LCD Soundsystem: "Yeah" (12-inch single)

LCD Soundsystem
"Yeah" (12-inch single)
DFA Records

In what has to be the most questionable use of my time since yesterday and until tonight, I've just spent the past four and half hours cruising the internet to see what folks think about LCD Soundsystem's very good new dance-rock single, "Yeah." Here's what I learned: Internet posters seem to be quite excited about LCD Soundsystem's very good new dance-rock single, "Yeah." Some are even suggesting that "Yeah" and earlier efforts by LCD Soundsystem (a.k.a. James Murphy of NYC producers and label honchos DFA, whose most semi-famous client is the Rapture) represent some kind of watershed in subcultural history in that they're teaching allegedly clumsy-footed or dance-averse American indie-rockers how to boogie--which completely ignores the sexy hot-stepping that tends to break out at Low concerts.

A few grumps, however, seem to think that rock-rooted, dance-music interlopers such as Murphy are being overrated by people who'd be less wowed if they hadn't spent so much time ignoring "real" house/techno/post-house-and-techno-genre-that-I-won't-name-for-fear-of-getting-it-wrong. Except--the contradictions here are dizzying!--I gather from sources who are sometimes seen outside of their homes past 11:00 p.m. that the Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers" and other DFA productions function quite effectively in clubs frequented by fans of bona fide dance music. Accusations, then, of the DFA's lack of dancefloor credibility, besides being pointless and oblivious to the regular cross-pollinating patterns of pop music, are probably inaccurate as well. Scene divisions aside, I can testify that my little family--socio-culturally more aligned with indie-rock than with indie-dance, except for my hard-to-peg toddler son who likes "all kinds of music except punkabilly and microhouse"--has danced vigorously if awkwardly to this smokin' little number and has tentative plans to do so again next Wednesday after supper.

"Yeah" comes in at about 135 beats per minute and starts out in the DFA's familiar disco-meets-new wave/indie mode with a bass line borrowed from the Trammps' "Disco Inferno" and a deadpan, hiccupping vocal style something like Stephen Malkmus. Less expected are snippets of dissonant sampled piano, and a reasonably funky clavinet that drops by for a minute or so (and outstays its welcome on the alternate mix). At about the midpoint of the nine-and-a-half-minute single, the drums get less acoustic-y and the synths move from aquatic and melodic to acidic--sawtooths, wheezes, stutters, all of which are irritating in the best way. Things culminate with a goofy, jarring keyboard-and-percussion freakout that, as of this writing (January 6), sounds like a front-runner for Single of '04.

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