Though it’s easy to get excited in the face of new music, the result can often be bitter
“Break up.” “Indefinite hiatus.” Whenever a band announces these words, there’s always a degree of skepticism in regards to their finality. Whatever the reasoning for the split, people change, as do their decisions. While the prospect of a band reuniting can be exciting, it’s important to remain rational and realistic; these things rarely go all that well, as history has showcased time and time again (see Pixies, the Axl Rose-led Guns ‘N’ Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, etc.). With that said, here are a few reunions and returns we’re cautiously excited about.
Few bands have gone out with a bang quite as large as LCD Soundsystem; following the release of 2010’s This Is Happening, creative brainchild James Murphy set the gears in motion for the band’s closure, culminating in a grandiose, nearly four-hour-long concert at Madison Square Garden. Its finality couldn’t be stressed any more, a documentary chronicling the days leading up to the show being released shortly after the event itself. And yet here we are, less than five years later, with LCD Soundsystem set to headline a slew of summer festivals and a new album in the pipeline.
Though it’s easy to look at this cynically and assume that Murphy is pulling a “get rich quick” lever, his projects in the interim period not exactly filling up the space left behind by his former band, this doesn’t seem probable. Having produced Arcade Fire’s hugely successful 2013 release Reflektor and collaborated with David Bowie, the man wasn’t struggling for high profile work. Murphy has always been upfront with his fervent fanbase and this is no different, offering a sincere apology to those who traveled for their first final show. That being said, the prospect of a new album is a potentially disconcerting one, though only time will tell. It’s all still a blur of equal parts confusion and excitement, mostly due to the fact that it’s been so little time; most people haven’t even had time to miss them.
At the Drive-In
Though angst-ridden punk rock can be timeless, some things are better left in the past. Take At the Drive-In, the seminal post-hardcore band and the seeds to spastic prog band The Mars Volta, for example; following the latter’s dissolution, the band briefly returned to the stage in 2012 to a generally middling reception. Relationship of Command, an angsty post-hardcore masterstroke, has only become more adulated with time, its prog-rock inflected song structures breathing new life into its nervy, teenage narrative. While known for their live-wire performances, the reunion found lead guitarist Omar Rodrigez-Lopez disconnected, affected by the recent passing of his mother as well as his growing disenchantment with At the Drive-In and the bad memories within. Rodriguez-Lopez even went on record at the time, ruling out the possibility of new material in an interview with NME.
So what happened? Maybe singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez’s latest project Antemasque brought them closer than ever. Perhaps the rest of the band feels musically rejuvenated. Maybe it’s just a big paycheck. Who knows. One thing’s for sure; you can expect a new At the Drive-In album in the coming year, whether you want it or not. Here’s hoping they fare better than Refused!
With the resurgence of noise pop sonic aesthetics, the 2010s have been a particularly fruitful decade for bands occupying the more adventurous corners of ‘90s alt rock. Shoegaze in particular has experienced a boom, its pedal-clicking hisses and dissonance finding their way into other, completely disparate genres (see black metal bands Alcest and Deafheaven). With this resurgence of course came reunions from just about every founding pillar; Dublin’s My Bloody Valentine, Berkshire’s Slowdive and Oxfordshire’s Ride are all back in action. Though tragedy unfortunately put an end to London shoegaze act Lush, with drummer Chris Acland taking his own life in 1996, the band appear ready to return to the stage for the first time in 20 years. While the long-term plan for this reunion hasn’t been officially disclosed, a couple of London concerts have been scheduled and sold out, with North American dates planned in the near future. Time can certainly be cruel towards a band’s significance; in Lush’s case, time hasn’t caught up to them just yet, as reflected by today’s indie rock scene.
Really, the return we NEED. I want it. You want it. We can all agree “Red Light” was a bonafide banger and “Party All the Time” a moody masterpiece. What’s the hold up, Eddie? We’re waiting!