A dark, musical storm has slowly been brewing in D.C. ever since 2009, when former Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty started getting together with DJ and producer Rich Morel (the other half of Bob Mould’s popular dance night, Blowoff) to collaborate on new material.
With the addition of Devin Ocampo (Medications, Faraquet, Smart Went Crazy) and Mark Cisneros (Medications), the outfit eventually became a full-fledged rock band, taking on the odd, intimidating name Deathfix and playing short tours and occasional shows around town. The band’s music — both rainy and thunderous — finally opened up to a wider audience over the past week when its debut album, due out Feb. 26, began streaming on both CBC in Canada and NPR here in the States.
Fans familiar with Canty’s previous work may be surprised to hear some of the clear ’70s influences on “Deathfix,” an album replete with subtle musical references to Love and Queen. It’s more rock than punk, and Canty’s vocal swagger veers more toward Tom Waits than Johnny Rotten.
As a mature album in the classic sense, it mercifully doesn’t sound old or tired, a feat accomplished in part by noticeably crisp production and vibrant harmonies. Last week, the band released a video for its first single, “Better Than Bad.” Legendary BMX biker Mat Hoffman, a longtime friend of Canty’s, put together a stunt-filled video for the track, which quickly snagged a post on ESPN.
If you dig the tunes, mark your calendar for March 17, when Deathfix plays the last show of their late winter tour at Black Cat for $10.