Wow. Last night’s Dum Dum Girls record release party was awesome. It really brought me back to being in college, going to goth clubs with low stages in dark and sketchy restaurants, and being blown away by bands that are not only great but otherworldly. Too good to walk on this boring earth. But life isn’t necessarily that dull, is it? My week in shows started out last Saturday at in Little Tokyo with Money Mark, Ashley Dzerigian, and Fredo Ortiz playing a short but rad set at the opening of Giant Robot Biennale 3.
You’d expect the opposite in a party setting, but the set started loose (a tweaked take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” in honor of the Endeavor piggybacking over SoCal the day before and “Home on the Range” sung by a puppet for the kids) and ended tight (my favorite song of his, “Sneaky People”). It was cool to catch up with the longtime friend of GR and meet Fredo after being a fan of his drumming with the Beastie Boys, Los Lobos, etc. And I’ll totally be looking out for more gigs by the effortlessly cool bassist Ashley as well.
I try to take Eloise to a lot of shows, and she was stoked to visit Sandy (who I interviewed for GR68) and Jules from the Dum Dum Girls just a few days after meeting Money Mark. Eloise, her cousin Lucia, and I were the first ones in line for the in-store at Origami. On the sidewalk we had a picnic, the girls drew crayon fliers to give to the band, and then they wrestled me. Somehow, the girls actually lasted for two-and-a-half hours without imploding and we got a great space in front where the girls could see one of their favorite bands for a third time (following Amoeba and The Getty).
I really appreciate how the Dum Dums keep cranking out new music and expanding their sound, not only releasing albums on a regular basis but EPs in between. So many bands just crawl along or do the same thing–and sometimes they’re great at it–but it’s a real joy to see the Dum Dum Girls grow before my eyes, evolving from cool-but-limited garage rock to this refined-yet-dynamic rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut without sacrificing an iota of heart or style.
It was extra rad to hear the new songs in a live setting first, bring home the vinyl for follow-up listening, and then revisit the live versions again just a couple days later. Yes, the older songs sound greater than ever. No, it didn’t suck for Eloise and Lucia to hear shout-outs from Dee Dee and Sandy after the set for their fliers.
The next evening, I was invited by my friend Dustin Wong to see him open for Beach House at The Wiltern. I met Dustin when I interviewed his old band Ponytail for Giant Robot mag and we’ve kept in touch. We never got to run a Perfect Day (his camera got stolen) or interview his mom (Blythe kingpin), but I have followed his solo career, which has taken off. His loop-making, knob-turning, trip-inducing solo guitar style is awesome, and really filled up the huge Art Deco venue. The audience around us had no idea who he was in the beginning, but were won over by his hypnotic and soulful mix of experimentation and riffs.
As for Beach House, there’s a reason why they sold out two nights at the huge, historic venue. Their songs are sad and pretty, with ethereal vocals and experimental guitars that create a lovely yet challenging texture that young lovers can make out to and equipment dorks can debate. That they can pull it off such a delicate and nuanced sound live blows me away.
Dustin was pretty busy running around town with his old bandmates during the day, but I got to hang out with him for a few minutes after the show and hopefully he’ll be back on the road soon. If you’re going to see Beach House sometime on the rest of the tour, don’t miss his set.
Which brings us to last night’s Dum Dum Girls record release show at Los Globos. Sadly, the lights were too dark when Dunes opened so I didn’t get any decent shots of their cool set, but the Dum Dums were truly inspired in the fairly small, sweaty, ex-dance club with a low stage and even lower ceilings. The rapidly growing band can only be contained by such intimate shows for awhile, so enjoy this time while you can. That means you, New Yorkers, who will also get to see them play a record store and small club in the next couple of days.
Next up: Meat Puppets at Track 16
if I RSVPed in time…