Album Review: Dum Dum Girls-Too True

There are a whole bunch of things in this world that are too true, by which I mean hard truths that are undeniable. Those warts on your genitals aren’t going away. You will never win the affection of your father through your amateur post-modern theatre troupe. Things will always taste better when slammed between two slices of bread. These are facts, things that are too true to even begin to deny. Seriously, try to find an exception to these rules of life, and when you’re confined to a hospital from the insanity you’ve been driven to because of this, you can thank me.

Another thing that is ‘too true’ is that the Dum Dum Girls cannot suck. Look at their previous efforts of 2010’s ‘I Will Be’ and 2011’s ‘Only In Dreams’. The super-dooper trooper that is Dee Dee Penny aka Head Honcho at DDG & Co. utilised a blend of 70’s garage and 60’s power-pop charm on those records, and the result was an indefinite sighing of pleasure from the listener.

But with the new album, ‘Too True’ showcases Dee Dee’s affection with the New Wave. After all, where would society be without the records of Blondie, David Bowie and Talking Heads? Smooth, slick and revelling in the post-modern, New Wave represented that shying away from the hyperbolically testosterone scene that was the joke of punk at this point. When every slightly pissed off kid is picking up a guitar, only to sound like a shitty version of Dead Boys, someone had to step in and revert the direction of music.

That’s what the Dum Dum Girls have accomplished. If they’d produced another album of fun and irreverent garage-pop, they probably would’ve burst their own bubble. But by transporting themselves into the scenery and themes of New Wave, The Dum Dum Girls manage to carry on their legacy, as well as show they aren’t the one-trick pony that can only pull off a simple trick.

The result is a super-shiny, slightly dangerous and overtly pop exhibition of refurbished New Wave tunes. Most of the songs are pulled off with a flair and lushness that would make Nico swear off music because Dum Dum Girls were too good. Check-mate occurs early in the album, on the third track ‘Rimbaud Eyes’. If you didn’t believe me when I expressed that Dum Dum Girls had made an album with sheen, then I’m as disappointed as Martin is with Charlie and Emilio. Shame! ‘Rimbaud Eyes’ brings the Debbie Harry hard and fast to the front, that glittering dirty pop becoming a steadfast musical theme of the album.

The attention for the album doesn’t stop at ‘Rimbaud Eyes’. ‘Too True’ provides plenty of other 80’s name drops, from ABBA-meets-The Human League on ‘Too True To Be Good’, Depeche Mode on ‘Lost Boys and Girls Club’ and even a little bit of Patti Smith popping up on ‘Are You OK’.

But still, even with all these major influences rearing their heads, Dum Dum Girls remain defiantly modern. Dee Dee takes her newfound influences of Bowie and Harry, drops off The Zombies in the recycling bin, and then sprinkles all these modern touches of swelling guitar and danger-pop. And her voice! Fuck that voice will make angels cry!

Overall, Dum Dum Girls retain their position at the top of  the new-school weird girl groups. Whilst Vivian Girls passed on and Beach House dulled down, Dum Dum Girls continue to evolve and push their sound, whilst retaining all they hold dear: influences and the ability to write a damn catchy pop song.

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New: Thigh Master + Shaking Hell + Petty Things + Dum Dum Girls + Diveliner

So many tunes, so little time. What a shitty, cliched introduction. Fuck it, we’ll do it live.

 

Thigh Master-Goon Punch

Thigh Master are from Brisbane, so you know they’re tough as fucking nails. All is pretty much confirmed when you’ve got a song entitled ‘Goon Punch’, an all too common experience had by every teenage boy soon after sculling four litres of pure demon piss. Musically, Thigh Master are awesome. They sound like a strung-out, tired-of-your-shit Archers of Loaf, hidden behind a couple of layers of badass fuzz.

If you’re free on the 25th of January, make sure you head out to The Clarence Hotel, because Thigh Master are going to play ‘Goon Punch’ and a bunch of other sick tracks. Ruined Fortune (!), Beef Jerk and Video Ezy play support.

 

Shaking Hell-I’m Not Your Friend

Remember that Frenzal Rhomb track ‘You Are Not My Friend’? Well this song from Melbourn’es Shaking Hell is nothing like that. Its way more furious, and it burrows into your brain within a millisecond of the first chords erupting. It’s a friendly sort of evil, like South Park’s version of Satan, and you can’t help but let ‘I’m Not Your Friend’ invade your blood stream, forcing every fibre of your body into a dangerous state of punk overload. Shaking Hell are a band that demand to be moshed to, and who the fuck are you to deny them of that?

Shaking Hell are playing what is guaranteed to be one of the best shows of the year at Blackwire Records on January 18th, with Yes, I’m Leaving (!), Narrows Lands (!) and Palmer Grasp. If that sort of lineup doesn’t make you sopping in the loin areas, you’re fucked mate.

 

Petty Things-Bored

This is a song by a band from Arizona. Cool. The songs about a bunch of kids who are walkin’ down the street and kill a dude for shits and giggles, because they were bored. Now we’re talking!

‘Bored’ reminds me of those fuzz bands that popped up around California around the time Wavves first started getting popular. There’s a definite slacker/punk vibe to these guys. Like, they want to rebel against their parents and go to that White Fang show….but there’s a bong just out of arms reach, and that is definitely the more pressing issue here. Hey, we’ve all been there. Now, go get this fucking song, because it’s rad.

 

Dum Dum Girls-Rimbaud Eyes

Although the first single off the new Dum Dum Girls was pretty meh, but this new one is way more to my liking. It’s so 80’s, you’d think that the Dum Dum Girls was a culmination of the Psychedelic Furs and Debbie Harry. Seriously, the icy waves of New Wave are so prominent here, you’d think that the Dum Dum Girls’ record collections were solely made up of New York synth artists and The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ 12″ single. If Lou Reed were still around right now, I feel that he’d be obsessed with this song, and that’s enough for me.

 

Diveliner-Vìda

Wanna listen to King Krule, but scared that you’re friends will all yell at you for jumping on the hipster bandwagon? All you have to do is listen to Diveliner, the most perfect replication of King Krule’s nu-jazz to date. The song ‘Vìda’ is pure perfection, a slow-moving sex-jam that rolls around the brain like a caramel sundae drizzled in Beyonce’s perfume. Its so goddamn smooth, it’d put an event of Drake songs as sung by Ray Charles to shame. Everything about this song is near perfect, from the glossy guitar strokes, to the computer blips and saxophone love-making horns. Layer that underneath one of the soon-to-be-declared ‘best voices of 2014’ and its a recipe for success.

 

Album Review: Bloods-This Town/Into My Arms

Do you have any idea what it’s like to hold the very first output of a new Australian label? Forget holding a newborn baby, this shit goes deeper, waaaaay deeper. No, caressing Teenage Values’ debut release in my pudgy, mishappen fingers is akin to hanging out with Jesus for me. With recent releases including cassettes from Wax Witches and Step Panther, and Wax Witches’ debut album on vinyl and CD, Teenage Values’ can only go upwards, a fantastic fucking start from the label.

Anyway, onto the release, or TV-001 (I have a small shiver down my spine every time I see those words). The tape in question is a limited edition from Sydney local garage fun-lovers Bloods. With a name like Bloods it would be easy to assume that it’s your weird cousin’s heavy metal band that want to be Slayer so badly but end up more like Michael Buble with scraming. But instead, Bloods pack more fun loving, irreverent garage pop into their 2 minute tracks than Ball Park Music on pixie dust, and way less annoying. No, Bloods are more straightforward than anything that comes to the dirtiest mind. All they want to do is bash their instruments, twirl their voices in childish glee, and hopefully impress you, which they will, because it’s fucking Bloods.

Side One is actually a treat to listen to, two original tracks, and two covers. Opening with ‘This Town‘ it’s a bashed out, hurried track, attitude curving an awesome path harder than Tony Abbott carves the image of a dickhead. It’s little ooo-wah-wah-oooo’s give it a 60’s surfie vibe that I didn’t even know I missed until I heard it. The diverse covers of The Premiers ‘Farmer John’ and (holy shit) Sugababes ‘Freak Like Me’ are executed in style, with the Sugababes cover taking surprising superiority in tone and execution. I never would have thought that I’d take late 90’s contrived girl pop over some classic 60’s psych-garage, but Bloods have managed to prove me wrong. 

They come off as a less uptight Sleater-Kinney, with garage-ness turned up to 11, Spinal Tap style, as ‘Into My Arms’ will attest. It’s impossible, literally impossible not to bop your head up and down and all around whilst Bloods play that jam. It harks in and out, a dance floor gem, like Calvin Harris’ cooler younger sister. The chorus even gets a little Dum Dum Girls, that’s how attractive and flower-poppy a track it is. To ensure they are the kings and queens of cool, they slide into a Spanish bopper ‘My Luchador’, and ‘Turn Blue’ and ‘That’s OK’ are absolute pearler little tracks that never flounder for a moment. The bass thumps, the drums reverberate, and the guitars bounce of the vocals creating a small but powerful tornado of sound straight from the 60’s. 

With it’s trickling font, gaping wide mouth and intimidating name, Bloods doesn’t seem like the most delectable band for lovers of reminiscing of 1969 California beaches and trying to answer the age old question of what would The Beach Boys sound like if they came out in 1977? Bloods politely answer that question with a racket of irresistible, drippy garage pop, straight from the hometown of Sydney. Congratulations Teenage Values on picking up one of the Sydney’s best bands. GOLD COAST SCUM!

You can pick up the cassette only on Teenage Values website for $9

You can pick up a shitload of Bloods tracks, including ‘Turn Blue’ and ‘Like A Diamond’ for FREE on their Bandcamp. 

You can catch them playing on the Sydney leg of Dig It Up!, The Hoodoo Gurus curated Festival, and various dates playing support for The Rubens.