Death from Above 1979

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Death from Above 1979
Death from Above 1979 performing in 2011
Death from Above 1979 performing in 2011
Background information
Also known asDeath from Above (2001–2004, 2017–2020)
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
Years active
  • 2001–2006
  • 2011–present
MembersJesse F. Keeler
Sebastien Grainger

Death from Above 1979 (also known as Death from Above or DFA 1979) is a Canadian rock duo consisting of bassist Jesse F. Keeler and drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger from Toronto, Ontario,[2] formed in 2001. The band released their debut album, You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, in 2004 and broke up in 2006. They reformed in 2011 and released their second album, The Physical World, in 2014. Since then the band has released 2 more albums, Outrage! Is Now in 2017 and Is 4 Lovers in 2021.


Formation and Heads Up (2001–2003)[edit]

Grainger and Keeler reportedly met at a Sonic Youth concert,[citation needed] though they sometimes jokingly claimed to have met in prison, on a pirate ship, or in a gay bar, leading some journalists and fans to believe these stories.[3][4] Keeler has also said to have met Grainger when looking for a drummer to play in his hardcore punk band Femme Fatale, further stating "That's how Death from Above got started."[5] In a 2021 interview with Anthony Fantano, Keeler finally revealed how the band actually formed. In 2001, Keeler was playing drums in Black Cat #13 and was storing bass guitar gear at his house for a planned concert in Detroit opening for The Blood Brothers. The concert was cancelled due to the September 11 attacks, so Keeler invited Grainger to jam to put the equipment to use and they were inspired to form their own band. [6]

On December 15, 2002, the band released their debut release, the EP Heads Up.

You're a Woman, I'm a Machine and break up (2004–2006)[edit]

The band began recording for their debut album, You're a Woman, I'm a Machine from February to April 2004 at The Chemical Sound in Toronto. Additional recording was done at Studio Plateau in Montreal and the album was engineered and produced by Al-P, with the exception of the Montreal sessions which were engineered by Drew Malamud.[citation needed] The album was released in October, 2004.[7] The band released three singles to promote, You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, these singles were "Romantic Rights" on November 4, 2004, "Blood on Our Hands" on February 17, 2005, and "Black History Month" on June 13, 2005.[citation needed] In 2005, the video for "Blood on Our Hands" won a VideoFACT award at the MuchMusic Video Awards.[citation needed]

In 2004, the band changed their name to "Death from Above 1979" (previously named "Death from Above") due to a cease and desist letter that was filed against the band by James Murphy's label Death From Above Records. The band responded by attaching the legal minimum number of numerals required to keep the first part of the name.[8][9][10][11][12] On MuchMusic's television program The New Music, Keeler further explained why the band split. He claimed it was due to disagreements with bandmate Grainger on many levels, including creative differences and musical style.

Reunion and The Physical World (2011–2016)[edit]

Sebastien Grainger performing at Parklife Festival 2011

On February 4, 2011, the band officially reunited.[13]

The band performed a new song while performing at EdgeFest on July 14, 2012, at Downsview Park in Toronto. On September 18, 2012, a Canadian tour was announced; the band revealed that they had written new songs, but needed to perform them live in order to "make them any good".[14] On October 28, 2012, the band's blog was updated as they built excitement for their string of shows around Canada. In the post, Grainger cited that they were "coming to share new material, and to work out the kinks".[citation needed] The band was originally scheduled to perform at Governors Ball Music Festival in June 2013, but later announced that they were having unexpected trouble while working on new music and cancelled their appearance.[citation needed] On July 11, 2013, the band confirmed that a new record is in the works on their Facebook page after cancelling European shows due to a "medical emergency". They did, however, perform at Wakestock Music Festival in August and Rifflandia in September.[citation needed] On July 8, 2014, the band released a single, "Trainwreck 1979", and announced more details of their upcoming studio album, The Physical World.[15] On September 9, 2014, the band released their second album, The Physical World through Last Gang and Warner Bros. Records.[15]

On October 7, 2014, the band released a documentary Life After Death from Above 1979. The documentary chronicled the history of the band and their reunion. It was directed by Grainger's wife, Eva Michon.

On April 22, 2016, the band released a live album, Live At Third Man Records which was recorded in 2015 at Jack White's Third Man Records headquarters in Nashville.[16]

Outrage! Is Now (2017–2020)[edit]

On June 6, 2017, the band announced an official name change back to the original "Death from Above".[17] Although the band has said their social media handles will keep the "1979" suffix, all future music and shows from the duo will reportedly arrive under the new name.[8][9] Grainger said in an interview that the band decided to not include the "1979" suffix on a tour promo for their tour with the Eagles of Death Metal in early 2016, "just to see what would happen" and the band received no legal issues because of it which led to them doing it again on their tour promo with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and once again there were no legal repercussions.[18] Sebastian has also said the making the album art for the band's single "Freeze Me" also was part of the decision, "The final straw was when I was making the art for our single 'Freeze Me'. I wanted to write the name out in ice, so I went on Amazon and ordered an ice cube tray in the alphabet. It came and there were no numbers. That was that."[19] Along with the name change, the duo announced the new single, "Freeze Me." The song premiered on BBC Radio 1 before its release on June 7.[17]

Is 4 Lovers (2020–present)[edit]

In December 2020, the band wiped their social media pages. A series of posts to their Instagram grid revealed the band's logo, followed by a teaser video confirming the band's name change back to Death from Above 1979.[20] After months of teaser posts, the band confirmed a new album on February 3, 2021.[21] The album, Is 4 Lovers, was released on March 26. The announcement coincided with the release of a new single, "One + One".[22]

Musical style[edit]

Throughout its career, the band has been described as dance-punk,[23][24] noise punk,[25] and punk rock.[26] Grainger has stated when the band first started his and Keeler's aim was "to be as straight ahead as possible," and "to be the AC/DC of hardcore."[27] Rolling Stone claims "Death From Above embodied the DIY dance-punk aesthetic that lived in home recordings and grimy basement clubs" and that the band's early work "combined noisy hardcore, gritty synths and earnest screams".[23]



Studio albums

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Death From Above 1979 announce new album, Outrage! Is Now, share "Never Swim Alone": Stream". Consequence of Sound. 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
  2. ^ "SEBASTIEN GRAINGER: any Wikipedia users out there? if you're so inclined can you change the DFA1979 site to state we were Toronto based, not Montreal. true say". 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  3. ^ "Why Everyone Is Losing Their Mind Over A New Death From Above 1979 Album - NME". NME. 2014-06-12. Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  4. ^ Johnson, Brian (2014-09-11). "Death From Above 1979 Performs 'Trainwreck 1979' on The Late Show with David Letterman". Empty Lighthouse Magazine. Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  5. ^ "From The Abundance Of The Heart, The Mouth Speaks". Last Gang Shop. Archived from the original on 2017-04-03. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  6. ^ "Death from Above 1979 INTERVIEW". YouTube.
  7. ^ "25 best Canadian debut albums ever". CBC Music, June 16, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Death From Above 1979 Are Just "Death From Above" Now | Pitchfork". 6 June 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  9. ^ a b "Death From Above 1979 announce name change - NME". NME. 2017-06-06. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  10. ^ "Death From Above drops new single, the "1979" from its name". 2017-06-07. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  11. ^ "Death From Above 1979 Drop the '1979' From Name, Share New Song 'Freeze Me'". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  12. ^ Hebblethwaite, Phil (2014-09-05). "Death From Above 1979: 'I wanted to get arrested. I felt fearless'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  13. ^ "Some Words". DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979. Archived from the original on 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  14. ^ "Ok". DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979. Archived from the original on 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-21.
  15. ^ a b "Death From Above 1979 detail new album, world tour". 8 July 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  16. ^ "Death From Above 1979 announce Third Man Records live album, share "Right on Frankenstein" — listen". 20 April 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Death From Above - Freeze Me, Jam sits in for Annie - BBC Radio 1". BBC. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  18. ^ "122 – DEATH FROM ABOVE – Sebastien on dropping the 1979, his Ancient Fashion label, and DFA's latest single "Freeze Me"". audioBoom. Archived from the original on 2017-08-01. Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  19. ^ "Death From Above talk to us about their survival, 'Outrage! Is Now' and their name change - NME". NME. 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  20. ^ "DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 (@DFA1979)". Archived from the original on 2021-12-26. Retrieved 3 February 2021 – via Instagram.
  21. ^ Strauss, Matthew (3 February 2021). "Death From Above 1979 Announce Album, Share Video for New Song 'One + One': Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  22. ^ Trendell, Andrew (3 February 2021). "Death From Above 1979 return with dance-y single 'One + One' and tell us about 'playful' new album 'Is 4 Lovers'". NME. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Why Death From Above 1979 Reunited After a Decade Apart". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  24. ^ "Album Review: Death from Above – Outrage! Is Now". Consequence of Sound. 2017-09-04. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
  25. ^ "Death From Above 1979 Showcase Live Show in New Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  26. ^ "There's 'Life After Death From Above' in the New Movie From The Band". Noisey. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  27. ^ "Death From Above 1979: 'We want to be the AC/DC of hardcore' - NME". NME. 2014-08-06. Retrieved 2017-10-08.

External links[edit]