Death Kit is a band formed in response. To a Los Angeles indie rock scene too witheringly lazy to pursue the potential and precision of electronica. To a dance music culture that’s chained to its laptops and bereft of its original sex and violence. To the cigarette-jeaned maw in their neighborhood of Echo Park who don’t take a certain joy in the craven niceness and seasonless daze of their hometown at the end of the world.
First formed in the top floor of a 1920’s studio apartment in Koreatown populated by end-times Christians and an unnerving cast of constantly-dying fellow tenants, August Brown jacked the title of a Susan Sontag novel and began producing sleek, melancholy, pop-damaged disco as Death Kit in 2008. The rules were such: immediate melodies; gender-curious vocals; acidic lyrics about paying for sex and faking love; a relentless four-on-the-floor kick and arrangements that clawed at the edges of dancefloor sugar, creepy ambience and outright noise. Kompakt Records, LCD Soundsystem, My Bloody Valentine and HEALTH/DISCO allusions followed, more-or-less accurately.
Friends filled the live instrument gaps, including guitarist/vocalist Terry Case and bassist Jessica Gelt. August played drums and sang for their first show at Silver Lake’s Club Spaceland in October of 2009 and the next ten after. Indie kids got weirded out by the laptop; dance kids flinched at the blatant hooks and violent guitars. And then they didn’t.
Death Kit worked alongside collaborators including Tom Biller (Kanye West, Liars, Warpaint), Dave Cooley (Silversun Pickups, J. Dilla, These New Puritans) and Lucian Walker (pick a major pop singer in L.A.). They cut a video for their first single “I Can Make You Love Me” with director John Christopher Pina (Kanye, John Legend, Common), starring a depressed werewolf. Chad Matheny soon took over on drums, followed by second guitarist Whitney Blank, and now Death Kit pair the crush of a limber five-piece rock band with the swirl and thrum of live electronica. Death Kit has played alongside Rough Trade’s Pantha Du Prince, Domino’s Max Tundra, Warp’s PVT, Cascine’s Evan Voytas and many more. Outlets including L.A.’s tastemaking radio station 89.9 KCRW, Buzzbands.la, L.A. Record, Rawkblog.net
, Angeleno Magazine, Beatcrave.com
, Style Section L.A., Passion of the Weiss and others have said very kind things.
“Devadasi” is Death Kit’s first single for Fort Lowell Records. There are shards of Liquid Liquid, Arvo Part, Sade and Basic Channel in it. A “devadasi” is a young woman conscripted into prostitution in the service of a Hindu deity. The B-side is a remix of “I Can Make You Love Me” by Fort Lowell peers and Tucsonan fellow-travelers …music video?.
Yes, August has a day job some of you may be familiar with, and he briefly played guitar for Fort Lowell’s Tracy Shedd when he was a teenager. Yes, Jessica and Whitney are in another Fort Lowell band, Wet & Reckless. No, you have not seen or heard anything like this in Los Angeles, or anywhere.
Previous Press Accolades for Death Kit
"What does the best synthpop song of the year sound like? Press play and find out." - Rawkblog.net
““Forlorn yet effective lyrics paired with firm, romantic guitar chords and earth shattering synth lines in songs such as “Devadasi” and “I Can Make You Love Me” made melancholy shockingly danceable.” - Beatcrave.com
“The bedroom answer to Friendly Fires. There’s subterfuge beneath Death Kit’s sheen. Is this the next great stalker anthem?” - Buzzbands.la