Tag Archives: electronic rock

winter 2016-2017 on last.fm

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as it turns out, they wrote quite a few songs about saying goodbye. it’s like we just vomit this shit, it’s all natural. even if we’re fumbling in the dark, lost and confused, there’s little doubt that we’re doing what … Continue reading

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a losing memory

i still remember the first time i listened to “Losing My Edge,” the epically ironic, endlessly tragic, and amazingly magical intro track to the second disc of LCD Soundsystem’s debut double album.

in high school, just as today, i honed OCD-esque methods of listening to music. my methods were religious–in stark contrast to the adolescent irreverence i puffed around the Catholic school ground, i practiced my musical rituals day in and day out: falling asleep and awaking to tabla prayers, patiently assembling a library of MP3s over the years, and–every time i went for a drive–pressing play before moving an inch and refusing to exit the vehicle until the song spilling out of my speakers breathed its final breath.

one particular morning, as i set out on my school commute, i hit play on “Losing My Edge.”

the chaotic spasms of the song’s first fifteen seconds instantly spit me out of my morning daze, in time with my 80s Delorean-lookalike flopping out of the crooked driveway. that initial explosion then left me bobbing to a spacey, sparse, but confidently bumpy beat as i rolled down the steep hill away from my childhood home.

then this guy starts talking. he starts talking about how he’s losing his edge. “to the kids,” or something. he “was there”… somewhere. everywhere? every year? in every important place?

trying to get a grasp of his point, i roll onto the freeway and run straight into traffic. stop and go, stop and go, as this creep keeps going on about his musical knowledge and experiences, as if someone is supposed to care. he uses overly self-conscious phrases like “Internet seekers” and “borrowed nostalgia,” more annoying than they are interesting.

stop and go, stop and go–my view starts changing–bass to snare, bass to snare. the beat is irresistible and his meaning is coming through. i’m just a young high school kid that loves designed-for-the-angsty bands like Nine Inch Nails and Tool, but that doesn’t stop me from recognizing names like “Beefheart” and “Daft Punk” and “Larry Levan.”

as James drones on about losing his edge, the sparse, timid beat in turn starts caving to blasts of crash cymbals and electric guitars, like a thin sheet pressed against flame–and it’s only getting hotter. and the more serious the sounds get, the less serious he becomes. (probably consciously, painstakingly) borrowing a page from Bob Dylan, he delivers deadpan the most hilarious lyrics ever spoken with a human voice, almost like a child ashamed to be sitting in confession. synths instead of computers, turntables instead of guitars, guitars instead of turntables… is he serious? is that what musicians are like?

later, that last question becomes “how is he describing all of my friends?” better yet… how does he manage to foreshadow the next near-decade of my musical development? Juan Atkins, Lou Reed, Joy Division, Soulsonic Force, Human League, Eric B. and Rakim, Basic Channel. jesus, the way the guy names great bands as fast as he can makes it seem like he almost WANTS us to help him lose his edge. like its his mission.

the song reaches its climax with crash cymbal after crash cymbal (“the Sonics… the Sonics…”) just as i start speeding out of traffic and along the tree-lined California freeway, devouring the final delicious minute remaining. and a voice begins to drone repetitively, “you don’t know what you really want.”

i end with this: yesterday, i swear to god, i finally got around to downloading “Here Are the Sonics!!!” dear god, that is good fucking rock & roll.

i don’t know what i really want, true. but at least someone does: LCD Soundsystem. Continue reading

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in which the Hero sums up the second month of the year, for better and for worse. Continue reading

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outside lands

the other day, Chris and i stumbled upon a parking lot flea market on the way to Rachel & Tig’s beautiful sunday morning brunch in Berkeley. besides the records and clothes and other junk that ain’t junk, there were books. … Continue reading

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