The time is right for Dum Dum Girls to make their big breakthrough record, and they don’t squander the opportunity with Too Pure. Singer Dee Dee Penny is like the shoegazing version of Chrissie Hynde, turning around a clichÃ© about an irresistible bad boy on “Too True to Be Good” and owning her own leather-and-lace sensitive bad girl image in the delicate “Trouble is My Name.” Richard Gottehrer (the producer behind “My Boyfriend’s Back”) brings the magic he brought to Blondie and The Go-Go's to gleaming new wavers like “Rimbaud Eyes,” while co-producer Sune Rose Wagner’s (of The Raveonettes) effect can be felt on songs like sinister stomper “Cult of Love.” The band’s shimmering guitarwork, Penny’s terrific, breathy vocals and her producers’ ethereal touch come together masterfully on “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” which is like a lost song from a John Hughes movie soundtrack, were it made with the noise pop knowledge gleaned from growing up on Nirvana and Slowdive. Too Pure has bite and sheen in equal doses, leaving lipstick smeared on your heart. You’ll be begging for more.
Crystal Antlers – “We All Gotta Die” (Scientist remix)
Dub legend Scientist has tripped-out the song “We All Gotta Die,” taken from Crystal Antlers’ latest release, the melodically ripping Nothing is Real (available on CD or LP). Hear them play songs from that release at Amoeba Hollywood next Thursday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m.
OFF! – “Void You Out”
Hardcore superground OFF! (including members of Circle Jerks, Burning Brides, Redd Kross and Rocket From the Crypt) have unveiled the first song from their upcoming Wasted Years album, due April 8 on Vice. “Void You Out” has all the qualities we’ve come to expect and appreciate from OFF!—serrated, hooky riffs, shouted vocals and a less-than-two-minute running time.
Folksy duo The Belle Brigade are taking over The Echo’s Tuesday night residency in February, playing free shows every Tuesday night in the month.
The duo, composed of siblings Barbara and Ethan Gruska, released their self-titled debut in 2011 to rapturous acclaim, drawing comparisons to Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel. LA Times’s Randall Roberts said the album had “a dozen California pop gems,” while Newsday critic Glenn Gamboa said they had a “doe-eyed innocence … that makes their sun-kissed ’70s SoCal sound even more appealing.” The band’s second album, Just Because, is due March 25 on ATO. You can preorder the CD or LP from Amoeba now.
The band plays Feb. 4 with A House for Lions and Night Cruise; Feb. 11 with Fell Runner, Juliette Commagere and Syd Arthur; Feb. 18 with Alex Lilly and Clara-Nova; and Feb. 25 with Harriet and WATERS. (Click on each date to RSVP to the shows.) Each show is free and starts at 8:30 p.m.
One of our favorite modern bands, Vivian Girls, are officially breaking up. They'll play two last shows, one of them here in L.A. at Highland Park's new Church on York venue, on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. You can get tickets here. Or if you're in New York, you can see them at Death by Audio March 1; tickets for that show are here. Both shows are all-ages.
I made this Vivian Girls Family Tree a while back to note the myriad other projects that spring from the band. As far as the members of the band go, Cassie Ramone will continue with The Babies, along with Woods' Kevin Morby; Katy Goodman will have a new La Sera album out later this year; and Ali Koehler continues with her new band, Upset. You can read interviews I've done with Goodman and Upset.
Warpaint’s The Fool was a great slow burner of a record, one that grew on you with each successive listen such that it continues to sound great years on. Now, four years later, the ladies of Warpaint return with their long-awaited second record. As is their way, Warpaint unfolds at an unhurried pace, relishing in subtleties with songs whose meanings or melodies you might be able to place right away, but whose impressions lasts much longer than instant gratification-style pop songs. They’re sort of the spiritual successor to the band Slowdive, the shoegaze greats who encountered as much acclaim as derision during their time, due to their milky, washy music, but who have since been ensconced as one of the most beloved bands of the ’90s The effect of Warpaint’s music is similar, washing over you in spurts and leaving streaks. With a band like this, it’s generally tough to name singles or easy entry points, but Warpaint has some moments that stick out, namely “Biggy,” a great, trip hoppy pop song along the lines of Radiohead’s Kid A/Amnesiac period, while “Disco // Very” sees Emily Kokal’s vocals getting distorted and nasty over, yes, a disco beat, recalling some of the disco-rock of the ’00’s, only with a dirtier, dubbier tone. In these songs, Warpaint sees the band stretching their wings a bit, while fans of the first album will find much to love in the album’s dark, atmospheric corners. It’s altogether a fantastic, well-considered second album that proves the rewards of patience.