Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dum Dum Girls: Into The Gray

Dum Dum Girls
w/Tamaryn, Young Prisms, & Sisu
Echoplex, Los Angeles
18 May 2012
It’s been fascinating to watch the evolution of the Dum Dum Girls, started by Kirstin Gundred, (Dee Dee), as a bedroom project, turning into a tentative performing group, to a kick out the jams band. The recorded progress has evolved to match, with their latest LP, Only In Dreams, (on Sub Pop), capturing the unease of growing up without sacrificing the jangle.  Finding a balance between the two is a trick, and over the course of a night at the Echoplex, that is just what the Dum Dum Girls pulled off.
The set was filled with generous tastes of both their LP’s, starting unevenly with a muddy “Caught In One”, before plunging into the joyously up tempo “He Gets Me High”.  They persevered, and by the time they launched into “Bedroom Eyes”, sound issues were definitely under control, and they finished off the set strongly.
Along with Dee Dee, the band is now comprised of stalwart guitarist Jules, along with Malia James, in for original bassist Bambi, and the irrepressible Sandra Vu, who took over the drum throne from Frankie Rose. Her assertive beat kept things on track all night.
 To their credit, when the encore came, it was treated not as a formality, but full guns blazing as they opened up with “Jail La La”, from I Will Be, followed up with “Teardrops On My Pillow”, and then savaged the remaining faithful with “Coming Down”, an anthem pitched somewhere between Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” and Bob Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”, proving decisively that you can take the ladies out of the garage, but the not the garage out of the ladies.
(below is a nifty cover of the Pale Saints "Sight Of You".)

A generous line of support acts made for a full, rich evening; one can get easily spoiled by four quality bands for $15.  The festivities were started by Sisu, followed by Young Prisms and Tamaryn.
Tamaryn, New Zealand born, San Francisco based singer led a group that turned up the volume considerably, sometimes serving and sometimes overwhelming songs from their debut The Waves, which came out last fall on Mexican Summer.

Young Prisms are a San Francisco based quintet that found a sweet spot of drone amidst the sometimes tricky acoustics of the Echoplex.  Their lush sound was informed by Shoegaze, but not held captive by it.  They were certainly the revelation of the evening.  The newest LP is In Between, on Kanine Records.

Sisu features Sandra Vu, stepping out from behind the kit to lead a sharp four-piece.  Their new EP Demon Tapes, Vol. 2 is hot off the press and available through Bandcamp, (check the widget below the photos).  This is a band you'll be hearing more of soon.

The Dum Dum Girls capped off their L.A. stay with a free show Saturday, May 19 at the Getty Center as part of the “Off The 405” summer concert series.

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