Looking Down on Death From Above 1979

Theories, either of the crackpot variety or those that are well-reasoned, can be an intriguing listen. Double that when the theory implies indirectly the involvement of President George W. Bush and the rise in popularity of Canadian underground music in the U.S. Toronto’s Death From Above 1979 has cooked up a strange yet plausible theory, stating that the emergence of bands from Canada in the lower 48 is based on the current political situation in the U.S.

“We [drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger and bassist Jesse F. Keeler] came up with a pretty interesting theory that, because of the political climate in the States, people are turning out to find good things, and I think that might be the case here,” Grainger said. “All of a sudden, there is weird romantic idea of Canada and it’s being reflected in people’s tastes.”

Similar in organization—and, to a certain degree, sound—to Lightning Bolt, DFA 1979 create a far more melodic and ascetically pleasing ruckus. Their 2004 debut, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine was downright amazing and has been creating quite a stir since its release early this year in the U.K. Only recently has the band seen increased media coverage in the U.S. Yet, despite the larger scope of media attention, don’t think that Grainger is reading his own press clippings.

“I try as much as possible to stay away from it. It sort of changes your view of your band and changes the idea of what you’re doing. I don’t particularly want to start writing songs about writing songs and writing songs about being in a band,” he said.

It is in the spirit of putting the blinders on and trolling on as normal that DFA 1979 arrives at SXSW. While certain bands feel the need to go out of their way to make an impression (see Icarus Line, SXSW 2002), DFA 1979 is treating the festival as just another evening.

“Every show is the same and you try to put as much into each performance as possible,” Grainger said. “Playing somewhere where there’s a lot of expectations, I think the same rule applies. We are going to play the same in Cardiff [Wales] as we will in [Austin].”

So, to quote that old Violent Femmes song, “When I say dance, you best dance motherfucker.”

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