Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

How rad is it to have a friend who started her own shoe company? How rad is it that she would release a kick-ass Dinosaur Jr. shoe that comes with a 7″ picture disc of J Mascis covering Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”? Hot damn! I had to ask Una Kim for more details about this shoe and how it came to be.

MW: I have no doubt people are going to listen to the record, which is a real dream. Do you expect to see guys out in the streets wearing the shoes or are they more like collectibles?
UK: I hope so, though purple is a bold color. I appreciate collectors–some of my closest friends are mega collectors–but I’ve always liked seeing Keeps on the streets. To each his or her own. I know I will wear mine. I hope collectors will buy one to wear and one to save, like they’d do with magazines or records. Keep one sealed! Since all net proceeds benefit the humanitarian work of Amma, J’s guru, it all goes to a good cause.

MW: How did you approach J about the project? Did he require much convincing?
UK: My awesome friend Tiffany Anders connected me with J. She brought him over to a BBQ at my house and it all went pretty easily from there. I am really grateful to Tiffany because this project, in particular, has a lot of meaning for me. Getting the chance to collaborate with Dinosaur Jr. is a like a dream come true, and when I listened to the test pressing of the 7″ I almost cried. These kinds of projects really make me feel stoked and appreciative.

MW: What was the collaborative process like? Did you run options by him? Did he throw ideas your way?
UK: J knew exactly what he wanted. His favorite color is purple so that was pretty clear from the start. And he liked this Guitar Strap Ramos that we had made in a previous season, so he got ideas from that design which ended up as an embroidery along the back of the shoe that was inspired by his own guitar strap. The shoe is very, very much a reflection of J.

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Old friends, new bands! I closed out Thanksgiving weekend by seeing Mayuko and Tsuzumi Okai from The Binges in their new group (above) but first things first. I finally got around to catching Dum Dum Girls drummer Sandy in the outfit that she fronts, SISU, on Friday at The Satellite. Along with fellow Dum Dum Jules and friends Ryan, Nathanael, and Chris, Sandy’s “other” band is psychedelic, dark, and gorgeous. It’s way heavier than DDG and also more Goth and complex with its swirling textures and sounds. There are five people in the band for a reason, and the heavy instrumentation supports the ethereal vocals of Sandy insanely well. I bought a hand-stenciled and spray-painted EP to go with my splattered 7″ single and can’t wait to give it a spin. Check ‘em out at the Casbah tonight or Constellation Room tomorrow night if you can. The headliner was Colleen Green, who was practically the opposite of SISU with her ultra stripped-down sound of natural vocals, raw bass, and drum machine. Combine the sincerity of Beat Happening with the lo-fi experimental sound of Blackbird (post Rank & File, Dils) and put sunglasses on it, and you’re getting close to Colleen’s sound. She showed a great sense of humor about her icy cool demeanor by closing her set with a Corey Hart cover. The Okai sisters’ previous band, The Binges, recalled the rock ‘n’ roll spirit of the Cathouse scene of the ’80s. Their newer group, Boost is as ripping as ever but heavier and more influenced by ’70s hessian grooves like Sabbath or Deep Purple. All new songs and all new riffs but there’s still nothing like seeing Mayuko and Tsuzumi dueling on their axes. I don’t know anything about the new singer or drummer (yet) but the band rules and you gotta check them out when you can. More details to come in this blog, for sure. Sunday night’s show at King King was part of the New Years World Rock Festival, which is being shot in five countries and will be shown in Japan. The headlining band showcased finger-tapping bass master Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, UFO, MSG, David Lee Roth, Steve Vai) in a jam band with Mayuko, Eric Dover (Jellyfish, Slash’s Snakepit), and Ray Luzier (9.0, David Lee Roth, Korn). They played masterful, ripping covers from Led Zep to Deep Purple, with Tsuzumi jumping in for the final song. This top-shelf rock ‘n’ roll was intended to help tsunami victims in Japan but felt pretty excellent for us in the crowd, too.
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Dum Dum Girls at Los Globos by Ben Clark (September 27, 2012)

I mentioned that last week’s Dum Dum Girls gigs in L.A. were record release shows, right? And that I purchased the EP after their in-store at Origami, listened to it repeatedly, and then saw them again at Los Globos two nights later? I’ve often debated whether it’s better to hear new songs live or on your record player and now I know. The correct answer is BOTH.

Here’s a rundown on some new and upcoming releases that I’ve been digging. Click the links if you have time and, better yet, see the bands if you can.

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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.

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If you read this blog, you’ve probably gathered that I fully advocate supporting bands by purchasing records from merch table, cool shops, or the labels themselves. Downloading free MP3s is strictly for bootlegs, demos, and so on. But I have no qualms about attending free shows–especially ones that I can take my four-year-old daughter to. And what could be better than a trip to see one of Eloise’s three favorite groups (Dum Dum Girls) at one of her favorite places (The Getty)?

The Dum Dums kicked off the museum’s free Saturday evening concerts two weekends ago with a full set of dreamy, goth-y, garage-y rock. The band has been touring in support of its excellent second album with its extra lush sound for a while now. So of course they sound as great as ever, but there are extra hints at showmanship this time around. Members step up, back, and converge in the middle of the stage. New bassist Malia fits right in, and Eloise and her cousins rocked out nonstop after the sun went down and the volume turned up. So rad to get an hour-long fix in such a setting, and Eloise even got a heads-up from her Facebook/Instagram fans Sandy and Dee Dee. Gotta find out when Sandy returns to town for a Fiore date, and keep checking the Getty’s Saturdays Off the 405 schedule as the summer goes on.

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