Reinterpreting the Girl-Group Sound

February 22nd, 2010

Dum Dum Girls – Mercury Lounge – February 21, 2010

Dum Dum Girls - Mercury Lounge - February 21, 2010

Dum Dum Girls are the handiwork of Kristin Gundred, a.k.a. Dee Dee, and they sound like a West Coast answer to the fuzzed-out pop of the Vivian Girls. After the breakup of Grand Ole Party, Dee Dee returned to her roots to write catchy low-fi guitar pop that was “obsessed with a big chorus. I want everything to sound like a single.” Sounding like the stepdaughters of the Raveonettes—or the original bad girls, the Shangri-Las—Dum Dum Girls have even gone to the length of working with Richard Gottehrer, the man behind the ’60s girl group the Angels’ No. 1 hit, “My Boyfriend’s Back,” for their new album, I Will Be.

Like with the openers, Frankie Rose and the Outs, Dum Dum Girls’ sound is a departure from their classic girl-group garage counterparts. Dum Dum Girls have clearly adopted the idea that less fidelity is more aesthetic on their Captured Tracks EP, favoring a sonic wall of jangly guitar and distorted-harmony vocals that are best served loud.

Last night at Mercury Lounge, Dee Dee belted out her mix of subversion and sugary harmonies on her new single, “Jail La La,” dressed in an ironic, black, huge-sleeved prom dress. “Play with Fire,” a Rolling Stones cover, was reinterpreted by the dressed-in-black quartet, a calculated facade in direct opposition to the candied sweetness of the echo-heavy choir sound. The pairing with Frankie Rose’s new solo project was the perfect lineup. Besides Ms. Rose being a part of both groups, it’s proof there are endless inspired variations in reinterpreting the girl-group garage sound. —Jason Dean

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Macchiarelli |