meta-script5 Reasons Why LCD Soundsystem Remain An Essential Live Electronic Band |
LCD Soundsystem on Stephen Colbert
LCD Soundsystem performing on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" in 2022

Photo: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images


5 Reasons Why LCD Soundsystem Remain An Essential Live Electronic Band

The beloved Brooklyn band is in the middle of their third annual, multi-week sold-out NYC residency. explores how the James Murphy-helmed group still resonates so deeply 21 years after their debut.

GRAMMYs/Nov 22, 2023 - 04:37 pm

In 2002, against the advice of his friends, a 34-year-old James Murphy released "Losing My Edge," an eight-minute track with a simple, slow-building drum machine pattern. On it, Murphy humorously questions his relevance: "But I'm losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent/ And they're actually really, really nice."

The track would, somewhat ironically, make Murphy's LCD Soundsystem and his burgeoning Brooklyn indie label DFA Records the cool new kids on the block.

Murphy started getting booked off of the song and decided to put an actual band behind LCD Soundsystem, calling on Nancy Whang (synths, keys and vocals) and Pat Mahoney (drums and drum machines). Two years later, bassist Tyler Pope became a core member; stellar musicians from the punk/indie/art rock world would join them in the studio and/or on tour over the years.

In January 2005, LCD Soundsystem released their eponymous two-disc debut album, which opens with one of their beloved classics "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," a No. 1 hit on the UK Dance chart. The aforementioned track and album also earned them their first two GRAMMY nominations in 2006, for Best Electronic/Dance Album and Best Dance Recording respectively, and the album reached No. 6 on Billboard's Top Dance/Electronic Album chart in March 2005. Murphy and company hadn't lost their edge — rather, they were certified big-time indie stars.

Twenty-one years after their tongue-in-cheek debut and 12 years after their not-so-final farewell shows at Madison Square Garden, the beloved Brooklyn band is back with their third residency on their home turf, this time with twelve shows across three New York City venues: Brooklyn Steel (where they had their 2021 and 2022 residencies), Terminal 5 in Manhattan and Knockdown Center in Queens. The shows sold out in a matter of seconds and saw high resale prices clocking double to triple face value, just as their "final" show at Madison Square Garden did in 2011.

In the midst of their highly anticipated Tri Boro Tour — which wraps Dec. 10 — examines why LCD Soundsystem still resonates so strongly, even as the dance music and indie scenes around them have changed so much.

They're Y2K's Answer To The Talking Heads

LCD Soundsystem was born during the early aughts, their punk DIY ethos part of New York's brief but thriving indie rock scene (led by the popularity of the Strokes). As documented in Lizzy Goodman's 2017 book, Meet Me in the Bathroom, Murphy fell in love with dance music after trying ecstasy on a New York dance floor, promptly expanding his sonic world.

After this blissful experience, he finally felt comfortable dancing. He started DJing his favorite deep-cut records and throwing parties with DFA co-founder Tim Goldsworthy. 

With LCD Soundsystem, he brought garage and indie rock to the rave, mixing the euphoria and energy of disco, acid house, and electronic instrumentation with guitars and snarky, self-deprecating lyrics. Their influences — ESG, Loose Joints, David Bowie, Talking Heads, CAN, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk — were spiritually present but seamlessly mixed in. Chopped up and flipped until a whole new thing was born, LCD's sound was as inventive as the house music and hip-hop producers and DJs that came before him.

"For many overstimulated and underwhelmed New York hipsters, LCD Soundsystem provided the soundtrack for making sense of the late 2000s," Ryan Pinkard wrote for Tidal. "LCD was to 2000s New York what the Velvet Underground and the Talking Heads were in their own eras. And their legacy is no less hefty nor contentious."

While music labels and outlets became obsessed with finding "the next Strokes," LCD and DFA paved their own path in indie dance. They made significant contributions to the era of loud, chaotic danceable music largely made by bands or DJs' edits of bands, which would later be coined bloghouse or indie sleaze. The Rapture's 2002 single "House of Jealous Lovers" and subsequent debut album, Echoes, were produced by Murphy and Goldsworthy. It brought the post-punk band into a dancier arena that proved successful for them and DFA.

Like the Talking Heads — who, 30 years prior, made music "abuzz with nervous energy… [that] articulated the strangeness and anxiety of modern times" — LCD Soundsystem created artsy, humorous, danceable punk for the people, with an open-minded yet meticulously crafted DIY ethos.

Yet Murphy was a reluctant king of the indie dance scene. His own insecurities, perfectionism and jadedness around the scene and his own creative output resonated with his fans. He became — and remains — the moody, accidently cool Gen X father of his younger Gen X and older millennial fans; the younger generations are slowly catching up.

The Music — Lyrically and Sonically — Still Resonates

"It still kinda weighs on me a bit because we keep getting better and better at playing it live. It's surprising how long 'Losing My Edge' lingers around, for a dance song. But everyone's silly and shallow and insipid and vain and the more they accept it the less boring records we'll have," Murphy said of the ongoing popularity of "Losing My Edge."

"I made 'Yeah', which pretty much consists of me saying yeah over and over, to try and erase the expectation that it was gonna be another clever diatribe of lyrics. Etched into the vinyl of 'Yeah' is, 'Not as good as Losing My Edge.'"

The theme of relevancy and aging out youth culture is as old as time.  "Losing My Edge" is an anthem for aging DJs and music fans, who are loyal to their scene but no longer at the center of it. With his debut track, Murphy is knocking too-cool-for-school hipsters, but most of all, he's knocking himself — the music video is a close up of him getting repeatedly smacked as he says the lyrics with a straight face.

It is this playful self-depreciation and jaded introspection that permeates Murphy's lyrics — often sing-spoken, sometimes shouted — makes them so relatable. Just as Murphy found catharsis during his first experience with ecstasy, LCD's upbeat music and contemplative lyrics provide a similar energy for the band's loyal fans.

And as guitars gave way for perfectly programmed EDM-level drops at the end of the 2000s, LCD's music was a necessary balm. The group united emo rave kids and moody guitar heads under the disco ball, creating a cathartic dance party. Here, celebrating, crying, shouting and dancing like a weirdo are all okay, because Murphy does it too.

"Someone Great," placed midway through their second album 2007's Sound of Silver, is a heart-wrenching meditation on grief, pierced by droning synths, sparkling bells and a tender-sounding Murphy. It's easy to place your own story in the song (I thought it was about an ex no longer in his life), which is about his therapist Dr. George Kamen, who died in 2006. The album is also dedicated to him.

Sound of Silver ends with another melancholic track, "New York, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down," a slow-burning piano ballad that erupts into a can't-help-but-shout-along-chorus. It's a bittersweet love letter to the city that birthed the band (and that they still reside in), speaking to rapid gentrification and police crackdowns that pushed out (and continue to) creatives, venues and working-class people. Even when performed outside of NYC, the song feels poignant given the struggles of living in a capitalist society.

LCD Soundsystem's GRAMMY-nominated fourth studio album, american dream, was released in 2017, in Trump's dystopian America. The anxiety and discontentment are understandably still there, and Murphy is older, but no less disillusioned. "tonite" is a catchy GRAMMY-nominated acid house-tinged tune about all the songs on the radio declaring "you only live once, let's party!" Murphy's response is poetic: "I never realized these artists thought so much about dying/ But truth be told we all have the same end /Could make you cry, cry, cry, cry, cry."

The band has grown up (as have its core fanbase) but there are still plenty of feelings to be processed, sung out loud and danced out.

LCD Soundsystem's first three albums were released during the first decade of the millennium and peak indie rock/bloghouse era, yet they don't feel dated. Instead, their music channeled something vintage without being nostalgic, and was incredibly fresh-sounding. They remain timeless and are among the era's standouts that still make great music and play killer shows, like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Murphy famously attempted to dissolve the band at the peak of their fame in 2011 — a year after their release of their third album, This is Happening. He didn't want to become a band he hated, to keep getting bigger regardless of if their music was better or not. The hiatus lasted for four years.

"As things mature — whether they be real estate, rock 'n' roll, politics, festivals, radio — there's an efficiency that develops and with it, very often, comes some soul-crushing truths. If you keep doing it, you get bigger even if the records get worse," Murphy told the New York Times in 2017. "It was our turn, And something about that turned my stomach."

When Murphy was working on music that sounded like his beloved band, it seemed silly to not release it because he killed the project. The band's first — rather surprising — new song in five years, "christmas will break your heart," was released in December 2015. A much-hyped Coachella 2016 headline set, followed by a summer tour including other big fests like Lollapalooza, Primavera Sound and Glastonbury, meant LCD was very much back.

While some fans derided the band for making a big deal about breaking up and then coming back, they were clearly missed. And with their 2017 album, they've been able to avoid getting stuck in the nostalgia trap.  Of course, LCD Soundsystem's latest tune, 2022's "new body rhumba," was created to close out the absurd grocery store dance scene in Noah Bambauch's White Noise (based on Don DeLillo's dystopian 1985 novel of the same name).

"There's a lot of music that came out in the '80s around the time of that book that I love," Murphy told Netflix about writing the song. "I didn't want to do anything that was sounding like '80s Radiohead… And I don't want to do emotions for emotions sake. Because I feel that life and death and fear and feelings and these things are too important to use cheap shorthand."

The Band Is Tight & A Joy To See Live

LCD Soundsystem are beloved for their energetic, cathartic live shows, where each song leads into the next and the bandmates riff with each other. They fill the stage with their talented musicians and their many instruments — several drum kits, percussion instruments and cowbells, Nancy Whang's keyboards and synths, and a whole vintage modular synth set up — and play with deft precision.

"We didn't set out to be cool. We set out to be an extremely tight band. We wanted to defy expectations," the frontman told GQ in 2018. And that they did — and continue to do.

Their live sets weave back and forth through their gem-laden catalog — when they performed 2017's "tonite" after 2005's "Tribulations" on the first night of their latest NYC residency, it's easy to forget how far apart they were recorded.

Whang and drummer Pat Mahoney helped bring LCD Soundsystem from the studio to the stage in its earliest days. Like Murphy, Mahoney played in punk bands (most notably Les Savy Fav) and his precise drumming drives LCD's music forward. Other band members include Al Doyle of Hot Chip and Tyler Pope of !!!, who bring funky guitar and bass, respectively, into the mix. Gavilán Rayna Russom offered her modular synth expertise on This Is Happening and on the farewell and reunion tours.

LCD Does Things On Their Own Terms

James Murphy cares about his art and is painstakingly perfectionist about sound quality. His stellar Despacio mobile sound room is a dark, joyful sonic wonderland — records sound as crisp and bright as ever — but is so costly to transport, they lose money when they use it.

After quitting at the height of their career, they came back when they were ready. Sure, Murphy thought painstakingly about whether he should or could release the music he'd been working on and knew there'd be backlash, but that didn't stop them. In fact, it was one of his idols, David Bowie, that encouraged him to do it.

"When I was working on Blackstar, I was talking to David Bowie, which is a luxurious thing to say. I said to him, 'I'm really freaked out as I've started writing music, what am I going to do? What if I come back after we quit so perfectly?'" Murphy told Crack Magazine in 2017.

"David said to me, 'Does it make you feel uncomfortable to come back?' I said 'Yes.' He said 'Good, you should be uncomfortable to do something. You need to be uncomfortable.' It was a funny thing to hear from him, because I always assumed he was comfortable all the time."

The band returned after four years away with a Christmas song, of all things. Almost two years later, they dropped their reunion album. They take their time with their music and release it when they're ready, on their own terms.

As the COVID-19 lockdowns eased up, they've experimented with different touring and festival formats, with their fans in mind as well as their older bodies and changing priorities. Their 2021 return kicked off their first NYC residency, with 20 shows at Brooklyn Steel (although the last three dates were canceled due to a new COVID variant spreading). They returned to Brooklyn Steel for 20 shows in late 2022, and kicked off their 2023 Tri Boro Tour on Nov. 16. The new format gives the band breaks in-between each venue, as Murphy explained the last run was a tough grind.

Murphy has also brought Despacio to more festivals recently, including his 2022 Ain't No Picnic in Pasadena, California and at Coachella 2023. He also launched the Re:Set Concert Series during summer 2023, which featured no set-time overlap and had LCD and the artists traveling shorter distances between shows.

What will 2024 hold for LCD Soundsystem? Hopefully new music to dance off the funk of 2023, more festivals with Despacio and LCD, and quotable moments from Murphy interviews, but who knows. They'll give us something great when they're ready and that will likely be just when we need it most.

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James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem performs at Sonar Festival 2018

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem performs at Sonar Festival 2018

Photo: Xavi Torrent/WireImage


'LCD Soundsystem' At 15: How James Murphy Created His Singular Vision

Released in January 2005, the producer's GRAMMY-nominated debut album as LCD Soundsystem introduced the two definitions of the act: a singular vision and a must-see live unit that defined an era

GRAMMYs/May 4, 2020 - 12:34 am

To understand James Murphy's headspace during LCD Soundsystem's breakthrough year, track down a copy of DFA Records: Radio Mixes 2005. (Beyond the occasional copy that surfaces on eBay, it won't be easy.) 

The three-CD set, marked "for promotional use only," features two CDs mixed by "James Murphy aka LCD Soundsystem" and one by labelmate The Juan MacLean. 

Murphy's discs are a preserved-in-amber snapshot of peak-era DFA Records, his hipster-cool label, complete with in-house edits of Hot Chip, Soulwax and Gavin & Delia. However, the mixes also illustrate something that's as true of Murphy today as it was in 2005. In short, he stays restless.

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CD One luxuriates in the past, swerving from Francine McGee's obscure disco to The Bee Gees and on to the spiky distortion of Six Finger Satellite, the band for which Murphy once served as live sound engineer. CD Two is ostensibly clubbier, despite bearing little resemblance to the fluid mix CDs celebrated in the mid-2000s. In Murphy's world, a club set means mixing '70s prog rock band Atomic Rooster into French techno don Laurent Garnier. The dissonance is the point. 

LCD Soundsystem's self-titled debut album, which dropped on DFA in January 2005, wasn't exactly an introduction to a bright-eyed newcomer. 

Then-34-year-old James Murphy was already a reluctant indie hero. He had the trendy record label, founded with U.K. transplant Tim Goldsworthy after the two met working on David Holmes' 2000 electronica album, Bow Down To The Exit Sign. Unlike most DJs, Murphy was a reliable source for smart, curmudgeonly quotes. Best of all, he'd already made a handful of tunes, notably "Losing My Edge" (2002) and "Yeah" (2004), that pitched LCD Soundsystem as the dance band rock kids could like. 

The Y2K era was instrumental in Murphy's dance music conversion. In the days before DFA, he knocked around New York City, seeing bands in the East Village and Lower East Side. "I drank bourbon and I ate garbage," he told the Taste podcast in 2019. (These days, Murphy sticks to natural wines, which star at his Williamsburg wine bar/restaurant, The Four Horsemen.) 

Murphy's first night out on ecstasy, with David Holmes DJing, was life-changing. "I was dancing and I was happy and I had a revelation: this is actually me," he recalls in Lizzy Goodman's book, Meet Me In The Bathroom. House music now made sense to him, but not just anything with a kick drum would do. A punk kid at heart, he wanted analog and imperfect over synthetic and streamlined. "After that moment, I danced to what I cared about," Murphy told Goodman. 

He learned to DJ from Marcus Lambkin, aka Shit Robot, an Irish expat in New York. Lambkin introduced Murphy to Plant Bar in the East Village, where DFA established a renegade residency throughout then-Mayor Bloomberg's club crackdown. (At the first sight of cops, the door person would flick on a light in the DJ booth, signaling them to stop the music.) Murphy often mixed his newfound passions for DJing and altered states. "I used to take two ecstasy pills, break them into quarters, and put them on the corners of the two turntables, and work my way through them as a DJ set went on," he told New York Magazine in 2007. 

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But for every high, there's a comedown. By the early 2000s, Murphy was bristling at other DJs aping his anything-goes style. He went from mad at New York's would-be hipsters to "horrified at my own silliness," as he put it to journalist John Doran. Out of that malaise came "Losing My Edge," a prickly, self-lacerating and still-funny rant with a danceable beat. In both its theme and scuffed lo-fi sound, it set a template for future LCD Soundsystem. Among the song's many quotable lines about "the kids," one gets to the cold heart of it: "I can hear their footsteps every night on the decks." 

In tandem with losing his edge, Murphy began work on Echoes, the breakout debut album from fellow NYC dance-punk outfit, The Rapture. Throughout 2003, Murphy and Goldsworthy, who together formed the production team The DFA, named after their label, joined the band at Plantain Recording House, the producers' own West Village studio. Released that September, Echoes hit big. At the height of the site's tastemaking power, Pitchfork rated it 9.0, officially coronating The Rapture as the new faces of the post-punk revival of the early 2000s.

However, the band had left DFA for a lucrative contract with Universal. Murphy was furious at the betrayal. In 2004, The Rapture played the Outdoor Theatre stage on day one of Coachella. Further down the poster, two font sizes smaller, was LCD Soundsystem.

Murphy worked on his own debut album around the Echoes sessions. When everyone went out, he'd stay back and tinker late into the night. "For about two and a half years, I didn't have a home, so I lived in the studio," he told XLR8R in 2005. Despite his punk rock pose, Murphy obsessed over the fine details. He finally had a set of songs worthy of showing up The Rapture. 

Read: James Murphy On Advice From David Bowie, Being "Done" With Producing

LCD Soundsystem properly introduced the two definitions of LCD Soundsystem. First, the name belonged to one guy alone in the studio, channeling his influences, and his spite, into a singular vision.

Second, it was the name of a band with serious live clout. Murphy's bandmates, including Nancy Whang, Pat Mahoney, Tyler Pope and the late Jerry Fuchs, were all prodigious musicians. The power of their combined sound cemented LCD Soundsystem as one of the most exciting live acts on the circuit—in any genre. In 2005, Murphy and co. played Glastonbury for the first time and joined M.I.A. on her Arular Tour. Members came and went, but LCD Soundsystem stayed a band you need to see live. 

LCD Soundsystem perform live in 2017 | Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Even 15 years on, LCD Soundsystem oscillates between the solo visionary and the pumped-up live unit. The image of Murphy up late with his machines is still vivid on quieter cuts like "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up" and "Great Release." Murphy finessed the former after-hours during the Echoes sessions, playing piano in the building's elevator shaft to get the right sound. By contrast, the rowdier LCD standards "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" and "Tribulations" have come to feel inseparable from their live incarnations. However the songs were first conceived, they now belong to LCD Soundsystem, the band. 

The in-between songs on LCD Soundsystem reward revisits. There's the louche "Too Much Love," peppered by cowbell and Murphy's ambling vocals, and the nasally sneer of "On Repeat," which struts and stumbles past eight minutes. Meanwhile, "Thrills" channels Timbaland's beats on Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On," while "Movement" is one of the punkiest curios in the LCD canon. 

LCD's debut included a bonus disc with previously released songs like "Losing My Edge," "Yr City's A Sucker" and the "Pretentious" and "Crass" versions of "Yeah." All the hits were there, but the deep cuts made it an undeniable album.

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Elsewhere, 2005 was big for bands making dance music with guitars. From the synthy stomp of Franz Ferdinand's You Could Have It So Much Better to Bloc Party's exhilarating debut Silent Alarm, LCD Soundsystem fit the zeitgeist. M.I.A.'s Arular and Kanye West's Late Registration also shared James Murphy's maverick spirit. It was a good time for talented control freaks.

LCD Soundsystem brought Murphy his critical validation, in addition to two GRAMMY nominations in 2006, including Best Electronic/Dance Album and Best Dance Recording for album single "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House." But its creator didn't settle. He continued to DJ and give opinionated interviews, directing the sharpest barbs at himself. Then, as the era's "blog house" DJs rinsed their favorite LCD remixes, Murphy went to work on a new album. 

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Released in 2007, LCD Soundsystem's Sound Of Silver was an instant classic. (Not for nothing, it one-upped The Rapture with a 9.2 rating from Pitchfork.) Songs like "All My Friends" and "North American Scum" made good on the scrappy promise of LCD's debut.

"Great Release," the final song on LCD Soundsystem, fades out to a gentle fuzz. We hear a creak, then a sound like a door closing after a studio all-nighter. The early days ended there, but LCD Soundsystem had only just begun.

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Channel Tres

Channel Tres

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images


Sónar 2020 Lineup: The Chemical Brothers, Channel Tres, James Murphy, Eric Prydz, Jayda G, Mura Masa & More

The "music, creativity & technology" festival returns with its flagship Barcelona event June 18–20

GRAMMYs/Jan 17, 2020 - 02:55 am

In contrast to the all the colorful music fest lineups with big-font headliners we've seen over the past few weeks, Sónar just dropped a beige, all-lowercase, one-font-size lineup for their June 2020 Barcelona event. Despite the simple layout, the list is filled with an epic artist offering, including The Chemical Brothers, along with rising rapper/producer/dance hero Channel Tres, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, '00-and-beyond house & techno innovator Eric Prydz, environmental scientist/disco queen Jayda G, "Love$ick" producer Mura Masa and many more.

Read: Channel Tres Talks Honoring Isaac Hayes On EP 'Black Moses,' Healing With Music & Being A "Ghetto Savior"

The "music, creativity & technology" festival returns with its flagship Barcelona event on June 18–20. Oft Björk-collaborator Arca, emerging French producer/director duo THE BLAZE, along with worldwide house and techno legends The Black Madonna, Charlotte de Witte, Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin and Laurent Garnier, will also perform.

According to Sónar, current 2020 GRAMMY nominees The Chemical Brothers will be making the Spanish debut of their acclaimed live show, which they toured in 2019 alongside the release of their GRAMMY-nominated No Geography. THE BLAZE will be performing their only live show of 2020 at the fest. Both acts are a great representation of artists celebrated by Sónar—cinematic, unexpected electronic music elevated by the stunning visuals/technology of their live shows.

While Sónar is beloved for their expert curation from within the eclectic electronic music rainbow, they also celebrate left-of-center acts in other areas, particularly in the hip-hop. Channel Tres, whose self-made beats are infused with '90s G-funk, is an artist whose music lives within both worlds. Afro-Latina rapper Princess Nokia, who marks her return to the fest this year, also uses the medium of rapping to incorporate and celebrate diverse sounds and identities within her music.

Related: Princess Nokia Is Making Space For People Who "Don't Have A Voice Yet" In Music

U.K. rappers Dave, AJ Tracey, Headie One and Conducta, will bring Britain's prevalent trap Grime and drill sounds to the iconic festival. The newer SonarXS stage grows this year as it "expands its mission as a springboard for local and international talent from the fringes." Now in its fourth year, the newly revamped stage "presents Spanish trap and reggaeton from Morad, Afrojuice195 and Miss Nina, as well as unclassifiable strains of street derived music from the likes of Chenta Tsai - Baobae, Califato ¾ or Kaydy Cain."

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Tickets are on sale now; visit Sónar's website for more info as well as the complete lineup.

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James Murphy, 2018



LCD Soundsystem: "Tonite" Wins Best Dance Recording | 2018 GRAMMYs

The New York-based dance punks take Best Dance Recording for "Tonite" at the 60th GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 01:54 am

LCD Soundsystem won Best Dance Recording for "Tonite" at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. This marks the band's first-ever GRAMMY win.

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The other nominees for Best Dance Recording were Bonobo's "Bambro Koyo Ganda," feat. Innov Gnawa, Camelphat & Elderbrook's "Cola", Gorillaz' "Andromeda," feat. D.R.A.M., and ODESZA's "Line Of Sight," feat. WYNNE & Mansionair.

LCD Soundsystem has been nominated in the Best Dance Recording category once previously, for "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House," They were also nominated tonight for Best Alternative Music Album, for American Dream.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Congrats Best Dance Recording  -&#39;&quot;Tonite&quot; <a href="">@lcdsoundsystem</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GRAMMYs</a></p>&mdash; Recording Academy (@RecordingAcad) <a href="">January 28, 2018</a></blockquote>
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With the win, the band joins the prestigious roster of previous category winners, ranging from Skrillex and Diplo, Daft Punk and the Chemical Brothers to Justin Timberlake, Clean Bandit and Zedd.

"Tonite" is featured on LCD Soundsystem's acclaimed fourth album, American Dream. The album was notable for being the band's first outing after reforming in 2016 five years after a widely publicized series of farewell shows at Madison Square Garden in 2011.

LCD Soundsystem has collected a total of five GRAMMY nominations over the course of their career, beginning with two nominations at the 48th GRAMMY Awards for Best Dance Recording ("Daft Punk Is Playing At My House") and Best Electronic/Dance Album, both stemming from their self-titled debut double LP LCD Soundsystem.

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(L-R) Jay Z, Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Alessia Cara, Childish Gambino, SZA, Taylor Swift, Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, Cardi B


2018 GRAMMYs: Alessia Cara To Jay-Z | 60 Nominee Facts

From Luis Fonsi, Bruno Mars, SZA, and Childish Gambino to Rapsody, Lady Gaga, Shakira, and Taylor Swift, get forensic with 60 interesting facts about the 60th GRAMMY nominees

GRAMMYs/Jan 4, 2018 - 05:56 am

Looking for a different kind of New Year's resolution? How about pledging to become an expert on this year's nominees for the 60th GRAMMY Awards? We can help you do just that.

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From first-time nominees and top nominees to GRAMMY history and potential records at stake, we've sliced and diced the 84 categories to bring you 60 delectable factoids about the 60th nominee class.

Make sure to read all 60 facts below and follow all the storylines during Music's Biggest Night at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday, Jan. 28.

1. Jay-Z

Jay-Z is this year's leading GRAMMY nominee with eight nominations. This is the third time the rapper has been the year's leading nominee (or at least tied for the lead). He tied for the lead for 2003 with Beyoncé, OutKast and Pharrell Williams. He held the lead outright for 2013.

2. SZA

SZA is this year's top female nominee with five nominations, including Best New Artist.

3. Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino is nominated for five GRAMMYs, including Record and Album Of The Year. The versatile performer, aka Donald Glover, won two Emmy Awards in September for his work on the FX series Atlanta. (He won Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series.)

4. "Despacito"

"Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber is this year's only work to be nominated for both Record and Song Of The Year. It's the first foreign-language hit to be nominated in both categories since "La Bamba," recorded by Los Lobos, 30 years ago.

5. "The Story Of O.J."

"The Story Of O.J." is Jay-Z's fourth single to receive a Record Of The Year nomination. It follows Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love," on which he was featured; Rihanna's "Umbrella," on which he was featured; and "Empire State Of Mind," a collaboration with Alicia Keys. Jay-Z is the first rapper to amass four Record Of The Year nominations.

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6. Bruno Mars, Record Of The Year

Bruno Mars' "24K Magic" is nominated for Record Of The Year. It's Mars' fifth nomination in that category since 2010. That's more than any other artist in this decade. Mars and Beyoncé are the only artists to amass five nominations since 2000.

7. Kendrick Lamar

DAMN. is Kendrick Lamar's third consecutive studio album to be nominated for Album Of The Year. Kanye West is the only other rapper to receive nominations in this category for three consecutive studio albums.

8. Lorde

Lorde is among the nominees for Album Of The Year for her sophomore release, Melodrama. The young star has now been nominated in three of the General Field categories. Four years ago, her breakthrough hit, "Royals" was nominated for Record Of The Year and won for Song Of The Year.

9. Alessia Cara, Khalid, Julia Michaels: Song Of The Year

Three of this year's Best New Artist nominees — Alessia Cara, Khalid and Julia Michaels — are up for Song Of The Year. Cara and Khalid co-wrote "1-800-273-7255," the Logic hit on which they are featured. Michaels co-wrote her hit "Issues." This is only the second time in GRAMMY history that three Best New Artist nominees have also been nominated for Song Of The Year in the same year. It first happened 16 years ago with Alicia Keys ("Fallin'"), India.Arie ("Video") and Nelly Furtado ("I'm Like A Bird").

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10. Alessia Cara, Best New Artist

Alessia Cara is the first artist who was born in Canada to receive a Best New Artist nomination since 2010, when both Justin Bieber and Drake were nominated.

11. Khalid, Best New Artist

Khalid, 19, is the first teenager to receive a Best New Artist nomination since Justin Bieber, who was 16 when he was a finalist for the 2010 award. Khalid will turn 20 on Feb. 11.

12. Michael Bublé

Michael Bublé lands his eighth nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Nobody But Me (Deluxe Version). He is a four-time winner in the category.

13. Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Triplicate. This gives the music legend a 55-year span of GRAMMY nominations. He received his first nomination for 1962, when his debut album was up for Best Folk Recording. Dylan received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 1991.

14. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga's Joanne is among the nominees for Best Pop Vocal Album. She won in this category seven years ago for The Fame Monster. Gaga is vying to become the third two-time winner in the category's history, following Kelly Clarkson and Adele.

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15. Kraftwerk

Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk are nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album for the second time for 3-D The Catalogue. The German group was first nominated in this category 12 years ago for Minimum-Maximum. 3-D The Catalogue is also nominated for Best Surround Sound Album. Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk are nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album for the second time for 3-D The Catalogue. The German group was first nominated in this category 12 years ago for Minimum-Maximum. 3-D The Catalogue is also nominated for Best Surround Sound Album. Kraftwerk received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2014.

16. Leonard Cohen, Chris Cornell

Leonard Cohen and Chris Cornell are posthumously nominated for Best Rock Performance. Another late, great artist, David Bowie, won the award posthumously last year for "Blackstar."

17. Body Count

Body Count are vying for Best Metal Performance for "Black Hoodie." Bandleader Ice-won a GRAMMY 27 years ago for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group, for his featured role on the title song from Quincy Jones' album, Back On The Block. He's vying to become the first artist to win in both of these categories.

18. Best Metal Performance

Each of the five bands vying for Best Metal Performance — August Burns Red, Body Count, Code Orange, Mastodon, and Meshuggah — is looking to bring home their first GRAMMY Award.

19. Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters are nominated for Best Rock Song for "Run." The group won in the category six years ago for their similarly titled song "Walk." In addition, group members Dave Grohl and Pat Smear shared the 2013 award in that category for "Cut Me Some Slack," a collaboration with Paul McCartney and Krist Novoselic.

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20. Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire lands their fifth nomination for Best Alternative Music Album for Everything Now. Only one other group or duo has amassed five or more nominations in this category. Radiohead have had eight.

21. LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem's American Dream is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album. The group's first two albums, LCD Soundsystem and Sound Of Silver, were nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album.

22. Kali Uchis

Kali Uchis receives her first GRAMMY nomination for Best R&B Performance for her featured role on Daniel Caesar's "Get You." At the recent Latin GRAMMY Awards, she received a Record Of The Year nod for "El Ratico," a collaboration with Juanes, who is also a current GRAMMY nominee.

23. The Weeknd

The Weeknd's Starboy is among the nominees for Best Urban Contemporary Album. The Weeknd's previous album, Beauty Behind The Madness, won in the category two years ago. He is vying to become the first two-time winner in the category.

24. Ledisi

Ledisi's Let Love Rule is nominated for Best R&B Album. This is Ledisi's fourth nomination in this category. She was previously nominated for Lost & Found, Turn Me Loose and Pieces Of Me. Ledisi was nominated for Best New Artist 10 years ago.

25. Bruno Mars, Best R&B Album

Bruno Mars' 24K Magic is nominated for Best R&B Album. Mars won Best Pop Vocal Album four years ago for Unorthodox Jukebox. He is vying to become the first artist to win in both of these categories.

26. Cardi B

"Bodak Yellow" brings Cardi B her first GRAMMY nominations for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. The title is a play on its musical inspiration: Kodak Black's 2014 hip-hop hit "No Flockin."

27. Jay-Z, Best Rap Album

Jay-Z's 4:44 is nominated for Best Rap Album. Jay-Z won in that category 19 years ago for Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life. If he wins, he'll have the longest span of wins in the category's history. Eminem currently holds that distinction, with a 15-year span of wins in the category.

28. Rapsody

Rapsody's Laila's Wisdom is nominated for Best Rap Album. Rapsody is the fifth female solo artist to be nominated in this category, following Missy Elliott (who has had four nominations in the category), Nicki Minaj (two) and Eve and Iggy Azalea (one each).

29. Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, The Creator's Flower Boy is up for Best Rap Album. It's his second GRAMMY nomination. He was nominated as a featured artist on Frank Ocean's Channel Orange, which was an Album Of The Year contender five years ago.

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30. Alison Krauss

Alison Krauss is nominated for Best Country Solo Performance for "Losing You" and Best American Roots Performance for "I Never Cared For You." Krauss is currently tied with Quincy Jones for the second most wins in GRAMMY history with 27. The late classical conductor Sir Georg Solti is the long-time GRAMMY leader, with 31 awards.

31. Little Big Town

Little Big Town are seeking their third win for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Better Man." The group won for "Pontoon" (2012) and "Girl Crush" (2015).

32. Taylor Swift, Best Country Song

Taylor Swift is vying to win for her third GRAMMY for Best Country Song. She is nominated for writing the Little Big Town hit, "Better Man." Swift previously won for co-writing "White Horse" and writing "Mean." She would become only the second three-time winner in the category. Josh Kear won for co-writing the Carrie Underwood hits "Before He Cheats" and "Blown Away" and the Lady Antebellum hit "Need You Now."

33. Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne

Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne are among the writers of two of this year's nominees for Best Country Song. They co-wrote Sam Hunt's "Body Like A Back Road" and Midland's "Drinkin' Problem." McAnally and Osborne won in this category four years ago for co-writing Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round."

34. Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton is nominated for Best Country Album for From A Room: Volume 1. He won in the category two years ago for Traveller. Stapleton is vying to become the first male solo artist to win two awards in this category since the late Roger Miller did it more than 50 years ago.

35. Indie.Arie

Indie.Arie's SongVersation: Medicine is nominated for Best New Age Album. She won Best R&B Album 15 years ago for Voyage To India. India.Arie is vying to become the first artist to win in both of these categories.

36. Jazzmeia Horn, Alex Han, Pascal Le Boeuf

Three alumni of the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session receive their first GRAMMY nominations. Jazzmeia Horn is nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album, Alex Han for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album and Pascal Le Boeuf for Best Instrumental Composition. The GRAMMY Museum program is designed for outstanding high school jazz musicians.

37. CeCe Winans

CeCe Winans lands two nominations for Best Gospel Album for Let Them Fall In Love and Best Gospel Performance/Song for "Never Have To Be Alone." These are Winans' first nominations in seven years. The gospel great is a 10-time GRAMMY winner.

38. Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire's Sing It Now: Songs Of Faith & Hope is among the nominees for Best Roots Gospel Album. This marks her first nod in the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field. She has 13 previous Country Field nominations and one prior Music Video/Film Field nod.

39. Shakira

Shakira's El Dorado is among the nominees for Best Latin Pop Album. Shakira won in that category 17 years ago for Shakira — MTV Unplugged. She is vying to become the first female artist to win twice in this category.

40. Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell is nominated for Best American Roots Performance for "Arkansas Farmboy." This gives the late music legend a 50-year span of GRAMMY nominations. He received six nominations (including four awards) for 1967 for his classic hits "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and "Gentle On My Mind." Campbell received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2012.

41. Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit's The Nashville Sound is nominated for Best Americana Album. Isbell won in this category two years ago for his previous album, Something More Than Free. Isbell is vying to become the second two-time winner in this category, following Levon Helm.

42. The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album for Blue & Lonesome. They won Best Rock Album 23 years ago for Voodoo Lounge. They are vying to become the first artist to win in both of these categories.

43. Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Yusuf/Cat Stevens lands his first GRAMMY nomination, more than 50 years after he released his first album. He is nominated for Best Folk Album for The Laughing Apple.

44. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley

Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley is among the nominees for Best Reggae Album for Stony Hill. With two prior category wins, he's looking to join his brother Stephen Marley as a three-time Best Reggae Album winner. Another brother, Ziggy Marley, has the most wins in the category with seven.

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45. Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is nominated in two categories with different albums. Shaka Zulu Revisited: 30th Anniversary Celebration is nominated for Best World Music Album. Songs Of Peace & Love For Kids & Parents Around The World is nominated for Best Children's Album.

46. Lisa Loeb

Lisa Loeb is nominated for Best Children's Album for Feel What U Feel. It's her second GRAMMY nomination. She was nominated 23 years ago for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Stay (I Missed You)," a chart-topping hit with her group, Nine Stories.

47. Carrie Fisher

The late Carrie Fisher scores her second GRAMMY nomination for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling) for The Princess Diarist. The Star Wars actress was nominated in the same category eight years ago for Wishful Drinking.

48. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) earns his first GRAMMY nomination alongside actor Mark Ruffalo for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) for the audio version of his book, Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In. Sanders is the fourth politician to be nominated in this category this decade, following fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter (the 2015 winner).

49. Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen receives his 50th GRAMMY nomination for Born To Run, which is among the nominees for Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling). The audiobook shares its title with Springsteen's classic 1975 album, which was voted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2003.

50. Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman is nominated for Best Comedy Album for A Speck Of Dust. She is vying to become the fifth female comic to win in this category, following Elaine May (who won for a collaboration with Mike Nichols), Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kathy Griffin.

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51. Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are nominated for Best Musical Theater Album as composers/lyricists and co-producers of Dear Evan Hansen. They're also nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media for "City Of Stars" from La La Land (which they co-wrote with Justin Hurwitz). They previously won a Tony Award for Dear Evan Hansen and an Academy Award for "City Of Stars."

52. Hello, Dolly!

The New Broadway Cast Recording of Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler, is nominated for Best Musical Theater Album. It's the third time a cast album from this durable show has been nominated. An album from the original production, starring Carol Channing, was nominated for 1964. An album from a previous revival, also starring Channing, was nominated for 1995.

53. Justin Hurwitz

Composer Justin Hurwitz's four nominations stemming from the hit film La La Land mark his second try for GRAMMY gold. He was up for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media for his work on Whiplash two years ago. Hurwitz worked with director Damien Chazelle on both films.

54. Game Of Thrones: Season 7

Game Of Thrones: Season 7 is nominated for Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media. It's vying to become the first TV soundtrack to win in this category since Mission: Impossible won 50 years ago. Ramin Djawadi is the composer of Game Of Thrones. Lalo Schifrin did the honors on Mission: Impossible.

55. Common, Diane Warren

Common and Diane Warren are nominated for Best Song Written For Visual Media for their collaboration, "Stand Up For Something," from Marshall. Both songwriters are past winners in the category. Common won two years ago for co-writing "Glory" from Selma. Warren won 21 years ago for writing "Because You Loved Me" from Up Close & Personal.

56. Taylor Swift, Best Song Written For Visual Media

Taylor Swift, another nominee for Best Song Written For Visual Media, is also a past winner in that category. Swift, nominated this year for co-writing "I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)," won five years ago for co-writing "Safe And Sound" from The Hunger Games.

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57. Calvin Harris

Calvin Harris receives his first Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical nomination. Harris won his first GRAMMY five years ago for "We Found Love," his smash collaboration with Rihanna. They shared the award for Best Short Form Music Video.

58. Greg Kurstin

Greg Kurstin, last year's winner for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical, is nominated in that category again this year. He's vying to become the first producer to win it two years in a row since Babyface won it three years running from 1995 through 1997.

59. Producer Of The Year, Classical

The Producer Of The Year, Classical category comprises five producers with previous nods in the category. Morten Lindberg, who now has 24 total GRAMMY nominations, is seeking his first win. Blanton Alspaugh, Manfred Eicher, David Frost, and Judith Sherman have each won the category previously.

60. Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar: Best Music Video

Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar are each vying for their second award in the Best Music Video category. Jay-Z, who is nominated for "The Story Of O.J.," won four years ago for "Suit & Tie," a collaboration with Justin Timberlake. Lamar, nominated for "HUMBLE.," won two years ago for "Bad Blood," a collaboration with Taylor Swift. To date, just four artists have won twice in this category: Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and Johnny Cash.

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The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, 2018, airing live on CBS from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.

(Paul Grein is a veteran music journalist and historian whose work appears regularly at and

( staff members Renée Fabian, Brian Haack, Nate Hertweck, Tim McPhate, and Philip Merrill contributed to this article.)