There could be no more fitting and poetic way to herald the return of the Music Report than with the reemergence of these two acts of colossal indie-world import, whose Rises and Rise-Some-Mores typified my time at Stereogum. (And if you like anything covered by Amrit’s Music Report, you will love Stereogum!) It’s been a full five years since we’ve heard anything from Grizzly Bear, the band which carried the banner for Brooklyn indie before, through, and beyond that scene’s 2009 apex, and it’s been years since James Murphy’s beloved and winking dance-rock outfit LCD Soundsystem and the most documented and high profile retirement party (and documentary, at Madison Square Garden) I’ve ever personally witnessed…and then told everyone they were just kidding and coming back. So the stakes for both of these bands are complex and compounded: In addition to just gauging their relevance years after their last releases, which is always nerve wracking for a "popular" band, there’s also the added narratives of: 1) "Do they still matter when their scene has moved on, and they have moved on from their scene?" And 2) "Was coming back and upending a storybook ending and possibly alienate fans who spent lots of money to travel from all over the world to come to your "last show" just a few years ago really worth it?"
Grizzly Bear - "Three Rings"
Oh man, is this good. The first few seconds sound like Radiohead’s "Reckoner," which is one of the best Radiohead songs, and then the rumbling Chris Taylor bass and headphone candy production takes it into its own realm. Within seconds Ed Droste starts singing in his singular, sweet, syrup-drizzle of a voice (more like Drizzly Bear, am I right), and the harmonies set in, and the woodwinds lull you into the sort of gentle, experimental, waltzing and windswept gale that only they can create. It makes complete sense that the band would choose "Three Rings" as a lead single: It’s like everything you’ve ever loved about this group — either in theory or in practice — is at play, in no time. Grizzly Bear are back, and there are no questions. Worth the wait.
LCD Soundsystem - "Call The Police"/"American Dream"
LCD Soundsystem have come to typify a sort of too-cool-for-the-room weariness: they are the sound of the snide record clerk smirk, they are the group for those who know all the "right moves" to kop when assembling a liner-notes mined, downtown post-disco persona. Let it also be said, they are also the band that taught indie kids to dance again, and for all the cynicism and flagellation in James Murphy's lyrical schemes, this is also the band that made the probably timeless ode to rapturous amicability, "All My Friends." So when the band announced their retirement six years ago, all my friends went to MSG in suits and we danced and many people hugged and cried. And after the tour and the documentary and the $$$, six years later they are back, so a lot is riding on these songs (billed as a "double A-side" from their forthcoming album) to make that all that MSG farewell stuff seem like less of a cash-out. And there's stuff for LCD fans to love! James's bipolar nature of hating on himself and also the endorphin-surge of dancing himself clean are framed by these two track, bookending their worldview. If you're an LCD stan, you will be happy to have them, and to have this band coming back to play for you at all the festivals, and on Saturday Night Live this weekend.
And a promo for them on SNL...