The Uppity Bastard

Smug Life

Bastardly Music Lesson

Lest you think all we listen to is crunkdafied Southern hip hop, your good friend the Bastard is here to shine the light on one of my favorite bands: Death From Above 1979

DFA 1979 was (they were only together for a few years) two dudes from Toronto named Jesse Keeler and Sebastien Grainger who over the course of 4 years (’02-’06) put out an EP (Heads Up), and LP (You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine), and a Remix/B-sides album (Romance Bloody Romance) full of aggro punk/metal with somewhat pop-sensible lyrics. I don’t mean ‘pop’ like bullshit Fall Out Boy-esque radio pop, I just mean that instead of screaming about angry shit they more or less stick to screaming about girls, drugs, growing up, etc.

Example, from “Romantic Rights,” off You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine:

Your romantic rights are all that you got
Push them down son it’s more than just lip
C’mon girls I know you know what you want
C’mon, C’mon now and give them all shhhhh
You’re beating walls now you just won’t quit
You play with shapes but they just won’t fit
I know you love me you don’t know what you like
You’re watching TV I stay up all night

…it may sound rather tame in writing, but when heard behind a driving wall of distortion it is pretty kickass. As I mentioned, they are a duo; Jesse plays bass and synths (with his bass plugged into a guitar amp rather than bass amp for more high-end squeal) while Sebastien sings and plays drums. To give you an idea of how all this ties together, here is the video for the aforementioned Romantic Rights (arguably their most popular song).

These albums are always in my music rotation; though most of their songs have a very similar sound, this shit never gets old for me.

Have you ever read an interview with a musician where they say something like “the first time I heard punk rock I was 14 and it changed my life…”? I never really understood that shit because I was never that hardcore into music until I was like 18. I mean, I played drums for a while , and I listened to a lot of music, but mostly it was just whatever my friends were listening to or whatever was on the radio. Either way, I feel like if these guys had been around when I was 14, I would have flipped my shit. ShepShepard and I have discussed this many a time. We came to the conclusion that if we could somehow reunite the band and stage a massive concert somewhere really mellow and boring like New Zealand, we would blow so many minds that we could start an uprising and take over the country. Shepard has a theory that Kiwi’s are like Australians but kinda slow because they all shared the same Grandfather (?).


Anyway, here are some live vids from Pukkelpop in Belgium a few years ago. Enjoy!


By the way, for you electronic music lovers out there, Jesse is now part of the Production/Remixing duo MSTRKRFT, who has been slaying dance floors for the past two years, bringing a sort of ‘metal crunch’ to the world of House and Electro. Sebastien is currently working his solo album, while also acting as producer for newer bands like the Bay Area’s Bang Lime.


March 14, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , , ,

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