'Death' descends on D.C.
Genre-crossing duo ready to sweat at Black Cat
Don't show up at Tuesday's Death From Above 1979 gig at the Black Cat in socks and sandals, the band's T-shirt and badly cut jeans. If you do, singer and drummer Sebastien Grainger may just punch you in the face, but that's merely speculation. He considers the above ensemble to be a "don't," a label commonly doled out by Vice Magazine, an edgy publication housed by the band's record label.
Death From Above 1979 has an interesting past full of violent anecdotes. When Death From Above Records sued the band for stealing its name, the band threatened war via an angry letter on its Web site and tacked on the minimum four numbers required to keep its preferred title. British publications also spread a rumor that the two band members, Grainger and Jesse Keeler, met in jail.
"No, we didn't meet in jail," Grainger said. "But we were a full four-piece before we murdered the other two."
DFA 1979's 2004 release, "You're a Woman, I'm a Machine," is full of grit, sweat and sexual references. Picture T-shirts stuck to bodies; wet, stringy hair, and no-rules, body-on-body friction. That's the kind of dancing this heavy-with-riffs, punked-out grind of bass and drums should induce.
Grainger says that his band targets everybody with its brand of music and is not concerned with fitting in a certain genre, despite the flurry of twosomes, like Lightning Bolt, igniting the scene these days. Just doing what comes naturally seems to be working.
"We throw out what we have and see who it sticks to," he said.
Their style of what could be called dance-punk deals a lot with girlfriends and exes, erections and sex. It seems through the lyrics that DFA 1979 treats the ladies well.
"Come here baby/I love you/Come to me/We could do it/And start a family," Grainger entices on the single "Romantic Rights."
"I have a pretty healthy egalitarian view of women," Grainger said when asked if he places them on a pedestal. His favorite part of a woman, he said, is "the small of the back."
DFA 1979 have been around, making hits in their home country, Canada, and the United Kingdom as well as the United States. Which do they prefer?
"It's like asking which one of your parents or siblings you like better," Grainger said.
In the States, they get to drive around like truck drivers, working a blue-collar touring route. In the United Kingdom, they're treated like gods. And in Canada, things are just way too easy.
The band, which it says listens to everything from "Justin Timberlake to The Strokes to Black Mountain to Deep Purple to Pakistani traditional music," will pant through a sweltering set of songs like the album's title track, on which Grainger laments, "Now that it's over/I love you more and more."
Poor baby, but despite the woes that are ever-present in these songs, they still make for a head-bashing good time.
DFA 1979 will take the stage at the Black Cat Tuesday with opening acts Controller.Controller and Uncut.