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Lollapalooza Tue Jun 28 2011
Breakups are hard. The end of any relationship, romantic or not, has similar rituals. Tension mounts, you stop talking, you finish up projects and obligations before you cut ties. Sometimes there is something (or someone else). All situations are applicable even for a band, and especially for the short lived Death From Above 1979.
But just like some relationships, bands also get back together. Just like the breakup the reasoning can be the same; it can be for money, because you miss each other, love, or because you don't even remember why you broke up in the first place. Sometimes it takes stepping away to realize that you've got something really good, and I can assure you the electro dance-punk that DFA1979 churns out is something incredibly good.
The Toronto based duo released their debut album You're a Woman, I'm a Machine in October of 2004 to much critical acclaim. It mixed a hard and frantic punk sound with the glossiness of an electro touch, creating a huge sound for just two people. The band toured the album, include the festival circuit, winning over crowds with their molotov cocktail of a show. When I saw them at Pitchfork Festival their circle pit turned the field into a giant dustbowl and bodies were pinballing in every direction. It was a bottle up and explode atmosphere with the perfect soundtrack. Their music hovers above a sense of urgency (example: "Go Home, Get Down"), yet has touchstones of anger ("Pull Out") and a constant sexually charged undertone ("Sexy Results"). It was an album of polished yet raw danceable punk. And the remix album only elevated tracks, with work by Justice, Alan Braxe, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and MSTRKRFT, the side project of member Jesse F. Keeler.
DFA 1979 were poised for a successful followup to their debut when the band posted a message on an official DFA1979 forum. They were parting ways, and it wasn't a sudden decision. The band stated they knew things were over about a year before, but wanted to finish their obligations to the people they were working with. It later came out that the break was due to numerous disagreements including creative differences. Less than two years after the band released You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, it was all over.
People didn't forget the work the duo put out though, as I continually heard DFA1979 songs pop up during movies or television shows, at bars during dj sets. Keeler continued as the successful MSTRKRFT, churning out less punk infused electro tracks and remixing a plethora of artist. Sebastien Grainger had his own band that signed to Saddle Creek and opened for the likes of Metric and Bloc Party. Clearly both musicians were doing just fine on their own.
I still held out hope that the band would find they're way back to each other, and a surprise announcement of a set at SXSW this part March confirmed the news. The outpouring of a crowd in Austin showed that I wasn't the only one missing DFA1979, as fans tore down the fencing trying to get in and caused an actual riot at the show; tear gas, police, and all. The future of the band is still a bit cryptic, as you can see from the enthusiastic statement on their website, but for now they're jumping around from festival to festival, reviving their sound, and luring both old and new fans into their sweaty mosh pit of a live show.
Death From Above 1979 will be playing Lollapalooza at the Bud Light stage on Saturday at 4pm. They are also headlining a pre Lolla show on Thursday August 4th at the Metro, which sold out almost immediately. I would suggest not missing either set, but it would be a shame if Lolla weekend passes and you saw neither. This is one act not to be missed. Need a little more convincing? Check out the video for "Blood On Our Hands" below.
In the next few weeks we'll be previewing Lollapalooza artists, along with other notable sites, to gear up for the festival. Check back in to learn about some of the artist that will be gracing Lollapalooza's stage.