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LCD SOUNDSYSTEM (Buy CDs by this artist)
LCD Soundsystem (DFA/Capitol) 2005

With a cheeky, self-mocking persona that fueled an array of witty lyrics and made "Losing My Edge" an endearing cult hit, James Murphy blends state-of-the-art dance-beat electronica with razorblade rock, managing to successfully manipulate that rather common combination into an effervescent, exciting and thoroughly unique sound. After spending most of the '90s as a concert engineer for various punk bands, the New Jersey native founded the label DFA in 1999. In 2002, Murphy unveiled his LCD Soundsystem project with "Losing My Edge," a single that generated massive indie buzz and became an underground smash. Three years later, after several more singles and a lot more hype, LCDS finally dropped its explosive self-titled debut in 2005.

Murphy leaves nothing to chance on LCD Soundsystem, packing the set with extravagant grooves and dynamite riffs. A second disc which recaps some of the prior singles and B-sides resonates wonderfully, and provides a contrast for the new material, which is the same only better, faster and harder. The album opens with the dance-floor romp "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," which is both his best single to date and likely the closest he'll ever come to sounding mainstream. He ventures into darker, sleazier territory on "Too Much Love," an ode to overzealous partying, and "Tribulations," which has lighter subject matter but far more sinister music. "Thrills" and "Disco Infiltrator" continue in the vein of "Daft Punk," but with more relentless grooves, all leading up to the finale, "Great Release." The oasis in the non-stop grind is a mid-album ballad, the Lennonesque "Never as Tired as When I'm Waking Up." "It feels like I'm in love again," sings Murphy, and what was once unexpected from this 35-year-old DJ now feels deliciously exciting.

[Miguel Dupree]