Friday, September 11, 2009

West Georgian column: The West Coast Vivian Girls?

Artist: Dum Dum Girls
Title: Yours Alone 12" E.P.
Label: Captured Tracks
Release date: 2009

Lo-fi indie rock is not in, but it should be thanks to the efforts of Dum Dum Girls on their “Yours Alone” E.P., released by Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks record label.

Little can be found online about Los Angeles’ Dum Dum Girls, except that the group is the brainchild of a lady known simply as Dee Dee. Artists not revealing their last name are pretty common and likely are an extension of punk rock’s opposition to building heroes and legends through popular music.

This four song E.P., the follow-up to the group’s debut single on Chicago’s Hozac Records, combines great lyrics with post-rock sounds that should make the listener anxious for Dum Dum Girls’ future releases with indie giant Sub Pop Records.

The first song, “Catholicked,” is the real gem, as it is a well-constructed diatribe against religion. Moments into the song, Dee Dee will make you realize the beautifully blasphemous line “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” has the same punch it had when legendary punk poet Patti Smith introduced the line to our vernacular over 30 years ago or when some Crass fan decided to commercialized the line and put it on a t-shirt.

If you grew up around religion and later grew to resent it, you’ll be saying “amen” with Dee Dee. If you are pro-religion, then this condemnation of Catholicism might help you understand folks on the other side of the fence. Either way, this song serves more social purpose than the typical dance tune about how much money some guy has or what all he plans on doing with a girl.

“Hey Sis” is more about guitar work and Dee Dee’s memorable voice than socially relevant lyrics, but it, too, is a keeper. It’s the type of song that is beautiful under the surface, though the beauty is buried under a couple of layers of guitars and echoes.

The flipside starts with “Sock In It,” a slow-driving tune where the only decipherable line among the mire is “You Talk Too Much.” It’s slow-driving in an entrancing way and is certainly not boring.

This release ends with the title track, “Yours Alone.” This one is surprisingly upbeat and borrows from pop music without compromising the band’s sound. It might be the best Dum Dum Girls song to play for your friends if they’ve never heard this group before.

The band will hit the road in late October with King Khan and BBQ Show, arguably the best garage-punk band in the world. Based on YouTube, Dum Dum Girls have performed live as a band featuring members of Blank Dogs, Crystal Stilts, and The Crocodiles. Regardless of who will be in the band, they are not scheduled to come to Atlanta, which is a shame.

Dum Dum Girls could easily be the West Coast equivalent of Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls someday. They have the talent, and now that they have signed to Sub Pop, a label made famous by Nirvana, they will have more than enough exposure.

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