Rarely does a band come on the scene and eviscerate all other newcomers in such short time, but that’s exactly what DFA 1979 did with their monumentally disruptive debut, “You’re A Woman, I’m a Machine.” Today we add this to the series “Albums of my Life.” Enjoy
With the piano opening, you might expect this to be an album that gradually dives into its substance and influences, but rather it’s nearly the opposite. “Turn it Out,” forces you to face this demanding, high energy music, and if this is your type of jam, you’re likely gladly welcoming the tension and up close animosity soaking through the speakers. With this opening track, Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger clearly lay down their hypothesis for what the rest of this record will consist of.
Now, these songs are short, but none feel like they need more. Except for the closer of the album, none of the tracks are over 4 minutes, with most running under three minutes or less. This does two things in a record format: First it gets the listener immediately immersed in the quick pace of the album, but secondly, it states the purpose of the band. These guys aren’t Tool or Godspeed! You Black Emperor. Rather they approach the songs from a more punk rock background. The vocals are ratty and gritty, and between the chunky bass playing and intermittent synths by JFK, they demonstrate that they have no time to waste to engage an audience, whether it be through record or live performance.
Even under the six minute mark, we’re already on track three. “Going Steady,” is the first track on the record to not be unabashedly angry, but with plenty of darker tones on the synth, it still maintains the vibe of the record. This record is a strange one in the way that you wouldn't think it would be easy to dance to, but in fact it is. Even as the song rocks on, it’s difficult not to move to it, but if you don’t go fast, you’ll miss it before you even realize it’s there. Furthermore, the introduction of “Go Home, Get Down,” basically forces itself through the door with a fist and punch mixed with heavy drums and keyboards that are basically alien to the genre being presented,
That's what makes this band so important. They subvert the angriness of random parts and make a sort of mashup that is able to exist in various forms. This band shouldn’t work on any level, but off the power of this one record, they not only created a loyal, fervent fan base, but they went from playing shit clubs to opening for Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails. That’s progress.
The middle of the record though is where the true meat of the album is presented. “Blood on our Hands,” is a catchy accomplishment and triumphant, while “Black History Month,” is one of the most well rounded, varied songs the band includes on this album. The drums and bass are perfect, and for the first time Grainger isn’t growling with resentment. It’s a track that paints a picture of unhappiness and teenager wonder all in one fail swoop. If this isn’t among the band’s best tracks, I don’t know what is.
After that though, it’s nearly right back to the brimming violence of the album's opening tracks. “Little Girl,” “Cold War,” and the title track found at number nine all embody the spirit of a band, even if it’s still in it’s relative infancy(The band would disband immediately after the touring cycle and wouldn’t reconvene for nearly five years.) The magic presented on “You’re a woman,” is profound, cathartic, and easy to get into because of its mentality and simplicity. That’s not to undermine the record in anyway or make it out to be immature or incomplete. Basically bands like Japandroids owe these guys a huge debt of gratitude for what they accomplished. This type of act shouldn’t have success, but thankfully the did. By the closing track of “Sexy Results,” though, the band has exhausted their ideas, and choose to conclude the record with a more sexy, swagger filled track that doesn’t require thrashing about, but rather the ability to showcase how seductive and alluring they can be in going after what they want. There’s really nothing to say anymore regarding how great this record is. Thanks for reading.
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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