Wednesday 5 September 2012

Shut Up And Play The Hits - LCD Soundsystem

Last night Lynn and I enjoyed a rare midweek 'date' to the pictures, the lovely Glasgow Film Theatre, to see 'Shut Up And Play The Hits', a documentary about the end of LCD Soundsystem, centred around their final epic show at Madison Square Gardens.

We arrived at the GFT a full hour before the 8.40pm showing. With the knowledge that it was a sell-out we wanted to get a couple of drinks in the bar and good seats.

In the lead up to the main fetaure we were 'treated' to some 'live from the red carpet' footage from the premier in the Hackney Empire in London. A rather enthusiastic and annoying presented caught up with Al Doyle (Hot Chip and LCD), James from the Klaxons, the producers and some fans, some of whom must have been set up.

Anyway, eventually (and this may have been meant) we did get to the stage where the audience were thinking 'Shut Up And Play The Hits'. 

This flashes up at the start of the film and kind of sets the tone for the concert side of things; an epic celebration of the music and idealism of LCD Soundsystem during a 4-hour show to a sell-out crowd of 18,000 people at Madison Square Garden.

It is the party to end all parties, champage, special guests like Arcade Fire on backing vocals for 'North American Scum', balloons from the roof, music, dancing and romancing (some great footage of a couple lost in music and each other with a big kiss at one point).

The celebration side of things is balanced by the complete come-down captured in the immediate aftermath of the show. I loved the way that this was portrayed. We had Murphy waking up in his cool NYC loft apartment still wearing his shirt from the night before, cuddling his dog, taking his dog out for a piss, feeding his dog, shaving, listening to answer phone messages, riding the subway, going to his office and basically wondering what the hell he was going to do with his life.

This in itself was counter-balanced by footage of Murphy being interviewed by an extremely inquisitive American journalist. It worked exceptionally well with Murphy being equally humourous and extremely open about his thoughts and feelings.

 The concert footage is fantastic. The producers capture how cavernous the venue is, the roof looks like it is a giant space station, the crowd is vast, yet on stage LCD Soundsystem make it seem intimate by all grouping together surrounded by various banks of equipment.

'All My Friends' is dropped early doors to a round of applause by the audience. The footage from Madison Square Gardens slowly but surely becomes more euphoric as the party goes on; 'Movement' and 'Us and Them' capture the band merging punk, funk, techno, electro, garage and psych all at once - the beauty of LCD.

Footage cuts starkly and dramatically to post-concert dressing room scenes, to Murphy riding the subway or getting a car back to his flat gazing out at the New York skyline, the comedown setting in already.

In the interview we learn that Murphy is in his early 40's and wants to settle down and have kids. He is worried about the effect that touring has on him, stating that in the 2-years he didn't tour between 'Sound Of Silver' and 'This Is Happening' that he didn't get a single grey hair but as soon as he went on the road for the last time he started getting greyer and he wondered what this was doing to him on the inside.

We also learn of Murphy's satisfaction in practically everything LCD and DFA Records have recorded and released and that after 3 albums he wants to end on a high. He likes the fact that he is 'moderately successful', not overly successful/famous, he likes that he can walk his dog and ride the subway.

Some of the camera shots and positioning for the concert footage are incredible, different enough to make it original. So we have the brilliant footage of the mosh pit from directly above, cameras between amps and keyboards, in the crowd, in the photo pit....all capturing the experience.

'Losing My Edge' is predictably brilliant with Murphy also talking about how much it means to him and although people see humour in it, he was talking from the heart. He'd been playing The Stooges while high on E, mixing everything up from his considerable collection (some great shots of that in the flat scenes), now kids were coming up from behind and he was feeling threatened.

Murphy wanders from his office to the LCD storage space to check everything is in. This is probably my favourite scene in the movie, it tugs on the heartstrings. Murphy looks on at the equipment the band have built up, the thoughts running through his mind must have been similar to what were going through my mind. He was thinking of the memories, the music that has been made and played, the good times... and he cries.

This was the funeral scene, the realisation that the band had died. The concert had been the celebration. Murphy was now in mourning.

The film ends with LCD Soundsystem playing 'New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down' cutting to footage of the band having a dinner in a hip New York restaurant, drinking, sharing memories. 

Thanks for the memories James. I hope there is more to come.


Monday 3 September 2012

White by Tim Burgess

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Tim Burgess and The Charlatans, they have been helping to provide the soundtrack to my life for over 20-years.

Tim Burgess seems to be going through a bit of a creative peak in 2012; 

  • Tim's autiobiography 'Tellin' Stories' is top notch, flowing in the way that many of his songs do. The way he talks about music is so refreshing and the lists of singles, songs and albums that he compiles throughout the book have led me to discover some great music.
  • Tim's taste in music is being recognised by promoters and he has turned his hand to curating tents/stages at festivals, getting to play with some of his fave artists at Kendal Calling.
  • Tim is also a bit of a social media guru, he even has an online coffee shop - Tim Peaks Diner!
  • Tim may or may not be bringing out his own cereal 'Totes Amaze Balls' due to one of his tweets!
  • The Charlatans 'Tellin' Stories' tour was a complete celebration of a classic album and the band were in exceptional form
  • Tim has his second solo LP 'Oh No I Love You' coming out at the start of October
  • And this single now
  • Oh and he has his own record label OGenesis 
I've probably missed about 20 things. In short Tim Burgess is a busy and creative young man, he is enjoying it and providing a lot of enjoyment to others.

Anyway, lets get on to the single 'White' which comes complete with a brilliantly trippy video (above)/

'White' starts with a groove; keys, beats, brass, acoustic strums and then Tim comes in telling stories (honestly no pun intended) about an old love.

The chorus flows beautifully;

Miss it all, miss the ending
Miss the texts, we were sending
Miss the score, I miss you more
Sugar soul (I think that is what it is)
Heartbreaks on hold
Heartbreaks on hold

Bring on the album and some Scottish dates including two at Oran Mor on October 19th.

Maybe You by Saint Lou Lou

Some time during August, a Sunday to be precise, I was flicking through the Culture magazine that comes with the Sunday Times and my eyes were immediately drawn to the 'ones to watch' section starring a band called Saint Lou Lou. The picture below speaks for itself...

The Sunday Times piece was swiftly followed by a feature on The Guardian's New Band of the Day highlighting a single out on the hip Kitsune label at the end of August.

Well it is now September and the single 'Maybe You' is out and I have it.

If the pictures are sultry, sexy and seductive, then the music is even more so. The slow paced groove draws you in quickly, the synths just ooze sex, the vocals are dripping with honey.

Maybe you and your sad blue eyes
Pull me through if you come tonight

The production is sublime, the song just seems remarkably fluid. I am already looking forward to hearing more from Saint Lou Lou and I really hope they come to Glasgow.

The song has loads of remixes to check out but here is the original. Apparently an album is due to drop in 2013.