Has it really been five years? In fact, it almost has been five years since James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem did a series of farewell shows at Terminal 5 in New York, following a huge, impossible-to-get-into, and critically hailed concert at Madison Square Garden, in late March and early April of 2011. Gothamist was there for what many fans considered a historic moment in American rock, and so were a few thousand lucky others. A documentary was made about the farewell, and fans went on to gush about those shows, which were imbued with the sublime glory of a band dissolving and going out on a high note of their own design. But, just like Sleatter-Kinney eventually decided they loved each other and writing music too much to make the goodbye permanent, Murphy announced today that LCD Soundsystem isn't doing a silly reunion tour as speculated by Pitchfork and others Monday. They're officially back together with a new album of music, and beyond Coachella in April they will be doing a full-fledged tour that won't be some sad rehash after all.
But what will all the arbiters of cool say now if they spent a boatload of cash to get into that MSG show and still talk about it to whoever will listen?
In an open letter published on the band's site and on Facebook, Murphy writes that a funny thing happened early last year, as he went on writing songs by himself like he always does, "while changing a baby, or songs about annoying things that i sing to myself, or to friends while sitting at a bar, or about christmas, or new york." He realized he was writing an album. And then he found out that bandmates Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang were on board to get the band back together.
From the lowercased letter, which begins, in response to internet rumors, "let's just start this thing finally with some clarity":
early in 2015, i realized i had more of those [songs] than i’d ever had in my life. more of them than when i went in to make any lcd record, or when i recorded tapes upon tapes of terrible things in high school. just loads of them, and i found myself a little perplexed. if i record them, what do i do with them? maybe i shouldn’t record them at all? i considered that, which was in a way the easiest option, but it also seemed like a weird and arbitrary (and sort of cowardly) cop-out. but to record them well then, suddenly i have, what a record?
so i asked pat and nancy to come over to my apartment for coffee and told them: “i’m going to record some music. should i make up a band name, or make a “james murphy” record, or should it be lcd?” we all thought a good amount about it. we have had lives for the past 5 years, which has been nice, and those guys have made amazing music with museum of love, the juan maclean, and all sorts of other things. i’d managed to do a bunch of fun, dumb stuff which mostly annoyed people who were into the band because, well, subway turnstiles and a coffee aren't lcd, basically.
at any rate, they both said “let’s make an lcd record”. you see, if they didn’t want to, which i’d half assumed, then there’s no such thing as lcd.
He says that "this isn’t a victory lap or anything, which wouldn’t be of much interest to us," adding, "this is just the bus full of substitute teachers back from their coffee break with new music and the same weird gear or as much of it as we still have."
Murphy is characteristically sheepish and self-conscious about the scare-quote-necessitating "comeback" how terribly uncool it is, after all, to go out in a blaze of glory and then come back again and say "just kidding" after five years. He feels especially bad for any fans who invested a lot in getting tickets for that MSG show which ended up making a lot of people angry and left out because of some seemingly shady dealings to jack up secondary-market ticket prices. But he's realized that maybe making music, and delighting all the other fans who will just be happy for that new music, is better than standing on principle and not making any more music at all.
"Last night i sat with al [Doyle] and nancy in a weird italian bar and we talked about how fucking awesome it was that so many people were happy to have us back," Murphy writes, "but that doesn’t take away from those who feel hurt. to you i have to say: i’m seriously sorry. the only thing we can do now is get back into the studio and finish this record, and make it as fucking good as we can possibly make it."
As for the tour, the dates aren't set yet, and he says they're currently working on the schedule, but it's happening "sometime this year."
Murphy has also taken to responding directly to some of the thousands of comments already accumulated on Facebook.
"Why would a fan be annoyed at LCD Soundsystem making music again?" asks fan Lizzy Dunphy.
"Because shit means a lot to people," replied Murphy (presumably), "and we're fucking lucky to have someone care enough about us to be angry, frankly."
When another fan asked why he even cared what any haters might think, Murphy replied, "because 1. the people i'm talking about aren't 'haters', and 2., what's wrong with haters anyway? some of my best friends are haters."
Below, for nostalgia's sake, the trailer for Shut Up And Play The Hits, the 2012 documentary about the historic moment when LCD Soundsystem thought they were ending for good, but it turns out, not really. We're all allowed to change our minds, people.