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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

April 3, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Dum Dum Girls: sunny, with swagger | Concert preview

Dee Dee Penny, leader of Dum Dum Girls (James Orlando)

Dee Dee Penny, leader of Dum Dum Girls (James Orlando)

By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb / Special to The Seattle Times

Frequent KEXP listeners might have noticed that on Friday afternoons, DJ Kevin Cole lays on the rock music pretty thick. It can be punk, grunge, garage, whatever, as long as it’s high energy.

Cole knows that sometimes people get a fever that only good old-fashioned guitar music can cure. Dum Dum Girls know this, too; much of its music could dovetail neatly into Cole’s Friday afternoon sets.

But it’s almost poetic that the group is playing Saturday at Neumos as spring peeks its head out. There is a sunny element to Dum Dum Girls that suits the changing weather.

The band — led by Dee Dee Penny — mixes sparkly textures with an unearthly, dreampop aesthetic — like if you gave Beach House a quad-shot Americano and a swift kick in the rear.

Portland’s even-more-melodic Blouse is opening. Together, the bands should create a night that’s harmonious, but not too chill.

Dum Dum Girls is a derivative band, drawing a lot from the work of Patti Smith and Siouxsie and the Banshees. But spicing up a classic sound and making it your own in the process can be admirable. Think of this band as everything Best Coast fails to be.

The icing on the cake is that Dum Dum Girls has shifted toward a new sound on its most recent record, “Too True.”

Listen to “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” the first single from the newest LP. The spectral tone is still there, but the sunny guitar has been replaced with booming, almost EDM-like drum and bass and soaring synth lines.

This is not a radical sonic reinvention, as The Black Keys did for “El Camino” or Sufjan Stevens did when he went electronic in “Age of Adz,” but it is a welcome addition to a formula that had crystallized on Dum Dum Girls’ first two LPs.

It will be interesting to see how (or if) this tonal shift translates to live performance.

Even if it gets lost in translation, bands like this are always most enjoyable in person. No one gets preoccupied deciding whether or not a band is too derivative when the musicians are tearing it up on stage.

Dum Dum Girls

8 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $15 advance
(206-709-9467 or www.neumos.com).

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "Lost Boys and Girls Club", Concert Preview, Dee Dee Penny


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