- Nathan Yoder
The Black Dice!
Hearing LCD Soundsystem back in the mid-2000s was a revelation. A tight NYC disco troupe led by a frumpy-looking talk-singer, they mocked hipsters and simultaneously appealed directly to hipsters. An undergraduate college student who read Pitchfork reviews daily, I fell squarely into their target demographic, but I when the group released their 2005 debut, I didn't live anywhere near the vibrant scenes James Murphy described in his songs. I lived in northern Indiana. Google Maps could not even calculate a route between Goshen and Ibiza.
During the climax of Losing My Edge, a classic cut off that debut in which Murphy bemoans the bloated excesses of indie music and his weariness rooted in the scene's competitive nature, he screams "I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know" before listing A TON of obscure bands. Like, he's mocking those folks at parties who try to impress you with their encyclopedic music knowledge and vinyl collection. Well you better believe that I leaned in during that part of the song and wrote down ALL of the musicians he listed. I know, I know, this certainly goes against Murphy's intent. But he was DJing at CBGB's. I was listening to burned copies of the Garden State soundtrack. I needed new music.
Near the beginning of Murphy's list, he squealed out "the Black Dice!" and those three words sparked a love affair. It helped that at the time, I was deep into Animal Collective's discography (again, I was a college student in the mid-2000s) and had heard both Avey and Panda name drop the group a couple times. I think maybe they shared a producer? Black Dice (there is no "the" in the group's name, actually), collage together these psychedelic scraps to make woozy electronic jams. Bizarrely left-field, sometimes jarring and other times bouncy, their music is not always easy to access, but it grows on you with each listen. I've revisited their 2009 album Repo (which, no joke, I think I purchased with an iTunes gift card when it came out) many times over the past decade. It never gets old.
And now, to the point of this long-winded post: Black Dice are performing live at Holocene on Saturday, October 30th. Sixteen years after first hearing the group, I am also happy to say that it's an early show! Let's normalize early set times, yes? And DC is so excited to partner with the venue for this performance. We will be giving out three pairs of tickets between today and Thursday, so if you are in the Portland area, make sure to visit DC's Instagram page to find the contest details and to enter. I'll be at the show, so even if you don't win, buy a ticket and come say hi! Black Dice just released a new album a couple weeks back, and take a listen to our favorite track below.
A big thanks to Patricia Wolf, Holocene, and to my friend Nick Loewen for turning me on to LCD Soundsystem in the first place, and by extension, Black Dice. Nick and I eventually saw James Murphy and co. perform the night after I broke my collarbone in a mosh pit, but that's a story for a different time.