James Murphy, man of mysteryEXPAND
James Murphy, man of mystery
Ruvan Wijesooriya

What Does the "LCD" in LCD Soundsystem Stand for?

Nothing LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy ever does is by accident. (OK, except that whole breaking-up-but-not-really thing might have been a tiny bit by accident.) So one has to assume that there's a story behind his band's name. Yet it appears he's never told it. Search the web all you want for LCD Soundsystem origin stories, but the meaning behind the band's name never comes up. This has left fans to speculate as to what the "LCD" in LCD Soundsystem might stand for — assuming it stands for anything at all, and isn't just a combination of letters Murphy chose because he thought they sounded cool.

The most popular — and prosaic — explanation is that they just stand for "liquid-crystal display," the most common set of words behind the LCD acronym. When Murphy first began putting out music as LCD Soundsystem in 2002, LCD TVs and monitors were the pinnacle of high-resolution digital optics — so an "LCD Soundsystem," presumably, would be something that produced crystal-clear sound. Murphy is famously obsessed with sound quality, so this explanation makes sense, even if it isn't terribly interesting.

Another popular theory is that LCD stands for "lowest common denominator" — a cheeky nod to the fact that many of LCD Soundsystem's earliest singles were a smart person's approach to making dumb but effective dance music. (One such single, "Yeah," was released in "crass" and "pretentious" versions.) It certainly would be in keeping with Murphy's penchant for self-deprecation, which has been a trademark since LCD Soundsystem's getting-too-old-to-be-cool debut single "Losing My Edge," to sneak such an undercutting reference right into his project's name.

But just as "liquid-crystal display" seems too obvious (the "pretentious" version), "lowest common denominator" seems too on-the-nose (the "crass" version). If the "LCD" in LCD Soundsystem stands for anything, it seems far likelier that it's some obscure reference or inside joke that Murphy has chosen, all this time, to keep to himself. Which leaves us fans free to wildly speculate as to what those three letters could possibly represent.

In honor of LCD Soundsystem's sold-out five-night run at the Hollywood Palladium, starting Friday, Nov. 17, we did a little brainstorming here at the L.A. Weekly offices and came up with the following list of LCD acronym candidates. And we invite you to play along! Add your own LCDs in the comments. See you at the Palladium.

Liquid Crystal Display
Lowest Common Denominator
Last Chance Disco
Lost Cause Defenders
Laser Confetti Division
Lotsa Crazy Dudes
Loose Caboose Department
Lenny Can't Dance
Looped Cowbell Dissonance
Lonely Caller Dialtone
Lights! Camera! Distraction!
Lewis Carroll's Dungeon
Leopard Cheetah Dinosaur
Lost Chord Diviners
Lovers Crave Drugs
Let's Chase the Dragon
Let's Cheat Death
Let's Create Dystopia
Likable Cocaine Dealer
Liebezeit Crushes Drums
Licorice Candy Drops
Likely Cure for Depression
Luscious Chocolate Dessert
Liepzig Cologne Dusseldorf
Las Cucarachas Diabólicas
Lazy Cop Donut
Log Cabin Dynasty
Liquor Cabinet Dregs
Lizard Cage Disinfectant
Leather Chaps Daddy
Luminous Celluloid Dolphins
Lemon Crash Diet
Limp Chimp Dick
Loud Cry of Distress
Lapsed Catholic Dreams
Luxury Car Drivers
Lando Calrissian Drama
Larry Clark Diorama
Lecherous Cool Dad
Last Call for Dramamine
Lucky Cartoon Decade
Laughing Crying Dancing
Love Crashes Down

LCD Soundsystem are at the Hollywood Palladium for five consecutive nights, Nov. 17-21.

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