Playlist #13 : LCD Soundsystem

med_LCD Soundsystem-LCD SoundsystemBorn in 2005, their final, fevered concert took place on April 2nd 2011 and was documented in the film “Shut Up and Play the Hits.” On that day, sad disco balls stopped spinning and hipsters the world over shed non-ironic tears. It’s a mixed bag when bands dissolve at the apex of their creative powers. On the one hand, they exit with a bang instead of a whimper. But on the other, especially when it’s a toe-tapping, dancefloor filling group like LCD Soundsystem, one can’t help but wonder what groovy electro album they might have produced next, and it’s easy to mourn all the house party anthems we’ll never hear.

 

PLAYLIST

  1. Dance Yrself CleanThis is a nine minute jam that doesn’t drop the hammer until a full three minutes into the track. In a music industry obsessed with easily digestible and dispensable singles, it’s risky to even attempt to record something longer than five minutes. So it’s all the more impressive that this opus keeps me interested in every single second. “I miss the way the night comes, with friends who always make it feel good.”
  2. Daft Punk is Playing at My House –  This is the track that put LCD (and for some, Daft Punk themselves) on the map. It’s a fun, punky, groovy ode to house parties and the DJs and producers who fuel the dance floor fire. “…I’ve waited 7 years and 15 days.”
  3. Get Innocuous!The first track on their sophomore album, Sound of Silver, this song is one of my favorite to run or workout to. A slow build releases to a driving beat that just won’t quit.
  4. I Can ChangeFound on their last album or original releases, This is Happening, this is one of my favorite LCD songs to play in a non-dance environment. It’s more pulled-back and chill than their normal fare and I think the lyrics highlight the skill of frontman James Murphy. “And love is a murderer…but if she calls you tonight, everything is alright.” Deep.
  5. HomeIn the process of nailing down my favorite 10 songs, I discovered that Sound of Silver is my favorite LCD Soundsystem album. This is the last track on the album but it won’t be the final one on this list. What separates LCD from other electro rock bands for me is the vocals provided by Murphy. He manages to make long, epic tunes like Home feel like they’re constantly moving. And I think the concept of being “afraid of what you need” is true poetry.
  6. Tribulations –  This one gets us back to the hard, driving, electronic sound that is the bedrock of this group. And if you like Tribulations, be sure to check out the Lindstrom remix.  I am in no way trying to sneak two songs into one because I couldn’t decide which version I like better. Not at all.
  7. North American Scum – Since their first single, “Losing My Edge,” LCD established themselves as funny and self deprecating group not afraid to point fingers at society and themselves. North American Scum was released when the rest of the world was, shall we say, less than enamored with the U.S. Again, they bridge electro dance grooves with punk vocals and sentiment. Murphy even lets loose with a few wails on this one. “I know you wouldn’t touch us with a 10 foot pole…”
  8. All My Friends – Another opus that slowly builds into an anthem about love, friendship, and the indescribable bond that is built when you party and dance with those closest to you. I once had a bride and groom choose this as their last song of the night. All 8 minutes of it. Needless to say, all their friends were on the floor for the whole thing.
  9. Someone Great –  A morbid and painful look at death and loss that doesn’t attempt to overly explain or comfort. “We’re safe for the moment. Saved. For the moment.”
  10. Great Release – Though the last song they played live together was “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” I choose to close my LCD Soundsystem Top 10 with what I think is their most beautiful song. This is one band I wish would un-break-up.

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Playlist #12: Wes Anderson Soundtrack Songs

His career launched like a Bottle Rocket. Then it was back to back hits, with Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums (my favorite). And with The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson is back to being one of most consistent directors. And while his film catalog may be understandably imperfect, the one constant in all of his films is an amazing soundtrack. I recently rewatched The Royal Tenenbaums and realized that you could DJ an entire pre-ceremony and ceremony using just that movie’s score and music. So I have whittled down to my 10 favorite Wes Anderson Soundtrack Songs (sorry Nico).

 

 

PLAYLIST

  1. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard : Paul SimonThis is probably one of my most played songs during cocktail hour or outdoor social gatherings. It’s fun, carefree and timeless. Though, if I’m not mistaken, it’s about a boy getting sent to jail or detention by his parents. Anyway, I love this song. And it’s used expertly in Tenenbaums when Gene Hackman steals his grandkids away for a dangerous fun day without cranky dad, Ben Stiller.
  2. Strangers : The KinksJust a reminder that these songs are in no particular order. It’s hard enough to choose ten, let alone rank them. Strangers was featured in The Darjeeling Limited, the most Kinks heavy soundtrack, but my least favorite Wes Anderson movie.
  3.  Oh Yoko! : John LennonAnother cocktail and dinner staple, this is the first representative from the Rushmore soundtrack. Just like the movie, it’s upbeat, lovely and light as a feather. Which reminds me, I need to revisit Rushmore.
  4. The Wind : Cat StevensAlso from Rushmore. And not that I want you to soundtrack your entire wedding with Wes Anderson songs, but this one works for Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances. It’s under two minutes, beautiful and the words are right. “I let my music take me where my heart wants to go”.
  5. Fly : Nick DrakeA sweet song from a sadly tormented artist, Fly was featured in the Royal Tenenbaums. Nick Drake is one of my favorite artists to play during an evening dinner but this song belongs firmly in ceremony. Or just in your headphones. Drake overdosed at the age of 26, and his songs were only widely appreciated after he was gone. It amazes me how artists wracked with depression always seem to make such gorgeous music.
  6. Ooh La La : The FacesThe title track to their last studio album, it’s yet another song from Rushmore. A great diddy for dinner or cocktail hour. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but seriously, it’s amazing how many songs found on Anderson soundtracks perfectly suited for events.
  7. Rebel Rebel : Seu JorgeThis cover of the David Bowie classic is the only representative from The Life Aquatic film. The movie was bad and the only thing that really resonated with me were Jorge’s Bowie reinterpretations. And for good reason. He manages to capture the spirit of the originals and bring them down to earth in a way that redefines them. Or something like that.
  8. Street Fighting Man : The Rolling StonesThe Fantastic Mr. Fox! Not to name drop here but I was luckily enough to meet George once at his home and I got to see one of the foxes they used in the movie. GC was such a nice, easygoing dude, that I was more starstruck by the Fox. I loved this movie and it made me hear this Stones staple in a whole new way. Needless to say, it rocks.
  9. Long Gone Lonesome Blues : Hank WilliamsFrom the Moonrise Kingdom motion picture, this track hits me right in the midwest. You can take the boy out of Illionis…
  10. Everyone : Van MorrisonIt’s only fitting to close out the list with the closing song of my favorite Wes Anderson picture, The Royal Tenenbaums. Though it plays after a (spoiler!) funeral, it’s so uplifting you can help but smile. And Van’s the man. Apparently (read: according to Wikipedia) he said “Everyone is just a song of hope”.

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Playlist #11: James Brown

I was lucky enough to see the Godfather of Soul at the Hollywood Bowl before he passed on. It was 2003, he was 70 years old, and he was still blowing up the stage with his signature dance moves complete with the splits. I’m 33 and sometimes I can barely touch my toes. But I digress. James Brown’s place in T’s Top Ten infamy has been a long time coming. His catalog is immense and limiting the jams to only 10 is tough. But you know what? I feel good… View Playlist »

Playlist #10: The Beatles

Picking my favorite ten Fab Five jams will open me up to all sorts of criticism, but it must be done. Arguably, no single band has done more to shape rock and roll. But that aside, they are one of the few bands that are pretty much everyone’s request list. So here are a few of my favorites. Scratch that. These are the ten best Beatles songs, period. View Playlist »

Playlist #9: Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson His music is dance floor magic. Regardless of what you thought of the man, if his tracks don’t make your booty move, your booty must be dead my friend. When I was a kid, along with Jordan and Payton, this was the man I wanted to be. But I was fat. His creativity changed music and dancing and I owe a huge debt to his catalog, both as a DJ and as a fan. I for one, will miss him.
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Playlist #8: The Rolling Stones

Songs of The Rolling Stones. Whittling down one of the largest and most beloved catalogs in music history is a fool’s errand. The Stones have been synonymous with rock and roll since rock and roll was rock and roll. But as a DJ, part of the gig is making your picks and sticking to them. These are my favorites. So far.

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Playlist #7: Nirvana

Nirvana Tracks. Though their run lasted a brief 5 years, singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain, bassist Krist Novoselic, and drummer (for most of it) Dave Grohl, left an indelible mark that still looms larger than life over popular music and culture. When rock was on its’ deathbed, Nirvana gave it life in the form of Grunge. Inspired legions of imitators and innovators now attempt to carry the torch. That’s a very good thing.

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Episode #6: Tarantino’s Top Ten

Tarantino Tracks. Starting with Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Brown established a knack for fuzing dug-up, classic tracks to his high-noon pictures. Now, impossible to divorce one from the other, Tarantino has melded his name to that of greats like Chuck Berry, Dusty Springfield, and Al Green. And as I found in putting together this best of, the quality of the soundtrack is usually directly related to that of the movie.

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Playlist #5: Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation, and one’s knowledge of the existence thereof, is a modern day litmus test for musical taste andadventurism.  If I’m playingout, chances are you’ll hear at least one of their tracks. And with the ability to touch on many genres from House, World, Reggae, Downtempo, Ambient, to what I like to call Progressive Easy Listening, this is coolness even your mom can dig.

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Playlist #4: Pulled Back Covers

This weeks’ playlist idea, Pulled Back Covers. These artists took a favorite track of theirs and stripped it down to the essentials while maintaining the integrity of the original and, in some cases, improving on the source material. Great to drop at cocktail parties and chill gatherings, and instant conversation starters, these relaxed covers are a great when played along side the original to spark maximum debate.

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