MANHATTAN, NY—The New York-based Dum Dum Girls formed in 2008 as a solo recording project in the Los Angeles bedroom of singer and songwriter Dee Dee Penny (aka Kristin Welchez). Penny released a five-song CD in late 2008 under the name Dum Dum Girls. She named the project as a double homage to The Vaselines’ album Dum Dum and the Iggy Pop song “Dum Dum Boys.”
Dum Dum Girls’ debut album was released in 2010, and after its release, Penny assembled a touring band. After touring for the second album in 2012, however, she lost her voice. As she recovered, the third Dum Dum Girls album, Too True, was delayed and finally released on January 28, 2014. The band currently consists of Dee Dee on vocals and guitar, Jules on guitar and vocals, Malia on bass and vocals and Sandy on drums and vocals.
At the Bowery Ballroom tonight, one could not miss that Dee Dee Penny wore a shiny black low-cut latex mini-dress that looked like fetish wear. Stop. Stare. Move on. There was music too. The band cooked together its earlier lo-fi garage style with the more recent synth-and-guitar pop. Much of the set was comprised of catchy pop songs, however, with just enough odd sounds here and there to earn a slot in the “indie” genre. Pop with a bit of an edge. Penny and her musicians opened with “Bedroom Eyes,” and then immediately followed with a series of five songs from the band’s five EPs. Two of the group’s earlier buzz-worthy songs were not performed, “Bhang, Bhang, I’m A Burnout” and “Jail La La,” and the band curiously ended its set (before returning to the stage for an encore) with an oddity, a cover of Pale Saints’ “Sight Of You.”
Outside of a bopping beat and a few waves of instrumentation, the band’s music lacked depth. It was all played on a surface level, with little root exposed. The group took a few moments here and there to capitalize on its present underground status, but as a whole, the performance sounded like the Dum Dum Girls’ direction was moving toward arena rock. If this is true, watch the band attract an increasingly teenybopper audience.
For more information on the Dum Dum Girls, go to wearedumdumgirls.com.