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Inside the LCD Soundsystem / Rhino Records Vinyl-Reissue Kerfuffle

Variety logo Variety 6/13/2017 Jem Aswad
© Provided by Variety

LCD Soundsystem and Rhino Records were at the center of a baffling turn of events Monday that remained unresolved as this article published. Rhino said it will be reissuing certain LCD Soundsystem albums on vinyl. LCD say they don’t know anything about it. Therein lies a tale.

Early on Monday Pitchfork published an article announcing that Rhino Records will be re-releasing LCD’s self-titled 2005 debut, the 2010 album “This Is Happening,” the live-in-the-studio 2010 album “London Sessions,” and the “45.33” EP on vinyl. (The band’s 2007 sophomore album, “Sound of Silver,” already got a deluxe 10th anniversary re-release earlier this year.) It was all a little puzzling, given that there was no official press release from Rhino — at least not received by Variety.

Several hours later, a different press release arrived from LCD publicist Nasty Little Man with a subject line that reads “RHINO TO SOMEHOW RELEASE “VINYL REISSUES” OF LCD SOUNDSYSTEM TITLES ALREADY AVAILABLE THROUGH DFA.”

“Despite being in print for years and ready available at https://store.dfarecords.com/collections/albums,” the release continues, “Rhino has announced that they are releasing vinyl reissues of LCD Soundsystem’s self-titled debut album, ‘45:33,’ ‘This Is Happening’ and ‘London Sessions’ — which was news to the band who issued the following statement: ‘LCD Soundsystem certainly aren’t announcing sh–, as they had no idea that these were even coming out. Just buy the records from DFA [Records], like you have been able to for years.’

“The Rhino press release also describes LCD Soundsystem as ‘one of the freshest sounds on the London underground scene in the early 2000s,’” the release concluded, “so that shows how seriously anyone should take it.”

DFA is the long-running and highly respected dance/rock independent label launched by LCD founder James Murphy and business partners Jonathan Galkin and Tim Goldsworthy in 2001, which apparently holds the vinyl rights for the releases because, well, who cared about vinyl rights 16 years ago except for crate-diggers like them?

Rhino is the long-running and highly respected reissue/archive label owned by Warner Music Group. LCD’s back catalog is now with Rhino (except, apparently for the vinyl rights) because EMI, the company with which it originally signed a distribution deal, was acquired by Universal Music Group in its 2012 purchase of EMI’s recorded-music assets — but UMG had to sell off certain assets in order for the acquisition to clear European regulators. One of those was Parlophone, the EMI sub-label which LCD at some point ended up on, and which UMG sold to Warner in 2013. (At least that’s what we figure happened.)

Still, as a certain writer’s teenaged daughter would say, what in the holy flying crap-buckets is going on here?

Neither Rhino, its parent company Warner Music, nor Nasty Little Man would comment further, but a source close to the situation tells Variety that the Rhino press release may have emanated from Rhino U.K., which could hold the vinyl rights for that territory, rendering the release more credible (well, except for the part about LCD, one of the most dyed-in-the-wool New York City bands in history, being from London) if not entirely accurate.

One thing is certain: On Monday LCD announced  a seven-night stand at the new Bowery Presents/AEG venue Brooklyn Steel, just weeks after the group played a five-night stand to open the place in April. The new residency starts next week and runs June 16, 17, 19-21, 23 and 24.

LCD’s long-awaited fourth studio full-length, from which two songs have been released, is expected on Columbia later this year.

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