Release Date: Sep 9, 2014
Record label: Warner Bros.
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
In 2004, Britain’s musical landscape was one in which The Libertines were careering towards implosion and the likes of Bloc Party and Razorlight were readying themselves to replace them. Across the Atlantic, in a dark corner of Toronto’s hardcore scene, two hairy men were doing something completely different, crafting a fast and heavy new noise that would become a cult hit, and go on to have a resounding impact on the decade of music that followed.Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F Keeler combined furious math-rock riffs and ass-shaking basslines on their debut full-length ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’. What we didn’t know at the time was that it would be DFA 1979’s last record for a decade.
It blossomed in 2005. In 2006 it was over. In 2011 it was merely nostalgia. In 2014, with absence seemingly having made a lot more hearts grow a lot fonder, it begins again. Death From Above 1979 are finally back. The absence has certainly helped the myth. It’s worth remembering that upon initial ….
Head here to submit your own review of this album. As much as we all want to assure ourselves of the contrary, we must admit that 2004 was a very long time ago. I know it makes you feel old, and I apologise, but the slow crawl to death is an inevitable part of life, so we might as well embrace it. Thanks for that one, Charlie Kelly.
Welcome back, gentlemen, it’s been too long… ...is an understatement. It was a decade ago that the two Ontario dudes that call themselves Death from Above 1979 set the rock world on fire with their incendiary debut album You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. This was just a year after the White Stripes’ garage rock landmark Elephant and the same year as The Black Keys’ Rubber Factory.
It’s hard to believe that it was a whole decade ago that Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger dropped You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine - an LP that was something completely outlandish, operating outside of every other paradigm at that time, and imitating nothing that had gone before it. It was breakneck fast, with Keeler and Grainger playing like their very bones were on fire, exploding out from the blocks of the Toronto underground with an arsenal of furious riffs and schizophrenic grooves.
When Death from Above 1979 broke up in 2006, the buzz behind their 2004 debut album was still building up steam. Given the mini-riot that erupted at their first reunion show, it seems their fan base actually grew while they were on hiatus, so it's smart that they didn't mess with their formula. The duo never felt that "dance punk" really applied to them, and that term does feel very early-00s now.
After releasing maybe the most explosive hard rock album of the early 2000s with You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, the duo of bassist Jesse F. Keeler and drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger became victims of their own success. Excessive touring and a growing distance between the two caused the acrimonious dissolution of Death from Above 1979. The two didn't speak for years, explored other projects (Keeler with MSTRKRFT and Grainger with a string of excellent power pop albums) and seemed to have moved on completely, though the band's fans never did.
This is Toronto duo Death from Above 1979’s followup to their 2004 debut You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. It has been a long wait – multi-instrumentalist Jesse Keeler and singer and drummer Sebastien Grainger split in 2005 before reconvening for some live shows in 2011 – but admirers of their full-on assault won’t be disappointed by The Physical World. Government Trash typifies DFA 1979’s approach: pummelling riffs played with big, ugly guitars overloaded with distortion, thundering drums and brattish vocals.
The perfect band. That’s what you’ll hear those bloodshot-eyed veterans say. It may only have been ten years since Death From Above 1979 unleashed their classic ‘You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine’ upon the world - not so long ago none of us can remember it - but it feels like a lifetime ago. In musical terms, it is.
Desperately trying to scratch an itch you just can’t fucking get at: Ten years later, that’s still the overwhelming sensation that permeates You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, the 2004 debut by Toronto’s Death From Above 1979. That lack of intimate connection and tactile resolution is echoed in the failed interface hinted at in the album’s title. DFA 1979 just couldn’t get no satisfaction—and when the band blew up in the mid '00s, they promptly imploded, only adding to that nagging tingle.
Back in 2004, a prodigious dance-punk duo from Toronto set off the mightiest noise explosion. The perpetrators were a long-haired, bearded axe-wizard – though in this instance, it was a bass that was the chief weapon of choice – and a frenetic, yelping drummer who must’ve splintered an inordinate amount of drumsticks every time he played. Together, as Death from Above 1979, they combined to unleash a pulsating sound that made their debut record You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine such a wild ride, drawing a significant amount of admirers and placing DFA at the centre of a maelstrom of hype.
Death From Above 1979 pick up right where they left off...uh, holy shit, 10 years ago. And lo, a collective "holy shit" was uttered across the Internet when they announced a reunion, and still one more this July with the appearance of single "Trainwreck 1979." And the good news is the fellas didn't miss a beat, despite all that time off. They're still delivering that winning blend of dance-punk energy with classic-rock aplomb, and it still feels plenty fresh.
Not much has changed in the world of DFA 1979 since the duo went on hiatus in 2006. After just one album, their no-holds-barred drums and distorted-bass onslaught has been aped, but rarely equalled. When Sebastian Grainger, a formidable drummer with a voice that’s one part teenage scream and one part despair, announced the duo would “re-form” in 2011, few expected the pair to have deviated much from their template.
Review Summary: Indeterminate form.I don’t want to belabor a point repeated ad nauseum in this space and other publications about the new Death From Above 1979 record, so if you’d like a succinct, accurate reflection of The Physical World, here it is: it sounds like a DFA1979 record. If you liked You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, you will like this as well. More impressive than Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler repairing a seemingly shattered relationship and successfully producing a follow-up to one of the last decade’s most indelible albums is just how out of time and place The Physical World sounds; it's as if the two never stopped making music together.
This Canadian noise-punk duo made one promising full-length album in 2004 before calling it quits. Returning a decade later, they're still crushing violent, angular riffs (see the hellacious "Government Trash"), but they're also writing catchier songs that bring out conventional rock influences. "Right on, Frankenstein!" is hummable Halloween-themed punk metal; "White Is Red" has dynamics worthy of a Queens of the Stone Age tune; and "Cheap Talk" is a catchier version of the late-Seventies U.K.
In the mid-00s, Toronto bass/drums duo Death From Above 1979 earned plenty of attention with their superior dance-punk stylings and juvenile but entertaining spats with LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy but then split before translating acclaim into sales. Their first album since 2004's You're a Woman, I'm a Machine finds them largely picking up where they left off, with Jesse Keeler's throbbing, distorted bass to the fore. The likes of Crystal Ball and Trainwreck 1979 are delivered tautly enough to recall past glories but there's little that sounds noteworthy.
A decade is a couple of lifetimes in buzzband years, but listen to the two Death from Above 1979 albums back to back and it’s hard to believe that the first was released a week before Arcade Fire’s Funeral and the second a week after the Reflektor tour drew to a close. After a hostile split in 2006, Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler gave each other the cold shoulder for a good five years, letting their breakout debut, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, stand as the only artifact of their whirlwind legacy. The Toronto-based pair made amends in 2011, and now their delayed sophomore effort, The Physical World, picks up just about where they left off.
opinion byAUSTIN REED T here’s nothing more discouraging than a set of stacked odds that are impossible to overcome. Having to fight is scary enough as it is, but doing so under the presumption that the fight is unwinnable from the get-go? Thanks, but no thanks. When talking about Toronto-based dance-rock duo Death From Above 1979, there are two incontrovertible, altogether unavoidable truths that must be asserted.
For as popular as dance-punk was in the early-to-mid-’00s, the major bands from that time—a crop that included Yeah Yeah Yeahs, !!!, The Rapture, and Liars, to name a few—very quickly evolved their sounds beyond sharp guitar bursts, staticky keyboards, and manic tempos. In hindsight, this progression can be seen as a survival mechanism more than anything. The intrinsic volatility of this particular strain of dance-punk generated significant instability.
Since its release in 2004, fans of Death From Above 1979 have been hoping the duo would get back in the studio to follow-up their acclaimed debut, You're A Woman, I'm A Machine. That album bristled with blinding energy, as the fuzzed-out, bucking basslines of John Bonham lookalike Jesse F. Keeler were pitted against drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger's simple yet solid rhythms, which flitted between disco beats, driving punk rock rhythms and funky grooves.
A full decade has passed since the release of Death From Above 1979’s now legendary You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine, an album often credited, alongside the early work of bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Strokes, with inventing a hard-edged, dance-punk vocabulary that characterized much of early-Aughts indie rock. However, Death From Above 1979 displayed an interest in rock riffs that also argued that they had something in common with classic rock revivalist bands of the same era, although their fans would certainly and staunchly deny it. Time (if not money) has been almost brutally unkind to those revivalist bands, like Jet and Wolfmother, once adored by junior high school students with Led Zeppelin t-shirts.
Back when Death From Above 1979 announced their reformation in January of 2011 in the manner that’s proved the most fashionable in recent years - that is, taking a few extra quid from the Coachella organisers to ensure that your appearance on that famous poster is the first the world hears of your return - the prospect of them actually making any new music, much less releasing a new record as conventionally as this, was not one that really crossed my mind. That probably tells you all you need to know about just how cynical that culture of lucrative reunions has become in recent years; I realise that Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler likely haven’t been down the Ferrari dealership since they started playing together again, but the fact that they were playing UK venues that dwarfed the ones they’d visited first time around suggested that the money available simply had to have been a motivating factor. To the pair’s credit, mind you, those shows were a success, and if they had been motivated purely by the cash on offer, they didn’t betray that fact in the same, horribly disrespectful fashion that, say, At The Drive-In did a year later.
Death From Above 1979 The Physical World (Warner Bros.) Literally nothing's changed. The Montreal duo of Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler stamped out one anti-social, proto-dubstep disc in 2004, the vaguely misogynistic You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, and turned it into a series of apocalyptic live shows until the pair broke up two years later. In 2011, the reunion.