler on an arena-ready version of "Reflektor", his foot on the monitor and his arm arched up over his head, Bono-style. And then, on the very next song, "Flashbulb Eyes", he sang, "You know I've got nothing to hide." It was a slippery, knowing contradiction from a band more known for stone-faced frankness. There are precedents for this kind of playful rock'n'roll about-face, of course--Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, U2's Achtung Baby, and R.E.M.'s Monster instantly spring to mind--but it's still a viable way forward for bands that have reached the top of rock's heap but aren't ready to call it a day or bask in past greatness just yet.

The goal is to thread the needle between fresh and familiar in order to keep everyone--band and fans alike--interested, and based on the new tracks shown off at the gig, Arcade Fire have done just that. Along with touching on 80s pop and new wave, their new sound also harkens back to the dance-rock revival of the mid-00s--understandable given Murphy's involvement--bringing to mind names like the Rapture, the Faint, and even Bright Eyes' 2005 foray into electronics, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn.

Videos of those four previously unheard songs, the show's setlist, and more pictures from Friday night, below.

UPDATE: Zane Lowe also just premiered the new Arcade Fire single, "Afterlife," which you can also hear below.

Continue reading "Arcade Fire played "tricks" and new songs at two intimate NYC shows during CMJ (pics, videos, setlist)"

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