Archive for Brendan Canty

The Triumphant Return Of Deathfix, Or Tales Of Brave Ulysses

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 18, 2013 by johnbuckley100

It was only the return from a ten-day tour, not a Ullysean reunion in Ithaca, but the sense of relief and joy evidenced last night by Deathfix at the Black Cat was as obvious as the band’s enormous talent.  Coming back to D.C., their album available, and with cheers from the road still ringing in their ears, the Deathfix show was both a homecoming and an album release party.  And while both Brendan Canty and Rich Morel were a little ragged of voice, the fact that a young band could perform such intricate songs with beats missed only through premature enthusiasm, shows just how great these guys can be.

Live, it’s clear why Brendan would happily relinquish the stool behind the drum kit to Devin Ocampo.  We knew how aggressively he played from his work with the Mary Timony Band, but well before we got to the best song on Deathfix —  the immortal “Transmission” — Ocampo’s Aynsley Dunbar homage had us transfixed, maybe even deathfixed.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the equation,you would think that Brendan had spent his entire career playing guitar, for he seemed that comfortable doing so.

Seeing the band for the first time after wearing out the hard drive from our iPad listening to their eponymous debut through headphones reveals just precisely who passes off the vocal baton to whom on each song.  We’d sort of figured which song was Brendan’s and which was Rich Morel’s, but we hadn’t realized how vocal responsibilities are like a hot potato thrown from one to the other, within the parameters of various songs.  Yeah, that’s Brendan taking the verse in the radio-worthy “Better Than Bad,” and Rich stepping up with the chorus.  And so forth and so on, with Ocampo and bassist Mark Cisneros all doing their part, or parts.

They played the entire album, and only on the encore did they return with something new — a song called “Porcelain,” which was superb, another one of these multi-part opuses like “Transmission.”  When the newest song played may also be the best song played, high hopes are raised for the next record.

We called them a young band, and obviously by that we mean they haven’t been playing together all that long.  After all, when thanking his former partner in Fugazi, Ian Mackaye, and the crew from Dischord who were there, Brendan declared he’d been on the label for 31 years.  That’s a long time, not just for record-label monogamy, but to be playing music professionally.  And yeah, these guys are pros — adults with roots in punk rock and power pop, dance and hard rock, who somehow can concoct a prog nod to ’70s acts as disparate as 10cc and Big Star and pull it off.

It was a triumphant homecoming.  May they leave and return, leave and return, for years to come.

You Can Finally Get Your Deathfix, And Man, They Take It All The Way

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , on February 26, 2013 by johnbuckley100

We had February 19th circled on our calendar ever since Spin glommed “Transmission,” a magnificent early cut from the first Deathfix album, and streamed it on their site.  But even though we hit refresh on our iTunes about a dozen times last Tuesday, it only was released today.  Fortunately, those nice people at NPR let us stream the whole album all week, so we haven’t exactly been waitin’ for our man.  We may have set new records for streaming a single album, but we sure got our Deathfix, and as of today we finally have a renewable supply, and can take it to the limit.

And that’s the worry, for now that we have our own copy of Deathfix coursing through our headphones, we find the whole album is such a crystalline mound of glittering goodness, we could listen to it over and over until we emerge from the room —  if we were to emerge — looking like an R. Crumb character. It’s that good.

Much has been made of the opener, “Better Than Bad” sounding like a Big Star track.  Right era, but maybe the wrong band.  It seems built less on proto-power pop than on George Harrison’s “What Is Life.”  But placing the context from which Deathfix emerges is important, given how much the band confounds expectations.  With musicians who have roots in Fugazi, Bob Mould’s solo career, and D.C. secrets like The Mary Timony Band, who would have imagined there is a late ’60s/early ’70s prog sophistication at work here, that in a song like “Transmission” we can imagine Joe Boyd producing a Traffic session.  The musicians are virtuosi, even when you realize that singer/guitarist Brendan Canty isn’t playing the drums, which he did so magnificently for Fugazi, but instead has embarked on the same path as Chris Mars and Grant Hart and, yeah, Dave Grohl before him, going from behind the drum kit to the front of the stage.

It all works, as an incredibly catchy set of updated 10cc songs, as a staggeringly sophisticated first album made by adults who know their way around the studio, but haven’t lost a scintilla of wonder about just what can be accomplished with guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards.  This may seem far afield, but the only contemporary band that to us seems to be fishing with the same tackle is White Denim, and by that we mean a band that completely understands how uncool it is to play music with such a knowing understanding of pre-punk rock sophistication, and then they just go ahead’n’blow everyone away with the power of their songs, their incredible musicianship.  Resistance is futile.

Despite the dance club vibe of “Dali’s House,” this is a cerebral album, clever and beautiful (at times) without being emotional.  It sounds like it was made by a band as well-synced as The Soundtrack of Our Lives, but of course, they’ve only been playing together for a matter of months.  Our humble belief is that Deathfix could be the biggest band ever to emerge from D.C. — we mean commercially viable and huge — and wouldn’t that be ironic, given Brendan’s roots in Fugazi?  Richly deserved though, right, to have a nice guy finish first?  Whether or not we’re right — we’re usually not, when it comes to predicting who’s going to be huge — Deathfix has produced a first album that we pray is just the kickoff to many more.  You can start your 2013 Top 10 list scorecard now.  Maybe you can even put down your pen.

Omigod, The Deathfix Song Released Today Is Amazing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 9, 2013 by johnbuckley100

We wish we were excited about the Bowie release yesterday.  We’d like to be, but the song’s kinda dull, id’nit?  But “Transmission,” the new track released by Brendan Canty and Richard Morel’s Deathfix is nothing short of astounding.  We’d love to tell you the saga of how Brendan got from powering Fugazi from behind the skins to a song that sounds like Joe Boyd capturing the Incredible String Band jamming with Traffic in Syd Barrett’s basement, but we don’t yet know it.  You wait here, we’ll find out.

Wow!

Check it out here, courtesy of Spin.

Album is out February 19.  We count the days on fingers, toes, and the digits of friends.

Brendan Canty’s Recommendations On Some Good Fugazi Shows To Download

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 9, 2011 by johnbuckley100

We asked Brendan Canty, who powered Fugazi from behind the drum kit for all those years, which might be the best pre-1998 sets to download.  We’ve been gorging on the shows from around 2000, both because we loved the set lists, and also in the belief that the sound would be better, as by then everything was recorded on DAT, not simply cassettes.  So we wanted to know, from the 500 or more shows recorded prior to ’98 that one could download from the Dischord site, what did someone who was there think were the better ones.  Here’s what Brendan had to say:

I’ve made a quick list here of shows here that I remember fondly, though I’ve not listened to
them yet for quality’s sake, so it may be a crapshoot.

Download Jun 28, 1992 Berlin, Germany Tempodrome

one of our best shows ever I think, if memory serves me well.
in a circus tent.  I think Christo had the Reichstag wrapped right next door.
Download Aug 28, 1993 Kansas City, KS USA Memorial Hall
In which the boys get a gun pulled on them by wired KC promoters over a ticket surcharge dispute.
listen for the aggro exchanges and the lights being shut off.
Also, soundman gets cigar put out on forehead by same goon.
Download Jul 01, 1997 Dunedin New Zealand Room
In which our love for Dunedin indie pop bands springs forth good will.
Download Jan 25, 1992 Los Angeles, CA USA Hollywood Palladium
the second nights are always better.
Download Oct 26, 1996 Tokyo Japan Guilty
Great gear makes for great shows…sometimes.  And I love japan.
I’ll try to listen to these and see if I’m way off mark.
__
We’ve listened.  He’s not off the mark.  Great shows, and great sounding recordings, cassette or not. Click on the dates to go straight to the Dischord site.
BTW, Brendan’s band Deathfix is playing Comet tomorrow night, for those in DC with a hankering for pizza, ping pong, and rock’n’roll, and are at the Black Cat on Wednesday, December 14th.
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