Death from Above (band)

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Death from Above
Death From Above 1979 @ Wellington Square (25 9 2011) (6202050121).jpg
Jesse F. Keeler performing in September 2011
Background information
Also known as Death from Above 1979
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Years active
  • 2001–2006
  • 2011–present
Associated acts
Members Jesse F. Keeler
Sebastien Grainger

Death from Above (sometimes abbreviated to DFA) is a Canadian punk rock duo from Toronto, Ontario.[4] The duo changed their name to Death from Above 1979 in 2004 after a legal dispute with the dance music label DFA Records; however, in 2017, the band officially changed their name back to Death from Above. The duo consists of vocalist and drummer Sebastien Grainger and bassist Jesse F. Keeler.


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

Grainger and Keeler reportedly met at a Sonic Youth concert,[citation needed] 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.[5][6] 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."[7]

On December 15, 2002, the band released their debut 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 on October 26, 2004. The band released three singles to promote, You're a Woman, I'm a Machine, these singles where "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]

As of August 3, 2006, the band officially disbanded. Keeler posted the following message on the official Death from Above 1979 forum:

I know its been forever since I wrote anything on here. I'm sure by now most of you assume the band isn't happening anymore since there are no shows, no work on a new album, etc. well. I wanted to let you know that your assumptions are correct. We decided to stop doing the band... Actually we decided that almost a year ago. We finished off our scheduled tour dates because there were good people working for us who relied on us to make a living and buy Christmas presents and pay rent etc. We couldn't just cancel everything and leave them out to dry... Plus I think we wanted to see if we would reconsider after being out on the road. Our label was really hoping that we would change our minds, so they asked us to keep quiet about the decision for at first. Well, it's been quite a while now and we are still very sure the band won't happen again, so I guess it's time to say something.[8]

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]

On February 4, 2011, the band officially reunited. Grainger posted the following message on the band's website:

It’s been 5 years since Death From Above 1979 played a show, 10 years since Jesse played me the first demos 11 years since we sat in his parents basement and played so loud we knocked the china off the shelves upstairs. 11 seems to be a YES number for me. Though I am usually a pretty rational guy, if I have something on my mind and I see an 11 somewhere, I know I’m on the right path. It’s one of my last remaining superstitions. 2011 has a nice ring to it if you’re so inclined, it may be the last year ever! So why not say YES? Why not say YES to Coachella? Why not say YES to playing the music we designed to be an undeniable source of power? Why not say YES to stirring up a writhing pit of sweaty humans? YES to riots! YES to heavy music! YES instead of maybe, and YES to make death your adviser and remind yourself always, that this is not a dress rehearsal. This is the big show.

Jesse and I have decided that what we can do together should not be denied. Together again, as was always the intention, as a collaboration. The collision of two different worlds. As this all takes shape, we will reveal it to you. All of it happening, as it always has, in our own way. Thank you all for sharing in our excitement![9]

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".[10] On October 28, 2012, the band's blog was updated in lieu of 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.[11] On September 9, 2014 the band released their second album, The Physical World trough Last Gang and Warner Bros. Records.[11]

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.[12]

Outrage! Is Now (2017–present)[edit]

On June 6, 2017, the band announced an official name change back to the original "Death from Above." The same day, the duo announced a new single, "Freeze Me." The song premiered on BBC Radio 1 before its release on June 7.[13]

Band name[edit]

The band formed in 2001 under the name "Death from Above", but in 2004 the band changed their name to "Death from Above 1979" 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 amount of numbers required to keep the first part of the name.[14][15][16][17]

The band wrote a statement on their website:

Murphy told his side of the story in a 2005 interview with Pitchfork, saying:

In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Grainger and Keeler addressed their diatribe:

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.[20] On June 6, 2017, the band announced an official name change back to the original "Death from Above".[13] 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.[14][15]



Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions










You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
  • Label: Last Gang
  • Released: October 26, 2004
The Physical World
  • Label: Last Gang, Warner Bros.
  • Released: September 9, 2014
3 65 145 37 28
Outrage! Is Now[26]
  • Label: Last Gang
  • Released: September 8, 2017

Remix album

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums


Romance Bloody Romance: Remixes & B-Sides
  • Label: Vice
  • Released: October 18, 2005

Live album

Title Album details
Live At Third Man Records


Title EP details
Heads Up
  • Released: December 15, 2002
  • Label: Ache
Romantic Rights
  • Released: April 13, 2004
  • Label: Sound Virus


Title Year Peak chart positions Album




US Alt.


US Main. Rock


US Hot Rock Songs


"Romantic Rights" 2004 57 You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
"Blood on Our Hands" 2005 33
"Black History Month" 48
"Trainwreck 1979" 2014 83 14 22 33 The Physical World
"Government Trash"
"Virgins" 2015
"Freeze Me" 2017 25 Outrage! Is Now

Music videos

  • "Romantic Rights"
  • "Blood on Our Hands"
  • "Black History Month"
  • "Pull Out"
  • "Sexy Results" (MSTRKRFT Edition)
  • "Trainwreck 1979"
  • "Virgins"
  • "White is Red"
  • "Never swim Alone"
In media


Sample of "Romantic Rights", from You're a Woman, I'm a Machine.

Sample of "Dead Womb", from Heads Up.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "There's 'Life After Death From Above' in the New Movie From The Band". Noisey. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  2. ^ "Why Death From Above 1979 Reunited After a Decade Apart". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  3. ^ "Death From Above 1979 Showcase Live Show in New Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  4. ^ "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. 
  5. ^ "Why Everyone Is Losing Their Mind Over A New Death From Above 1979 Album - NME". NME. 2014-06-12. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ "From The Abundance Of The Heart, The Mouth Speaks". Last Gang Shop. Retrieved 2017-04-02. 
  8. ^ [1] Archived October 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Some Words". DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979. Archived from the original on 2011-07-09. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Ok". DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979. Archived from the original on 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  11. ^ a b "Death From Above 1979 detail new album, world tour". Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Geslani, Michelle (April 21, 2016) Retrieved April 23, 2016
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ a b c "Death From Above 1979 Are Just “Death From Above” Now | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  15. ^ a b "Death From Above 1979 announce name change - NME". NME. 2017-06-06. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  16. ^ "Death From Above drops new single, the “1979” from its name". 2017-06-07. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  17. ^ "Death From Above 1979 Drop the '1979' From Name, Share New Song 'Freeze Me'". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  18. ^ a b 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. 
  19. ^ "Jukebox: James Murphy | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  20. ^ "122 – DEATH FROM ABOVE – Sebastien on dropping the 1979, his Ancient Fashion label, and DFA’s latest single “Freeze Me”". audioBoom. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  21. ^ "Death from Above 1979 - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-05-29. 
  22. ^ "Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World". Retrieved 2017-05-29. 
  23. ^ "デス・フロム・アバヴ1979のアルバム売上ランキング". ORICON NEWS (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-05-29. 
  24. ^ a b "death from above 1979 | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2017-05-29. 
  25. ^ "Death from Above 1979 - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-05-29. 
  26. ^ "Outrage! Is Now by Death From Above 1979". iTunes. Retrieved August 14, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Death from Above 1979 - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  28. ^ "Death from Above 1979 - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  29. ^ "Death from Above 1979 - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  30. ^ "Death from Above 1979 - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  31. ^ "Death from Above 1979 - Chart history | Billboard". Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  32. ^ "Listen to the FIFA 15 Soundtrack". Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  33. ^ "NBA 2K15 Full Soundtrack List Revealed". Nba2kOrg. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 

External links[edit]