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October 12, 2011

Thoughts on Dum Dum Girls ‘Only in Dreams’

by @thoughtontracks

For many years, friends have relied on me as the music guy and constantly asked me the question of “What music should I be listening to right now.”  While humbly embracing this distinction, I have been left mildly insane. This question drove me crazy. It was like a persistent sliver of Indiana Oak between my left toe, sock, and Converse.  I am the executioner and enjoy delivering on the spot, but this constant thorn in my side left me thinking: “I am really into 11 bands right now, how do I pick just a few? “They know I am not just listening to buzz bands, are they searching for a deeper answer?” “Is there any way I can track the music I have been listening to the past 10 business days and send a report in .xls format?” Feeling exhausted, I search for easy remedies. Then stories like this form and make my job easier.  I wish the Dum Dum Girls directly reported to me…they would make me look like the best manager of all time.

San Pedro-based, Sup Pop-backed, beach chicks Dum Dum Girls delivered their second full-length album this September with Only in Dreams. The production quality is astounding and takes all the yummy elements of their first release, I Will Be and bakes them out to deliver a delicious touch of sweetness.  This makes sense though right?  This album was produced by song-writer Richard Gottehrer who crafted such classics as “I Want Candy” and “My Boyfriend’s Back.”  It is my best guess that if the Dum Dum Girls were in formation in 1963 Gottehrer would of subbed them in for Smash Records’ trio The Angels. Dee Dee Penny would have entered with her howling guitar and The Angels would have cut a double. 4 chicks v. 3? I will take the numbers.

The Dum Dum Girls are one of those bands this year that has accomplished tremendous things in the indie-rock scene and established themselves in a way that make it easy for me to tell all my readers that you should be listening to them right now.  No Brainer.  During my “Best Cover Songs of 2011” post, I slated their interpretation of The Smiths “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” as the best cover song of the year.  I confidently gave them this honor because this was not just a cover song I liked, it was more than that. It was song that I really liked.  Dum Dum Girls carried this sense of establishment onto their latest LP Only in Dreams and have sold me on their sound. Hook, line, and sinker – I am mesmerized and California dreaming. The Dum Dum Girls shine the summer sun in the fall. Aligning the timing with their geographic location was never their thing – that is why I dig on them.

The first song I heard from this glorious record was “Coming Down.” It was the first track of theirs that hit the blogsphere and I was hearing a different Dum Dum Girls.  At first I had to take a step back and reflect.

This was a band I really enjoyed but they were simple.  They offered me the luxury to listen to a group of girls beat out songs about heartbreak on their electric guitars. I knew the Dum Dum Girls as a band that delivered simple songs that were easy, quick, and exciting. They owned a special spot in my listening experience – so simple that I underestimated them.

Coming Down” provided such a powerful impression that I was taken aback.  I had no idea these girls had the capabilities to deliver a song that spanned 6 minutes and 30 seconds. It sounded nothing like them, and was still able to attract my attention.  After I got use to this song the Dum Dum Girls had me on a platter.  The meat and potatoes of the Dum Dum Girls were the next course and all I can say is MAN ‘O MAN! “Bedroom Eyes” is the hottest song going right now and rightfully so.  It is so catchy, so “My Boyfriend’s Back”, so Dum Dum Girls.  This song has the potential to rise above great tracks such as M83’s “Midnight City”, Cults’ “You Know What I Mean”, Cold Cave’s “Confetti” and SBTRK’s “Wildfire” to become my favorite song of 2k11.  Only time will tell, but it owns a longboard that is being driven straight into my heart.  “Wasted Away” backs out the lower end of the album and lines like “I would rather waste away then see you only in dreams” resonate with me.

The Dum Dum Girls are not controversial and they continue to find ways to extend their sound.  I appreciate these gals because of their authenticity and willingness to take chances. Although the problem will never be completely solved, at least I can thank The Dum Dum Girls for providing me an easy response to questions for at least the next 6 months.  Wishful thinking, right? Only in Dreams.

Written by Brett McGrath.

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