The CD release of DFA Records Compilation #1 came out in days of yore, when the iTunes store did not exist, when iPods were more coveted than your phone. The only way to hear the first batch of singles DFA released was to seek out the vinyl and lots of people did.
This magical mythical first group of releases from DFA included “House of Jealous Lovers” by The Rapture, “Losing My Edge” & “Give It Up” by LCD Soundsystem. It also included two very different approaches to dance music from The Juan Maclean – “By The Time I Get To Venus” and “You Can’t Have It Both Ways”, which subtly introduced the world to the vocal powers of Nancy Whang.
Black Dice also released a 12” single, throwing their noise roots behind a 4/4 screech and created one of the most unique singles in the DFA catalog with “Cone Toaster”.
The compilation was edited to fit onto one CD, more a sampler than a completist’s anthology. In hindsight, it should have been an anthology of the first 5 singles in full but the A sides had enough momentum happening to make the sampler a bonafide success for the label.
The 8.0 review from Pitchfork in 2003 helped cement the DFA label as both the leaders of a new production approach, as well as a collection of artists who could co-exist make music together and please both the discerning DJ and the indie rock enthusiasts.
In the review, the writer Nick Sylvester calls DFA “The Neptunes of the discopunk underground”, which maybe seems funny and far-fetched now, but back in 2003 was a compliment and comparison that DFA were very willing to accept. It is now 2016 and both parties continue to work and stay busy and relevant. Success being relative, this compilation represents the humble beginnings of the label and the birth / re-birth of DFA flagship artists The Rapture, The Juan Maclean, LCD Soundsystem & Black Dice.
This is the first time this title has ever been pressed to vinyl.
Currently out of stock. We are waiting for our pressing plant in California to reopen so that this classic album can be repressed. If you would like to order now, we will ship it out as soon as it arrives.
Of the many arresting moments that fill LCD Soundsystem's This Is Happening, perhaps the most unexpected comes less than halfway through album opener "Dance Yrself Clean." The seemingly unassuming, low-key rumble of a song morphs from its mumbled beginnings into an outsized flash of synth ballast and wailing vocals. The sudden shift is like the flicking on of a light, the perfect example of frontman-songwriter-mastermind James Murphy's effortless balance of restraint and release, organic rock and electro pop, and muted cool and vibrant emotion. This study in contrasts pervades LCD Soundsystem's third, and possibly final, release--an album where Murphy refracts images of heartbreak and longing through the scattered light of a disco ball.
The cautious observations and honest reveals that follow are literally and figuratively quieter moments than that initial blare. On "All I Want," against a wall of whirling guitar, Murphy recognizes a relationship that can't be saved, and instead asks for "your pity" and "your bitter tears." "Get Along" shuffles over pulsing keys and bubbling percussion as Murphy tries to bridge physical and emotional distance, singing, "You might forget, forget the sound of a voice / Still, you shouldn't forget the things we laughed about." Conversely, the sparsely decorated, sauntering "Somebody's Calling Me" is almost hopeful in comparison: "Somebody's calling me" Murphy half whispers, "to be my girl."
There are stretches of lyrical levity here, too. "You Wanted a Hit," which sits atop shiny synths, a driving bass-line and layers of handclaps, laments record label demands on what turns out to be one of the album's hookiest tracks. "Pow Pow" veers toward past "talkies" like "Losing My Edge," and features keyboardist Nancy Whang shouting in unison with Murphy.
With This Is Happening, Murphy has created a work of both nuanced introspection and distanced observation. DFA is proud to offer the vinyl version of this much lauded release, which also includes contributions from drummer Pat Mahoney and sound collagist Gavin Russom.