Musings on music delivered when I dig myself out.

Death From Above 1979 -- You're A Woman, I'm a Machine
Vice; 2004

You're A Woman, I'm a Machine, the new LP from Death From Above 1979, provides an excellent case against pigeon-holing. Many press outlets have been lazy in covering the duo, opting to slap the "noise-rock" label on their aesthetic. Yeah, their sound is rather skuzzy and yeah, it's pretty noisy; but to get caught in their grimy surface layer is to miss the boat. These boys craft superb hooks like the finest blacksmiths or uh, songwriters and play them like their asses are on fire. It's surprising just how good "noise" can sound.

The wide array of sounds and blistering yet catchy melodies that Death From Above 1979 make using only drums, bass guitar, vocals is incredible. Bassist Jesse F. Keeler's aggressive style throws out traditional notions of what a bass guitar can do. With tone as fuzzy as a long forgotten muffin, Keeler concentrates on the bass's upper octaves, playing it like a guitar with twice the bludgeoning power. He even manages to free his fingers long enough to pull some quirky noise from a synth every now and again. Sebastien Grainger's raw drumming locks each tune into a dizzying groove, but his greatest strength is his vocals. Sorry, Eagles fans -- Grainger's no Don Henley. Ranging from the howling of The Blood Brothers to the eyes-closed croon of Spoon singer Britt Daniel, Grainger is often the duo's biggest asset.

What Grainger sings is as essential to DFA1979's racket as air or electricity. As the album's title hints at, a great portion of the lyrics are centered around girls and his strange/estranged relationships with them. His inner struggle to stay or go from "Romantic Rights" is best embodied by the chorus of "I don't need you / I want you." "Blood on Our Hands" and lyrics like "There is blood on all the shoes you've worn / from the people you've been stepping on. / There is blood in all the things you say / I won't hate you if you go away," narrate the battle damage of a nasty conflict. But the group touches on the lustier side of things as well, as evinced on the self-evident "Pull Out" and the flirty "Sexy Results."

These thoughtful lyrics shouldn't come as a surprise to those that can look past the shaggy exterior. Creating blazing and concise tunes takes more than just the ability to thrash around, particularly if they're to have any sort of depth. Death From Above 1979's carefully pair and pit the vocals and bass with one another until they come out in easy to swallow segments of about three minutes. Only a few of the songs from You're A Woman, I'm a Machine break form, but do so in a fine way. "Black History Month" accepts its doomed fate in a blissfully slow fashion; "Little Girl" dirty-bird boogies its way off the dance floor; and the infectious rhythm of "Sexy Results" is a huge aural middle finger to the other DFA (who made the group add the silly 1979 to their name by suing them).

With an album so brief (clocking in under 35 minutes) and so intense, Death From Above 1979 leave no room for error. Even that their songs sort of blur together isn't a strike against them; sticking to their areas of expertise (see: rocking out) as opposed to overreaching their bounds (like rapping) is nothing if not wise. You're A Woman, I'm a Machine is more of a pop record than a noise record, even if not conventionally so, and that speaks volumes about the duo. Ashlee Simpson featuring Death From Above 1979? Probably not; but more than a few bands these days could stand to use the group as exemplars.

E-mail this post

Remember me (?)

All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of More...

0 Responses to “”

Leave a Reply

      Convert to boldConvert to italicConvert to link


I Got Love For

ATOM 0.3

Establish Contact:

Previous posts


Add to your Kinja digest