HAUNTED HEARTS-Initiation.

26 03 2014

 

 

How I’m supposed to not be biased when writing this review is beyond me. I’m unsure how to detach myself from the love I have for Crocodiles and Dum Dum Girls in order to write something that make sense. But, I’m not proper music publication so I guess I can say what I want and be as biased as I like.

Firstly, this record sounds NOTHING like I was expecting. It’s really really odd and it feels like David Bowie and Jason Pierce got it on, and made something truly mind-blowing. I mean, of course this record is going to be perfect you know? That’s because both front two of the best bands around (and most hardworking.) If you look at DDG and Crocs tour schedule, you’ll probably be left wondering when they have time to think let alone sleep. But you don’t get to be the greatest band around by sitting on your tush.

Initiation makes you feel like you’re in space and on acid. I’ve never been to space nor have I have ever dropped acid (or any other drug, but I don’t hold militant views.) Being sent the promo is pretty much the highlight of my week, and no doubt I will be playing this all the way to Brussels this weekend. It’s got a spacey European feel to it. It’s just an excellent record from start to finish.

It opens with the seductive Initiate Me; and I’m sure if the likes of Alfred de Musset, Baudelaire and the rascal that was, Marquis De Sade were still alive they’d probably be listening to this record and fully enjoying the seductive nature of this record. What is brilliant about the record is that, it sounds nothing like their own bands. Go into it blind and pretend you’ve never heard of either band to really get this record.

The record was made in the winter of 2012. All they had for company was themselves, books, Motown and Krautrock. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this. If anything it would be quite heavenly. There’s a lot of love, lust and desire on this record. It’s beautifully perverse at times, and if you can’t be decadent in your art then what is the point?

I really love Dee Dee’s voice on Love Incognito; her voice has a bit more bite to it than on a DDG record, but her distinctive sound remains throughout. She’s got the kind of voice you wish you had, she truly shines on this song. You can’t help but wish you witnessed some of the recordings of this record. Love Incognito is probably going to be the song that I’ll play to death before moving onto the final song, Bring Me Down.

Bring Me Down is a gentle love song that is just 5 and a half minutes of Brandon’s voice really getting to you. What I truly love about this record is the way their voices work together. If you go back to DDG’s debut, I Will Be you will hear just how divine their voices are together on Blank Girl (I hope they play this at their London show.) When Dee Dee’s voice comes in on Bring Me Down it adds a more angelic feel to it. Bring Me Down feels like a hymn for lovers, it is truly a gorgeous song and a perfect one to end this remarkable record on.

Up Is Up (But So Is Down) has got to be that Summertime song we all seek out. It’s got that sunset feel to it, as you head into the dusk with the sun blinding you less and less, and you become less stuck to your (fake) leather jacket. It’s just a stunning hazy track to dream to, you’ll have no problems with shutting the world off to this one. I love the way they sing, “She’s gonna love you until she’s dead.” A simple statement of romanticism.

Something That Feels Bad sounds totally different. It’s a fixed up version of what we heard last year, but still as gorgeous. I love the line, “You can tie me up if I can tie you down.” It’s the ultimate decadent love song. Why settle for typical and conventional when you can have something like this?

Initiation isn’t a record that’s going to just please fans of Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles, it’ll move those that really really love music and are bored of the mundane drivel that some outlets project to us. Everything about this record is just really strange and magical. It’s a love filled record which exploits all the things that I want a record to sound like. Initiation is a flawless work of art that you can tell was made with love and care.

I’ve failed at not being biased or putting aside my admiration for them both, but what’s the point in not writing like a fan? I can’t pull a record apart and tell you why it sucks. I can only tell you why I love it so. The alternative however, is if you buy the record for yourself on 27th May. You’ll probably get what I’m trying to say, maybe I’ll work out what I’m trying to say.

But here’s to Brandon and Dee Dee; a beautiful couple who have put out one of the year’s finest record.





HAUNTED HEARTS-Johnny Jupiter.

25 03 2014

 

 

 

FINALLY Dee Dee and Brandon have released the video to Johnny Jupiter. It will leave you wanting a silver leather jacket (fake one though, harming animals is disgusting) and it will also make you feel as if you’ve taken something. The video is directed by the super talented Scott Kiernan.

The video to Johnny Jupiter makes you feel as if you’re on some wonderful lucid trip. Music is that powerful, and please shun anyone who doesn’t agree with that. Don’t trust anyone who doesn’t love music.  Johnny Jupiter is taken from their record, Initiation which is out on cassette via Dream Recordings and via their own label Zoo Music on 27th May. Zoo Music is responsible for some amazing releases, so after you’ve pre-ordered it via iTunes (you also get Johnny Jupiter immediately when you do this), you should probably head over to the Zoo Music website and pick up some other records. Treat yourself.

Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles are doing a few shows together in the UK at the start of May, and Crocodiles are doing their own tour mid-May. I’ll be seeing them 3 times in the space of 2 or 3 weeks. If I had the funds, I’d probably do the whole tour but the universe hates me at the moment.

Last year they put out Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Bad, I got myself a copy. I’ve only played it two or three times. I don’t want to ruin it. Fortunately that is going to appear on the record, and the track-listing for Initiation is as follows:

01 Initiate Me
02 Up Is Up (But So Is Down)
03 Something That Feels Bad Is Something That Feels Good
04 Johnny Jupiter
05 House of Lords
06 Love Incognito
07 Strange Intentions
08 Bring Me Down

I think they’ve already put out Initiate Me and House Of Lords for streaming; I’m sure I’ve heard them?! Either way, I’m going to put this record right next to Too True by Dum Dum Girls as records of the year. Morrissey can go as my number 3 when it comes out. No other records are going to matter this year really.

Watch the video to Johnny Jupiter, and allow yourself to be sucked into this decadent and mysterious psychedelic underworld courtesy of Brandon and Dee Dee.





DUM DUM GIRLS-Are You Okay

6 03 2014

 

“Sometimes my heart is pure
Sometimes I know it’s not
Sometimes it disappears
Returns unlocked.”

Before I go into how breathtakingly beautiful the video to Are You Okay is, let’s start with something insanely good:

DUM DUM GIRLS AND CROCODILES ARE TOURING THE UK TOGETHER.

The dates are:

May 1 – London, UK – Scala
May 4 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
May 5 – Norwich, UK – Arts Centre
May 7 – Glasgow, UK – SWG3
May 8 – Belfast, UK – Black Box
May 9 – Galway, IE – Roisin Dubh
May 10 – Dublin, IE – Button Factory

This probably going to be the best tour that hits the UK this year. Well, for me it will be anyway. Of course it is a dream line-up for me. Two of the most exciting bands playing the UK is a pretty big deal you know. Maybe they’ll play some Haunted Hearts songs. A party for all. Get yourself a ticket. I’ll see you at the front on 1st May.

Let’s talk about the Are You Okay video now.

Are You Okay is a short film written by the great Bret Easton Ellis (read his books and let yourself be freaked out) The video was directed by Brewer, and if it doesn’t move you to tears slightly by how haunting it is- then you’ve probably been watching something else. Again the creative direction is taken care of by the equally stunning, Tamaryn. I think what we can take from this project is that Dee Dee and Tamaryn should just keep making videos together. The original score to the film is also by Tamaryn and Drew MacDowall.

I personally love this song because of the lines: “But what if it doesn’t go away, what if this feeling always plagues. I’m reckless at night, I’m sorry for days. I’m looking for you through lavender haze.” Dee Dee’s lyrics are truly heartfelt, and  think anyone can relate to her gorgeous and vulnerable words.

The video is like a dream you once had. Possibly even a reoccurring dream. It feels like a nightmare; even in dreams you are being taunted- but there is something about this video that eases the tension within it. Everyone part of this short film is responsible for making something truly moving. A beautiful piece of art. It’s over 10 minutes long, so shut the world off and give it all your attention.

 





DUM DUM GIRLS-TOO TRUE.

20 01 2014

 

 

As I’ve not gone into work today (I’m ill..and I’ve lost my voice) I should probably do something productive like sleeping- which I will do. I fell asleep around 4am and woke up 3 hours later. I feel as if I’ve been hit by something bigger and stronger than me, not really hard to beat that to be honest but anyway.

Next week a record I’ve been beyond excited about comes out. I was going to stay away from the streaming of it because I wanted the excitement to stay there. I was silly to think it wouldn’t. As I listen to Too True I can hear no resemblance between this and I Will Be and Only In Dreams. This is when you know a band are phenomenal. If they’re going to keep making the same record over and over, you lose interest. I don’t need to mention how brilliant their past releases are, because I won’t stop. Each one has sentimental value to me, I guess that’s why Dum Dum Girls mean a little bit more to me than other bands do. It’s Dee Dee honest and vulnerable lyrics that hit me right in the same place Morrissey’s lyrics do.

Too True is a relaxed record that from start to finish makes you feel as if you are not where you currently are. Even the most stable human beings wish they were somewhere else. Loathe where you are but use the hate to change your surroundings.

The record starts with Cult Of Love which sounds like something from the Goth era of the early 80s mixed with a James Bond soundtrack. Evil Blooms keeps up that energetic pace that is in Cult Of Love. Both songs feel as if you are running into the unknown but this uncertainty will become a state of bliss that you simply cannot do without. “Why be good? Be beautiful and sad. It’s all you’ve ever had.” If anyone else sang or wrote this line I’d probably regard them as being a miserable git, and that’s coming from me! But the way in which Dee Dee sings it makes you feel okay with feeling low on those days where getting out of bed is the same as climbing a mountain.

Rimbaud Eyes is brilliant and I hope it becomes a single. The video would probably be as hypnotic and as debauched as Lost Boys And Girls Club. Rimbaud Eyes is a gorgeous plea to love and fascination. Personally I love this song because of the reference to the greatest poet ever. A troubled poet with innocent eyes, but most of the great ones are like that. Troubled but innocent in some ways; it all fits together somehow.

Are You Okay is one of the few that make me teary eyed, but the hazy feel to it fills the listener with some reassurance. I learnt very early on that with Dum Dum Girls songs that they have songs that can break and mend your heart in one go. I’ve leant on some of their songs for many reasons, and I guess I can sort of stand up straight now feeling alright. Are You Okay is beautiful live. When I saw them play this last month, this was the one that made me keep my eyes shut and just sway. I don’t know where I was in that moment, but music helps you create your own personal moments that nobody can take from you.

Too True To Be Good feels like a dream. Dee Dee’s words sound as if she is recalling a dream she once had. A dream that is taking her away and making her feel something. We all have those days where we are left numb, and Too True To Be Good is like a longing of wanting more. You get more but is it what you want? “I remind myself it’s gonna be fine.” That’s a line to keep hold of. Most things are too true to be good. It’s alright.

The intro to In The Wake Of You reminds me of White Wedding by Billy Idol- just the guitar. In The Wake Of You really projects how fragile Dee Dee’s lyrics can be. You can runaway with the guitar on this song; just keep on running. It doesn’t really matter where you go. I think it is pretty obvious that Too True is a record that assists with you escaping and discovering. It’s making my ill day off work less awful. Dum Dum Girls have the power to be the soundtrack to your life, but if you’re a fan you’d know this already.

Lost Boys And Girls Club is for those who don’t care for direction, they just want to go. Half the time it doesn’t matter where you’re going or what you’re doing, so give it no thought. I’ve already written my thoughts on this song a few times but I’m not ever going to be tired of hearing it. It’s alright to be lost.

Little Minx has a Punk beat to it. If Joey Ramone was alive, and how I wish he was, he would sound perfect singing this with Dee Dee. There’s something about it that just makes me imagine Joey putting his vocals on it. Of course it sounds just perfect with Dee Dee’s haunting voice. What I love about this record is that you can hear how they’ve been experimenting with different sounds which has led them onto creating this beautiful record. I’m not going to love any other record as much as this one all year. I just know it.

The last two song on Too True; Under These Hands and Trouble Is My Name are my favourites. I can’t pick just one favourite, I think my mind would explode if I had to even try. But these two are lyrically my favourite. There’s something about them that make you just want to roam the street with no means of contact upon you. Leave your phone at home and go outside for a while. I’d do that if I wasn’t ill. They are the perfect songs to end the record on because it feels right to just hit play again when the record finishes. Trouble Is My Name is the one I know I’ll be playing over and over, the one I can’t go a day without listening to.

When it comes to writing about Dum Dum Girls I find it easy to be honest about how their music makes me feel. I don’t feel bad for admitting that I’ve cried to some of their songs or that some of them just sum everything up for me. If music can’t give you hope, then what’s the point? I’ve read no reviews about Too True, and I don’t want or need to. I just want to listen to it and keep up the excitement that my favourite band have put out a full length record. Too True is nothing like I Will Be, Only In Dreams, He Gets Me High and End Of Daze. If you’ve listened to all their records you will have heard how each is nothing like the previous. A band that plays around with their sound is a band that lasts. With Dum Dum Girls you know that music is everything to them, and that’s why their music means a hell of a lot to me and others. Dee Dee’s lyrics are like poems for the soul. She doesn’t need to be aggressive to make a point or to be heard.

Too True is undoubtedly going to be the one record I play religiously this year. It embodies everything you want in music; freedom, lust, comfort and confidence.

Stay in a dream, in a daze and blast out Too True.





DUM DUM GIRLS-RIMBAUD EYES.

15 01 2014

 

 

Everything I’ve written about Dum Dum Girls and will ever write about Dum Dum Girls is just me reinforcing my love for them over and over again. All my the words I have written are repetitive and more than likely boring for anyone who has the misfortune of reading it. But, it’s not for them. It’s not for anyone.

Rimbaud Eyes was a song I heard on Andrew Wyatt’s show on East Village Radio in June last year. I heard it a few days before I left home for good. In my mind, I took it all as a sign. I’m not sure what, but I like to connect music to sentimental moments. Everything about Rimbaud Eyes of course just sums up why I love Dum Dum Girls. Any band that can mention probably one of the greatest poets of all time in a song is just fine in my eyes. If any band is going to do it, then Dum Dum Girls are the ones to do it.

I really cannot put into words how bloody excited I am for Too True. It’s a shame I’ve used all my holidays up at work because I’d seriously think about taking the day off to just sit at home and play it over and over. Last month I saw Dum Dum Girls in Hoxton, and the new songs they played were just perfect. A divine band live and on record they flawlessly capture their ethereal sound live in a way that not many can do. There is something effortlessly enticing about this band, and I really don’t understand why anyone could ever saw anything negative about this band.

I’ve had Rimbaud Eyes on repeat for some time now, and I can’t help but fall in love yet again with how Dee Dee writes songs. The way she puts certain words together, the way she sings them, the way this band sound..they are my perfect band. I’ve said it so many times, and I’ll say it again; Dee Dee is my generations Patti Smith. How come? Well think of why you love Patti and you’ll understand.





DUM DUM GIRLS/PINS. Hoxton Bar & Grill. 14th December 2013.

15 12 2013

The last show I go to this year is the one that is probably the most sentimental for me. It was something I had been waiting for since 2009, when I first heard the band.

Dum Dum Girls mean the world to me because their music is like nothing else. Their 60s girl group feel mixed with the dominance found in a song by the Ramones immediately lured me in years ago. A firm grip around my heart, and of course ears. A band I listen to every day on the way to work and on the way home. A band that have been a source of comfort and providing words to get strong to. More than just a band. More than just music. I firmly stand by my statement that Dee Dee is my generations Patti Smith; but after seeing them live last night, I know I am right. There is something about her that gives you the sense of confidence that the likes of Patti and Shirley Manson do. If you’ve seen Dum Dum Girls live, you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you’ve not seen them live, you quite simply have to.

Before I write about their set, I need to mention their support for the night; PINS. PINS are undeniably one of the best bands around. Girls Like Us is no doubt one of the best records of the year. To see those sinister and eerie songs live is incredible. As you watch them live, you truly see how united they are as a band and also how much they love making music together. They have this brilliant gang mentality that makes you want to start your own band. They blaze through their set in a ferocious and passionate manner. For me it is always going to be LuvU4Lyf that blows my mind live. Probably because it was the first song I ever heard of theirs last year. To see them go from that to supporting a band like Dum Dum Girls makes you proud of them, and also proud to be a fan. Manchester is the home to some of the greatest bands ever; you can put PINS in that list. Lois coming into the crowd holding her guitar like a woman possessed, Faith’s powerful glares mixed with her fearless vocals, Anna’s hypnotic bass-playing and Sophie’s captivating bashing of the drums made PINS set last night something that was nothing short of an honour to watch. PINS are a band to lose and free your mind to. They’re the band you wish you could join. I just really bloody love them.

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Just after 9pm it was time for Dum Dum Girls to take to the stage. Dum Dum Girls now have an extra guitarist (Andrew- he was involved with their first release. The guy is a brilliant musician.) They play songs off their EPs, both records and Too True, their new record which I know will be my favourite record of 2014. I probably won’t listen to anything else next year (apart from Warpaint’s new one.) As they play Bedroom Eyes, some form of epiphany happens. I’m not sure what exactly, but it happened throughout the set. I was hoping they would play Rest Of Our Lives- it’s my favourite DDG song. As they played it, all I could do was sing along and hold my girlfriend’s hand. It didn’t matter for the past week or so I’ve been disgustingly ill, none of that mattered last night. I felt alright! I forgot that my body was in pain and the like. I sang every word back as if I was the only one in the room. Rimbaud Eyes was a song they played earlier in the year on a radio station, and it sounded brilliant. To see it live was just mesmirising. Are You Okay? sounds like a psychedelic trip into a better world. Basically, a Dum Dum Girls show feels like a lucid trip into the unknown. A daydream you don’t want shaking or waking up from.

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When you finally see a band that have meant so much to you for so long, it just increases your love for them. I’m not entirely sure how but it just does. I suppose if a band can leave you speechless like this, then you know you’ve seen something truly remarkable. Dum Dum Girls are just a delight to watch. You’ve got Jules with her cool demeanor elegantly slaying the guitar. Malia sways with her bass taking you in on this hypnotic trip. Sandy is just my favourite drummer around; she’s incredibly powerful and makes me wish I could play the drums. Dee Dee has this presence that like I’ve mentioned already, much like Patti Smith. She’s not aggressive in the slightest but still manages to hold your attention. Your eyes never leave the stage. Fixated on the brilliant musicians stood in front of you.

Certain songs cause me to shut my eyes, sway and sing the words as if I wrote them. Are You Okay? and Lord Knows are ones to do this to. Season In Hell was magnificent to see live. For me, that song just sums up everything. It is made up of comforting sounds and reassuring words. He Gets Me High was stunning. I could easily have summed this up easily by saying their music just makes me really happy. But to see it live, finally, did more than make me happy. This year I’ve seen (and met) three bands/singers that over the years have been everything to me. Patti Smith, Crocodiles and (two members of) Dum Dum Girls. Meet your heroes, and thank them for the music.

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Lost Boys And Girls Club is something all Dum Dum Girls fans are part of, for sure. It’s an anthem for the lost generation. They posses the mentality of Punk but with tranquil tones that cleanse the soul. It Only Takes One Night is amazing to witness live; I wasn’t expecting them to play it and I think it just set me off completely. If I could see just one band live for the rest of my time, it’d probably be Dum Dum Girls. The crowd was awesome too. I’ve been to a few shows in London now, and this was probably the best crowd I’ve seen. Was really cool to see Charlie from Crocodiles in the crowd too. The atmosphere was just perfect. Their songs truly come to life when you see them live. I’m a massive fan of lyrics, and I feel Dee Dee is an exceptional song-writer who really gets to the core of any emotion and portrays them in a fearless way. Her lyrics are beautiful and the way she writes them, is exactly how she sings them- delicate and pure.

Before we saw them live, my girlfriend and I had dinner (Hoxton Bar & Grill do the BEST veggie burrito, and they sell Jameson!) as I was enjoying my whiskey I saw Dee Dee walk past to go outside to do an interview. I was instructed by my girlfriend to say hi to her when she came back in. I obviously said no because that’s just massively creepy. After about half an hour or so, Dee Dee walks back in. I thought, “If you can hold it together a little bit when you met Patti, you can do this.” So I did (basically my girlfriend forced me and I had a lot of whiskey.) I went up to Dee Dee, introduced myself and as soon as I mentioned the cover of Just Like Honey she did for me, she hugged me. I FINALLY got to thank her for doing that. Finally. Photo taken, year complete. At the end of the show when we were leaving, Malia was walking out behind me. I decided to turn to her and say, “I know this is probably an inappropriate time to say this but you were amazing tonight.” She told me it wasn’t inappropriate, and that being in a sweaty environment like that is good for the pores. See, musicians are full of beauty tips too! The hat she was wearing was beautiful. I hope she made it to the other side of the bar safely, and her hat too!

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So there you have it. 2013 didn’t suck and I’m ending the year with Dum Dum Girls as the last show I go to. There’s no other band I’d want to end the year seeing. I’m aware this isn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, all you’ll get from this is hopefully my love for a band that are just insanely brilliant.

“Lift your gaze, it’s the end of daze.”

PS: My girlfriend took the photos (aside from the one of Dee Dee and I because I have really short arms and can’t use my iPhone properly!) I also walked head first into one of the kings of radio, Don Letts at the tube station which was pretty embarrassing. He’s very tall….





DUM DUM GIRLS-Lost Boys And Girls Club.

2 11 2013

 

 

With the passing of Lou Reed casting an indefinite dark shadow over those who loved him, finding joy in most things over the past week has proven to be a drag. The person responsible for your how you think at times and the one who made you feel less of a freak is no longer around. The music will linger on; and you’ll forever wish his final breath lasted longer. To heal once more; to heal himself.

Two days ago, Dum Dum Girls made the loss less painful. Lost Boys And Girls Club is the perfect song to ease the loss, and to drag you into the underworld that Lou Reed once lured us into. I think it is fairly obvious that Dee Dee Penny is this generation’s Patti Smith. Her poetic heart creates words that twist and turn to your soul. Grabbing you at your lowest and saving you. The beauty that is in Patti’s music is found in Dum Dum Girls.

Lost Boys And Girls Club is taken from the new record, Too True and is out January. Record of 2014? There is no doubt in my mind that it will be. I don’t think I have the patience to wait for it, but I must. I must. Until then, I’ve got Lost Boys And Girls Club to play on repeat. I’ve mentioned in previous ramblings that I find it easy to write about certain bands because they just make you feel something; they move you. Dum Dum Girls are one of those bands. For many years I’ve been in awe of Dee Dee’s songwriting skills. The simplicity of songs like Rest Of Our Lives just blew my mind because it spoke of love in the purest way. Along came the song Coming Down and it became a crutch for me. It still is.

What I love about Dum Dum Girls is that their sound constantly sounds like a new day emerging. A sunrise to give you hope. Dee Dee’s words make you feel less alone when you feel unsure or nervous about the person you are. Lost Boys And Girls Club is perfect for those who need some form of direction. I’m 27 in 10 days and I still feel hopeless at time; but bands like Dum Dum Girls form a glue that keeps the heart together. The mind wanders, and goes into another world.

Speaking of “another world” the video to the single is brilliant. It is sinful and dark. Fake leather and darkness set the mood; it just seems to evoke everything I love. As soon as Dee Dee appears in the video, she has the striking presence as if you are back a few decades discovering Siouxsie for the first time. She steps into what resembles to Garden of Eden, luring you in. As if you’d ever want to turn away.

The way she sings “There’s no particular place we are going, still we are going.” does wonders for the mind and soul. It reassures you to be okay with not really knowing what you are doing or where you were going. If this was something we all were sure about, there would be no point to our existence.

From being part of a Blank Generation to now a Lost Boys And Girls Club, the teachings and meaning of Punk lives in bands like Dum Dum Girls.

Join the club.