Posted in music on January 31, 2014

photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis

Dum Dum Girls @ Mercury Lounge, 1/30/2014
Dum Dum Girls

"This has been a chaotic show," Dee Dee confessed near the end of Dum Dum Girls' set at Mercury Lounge last night (1/30). "Which fits the chaotic nature of this album." The band had taped The Late Show with David Letterman earlier in the day (and had flown in from LA right before that), and didn't get a soundcheck. So there was more fiddling with gear and mike checks and some visible nerves, but close your eyes and Dum Dum Girls sounded confident and clear.

This was the record release show for DDG's third album, Too True, which came out this week on Sub Pop. It's their biggest sounding record yet and the band drafted a third guitarist -- the Girls' first "boy" since the ad-hoc version of the band at the Woodist/Captured Tracks fest -- to help fill out the sound. Songs such as the dreamlike "Lost Boys and Girls Club" really benefit from this, much heavier and louder than the recorded version. And on tracks like new LP standout "In the Wake of You" and "Lord Knows" (from their End of Daze EP) the new guy allowed Dee Dee to be more of a frontperson.

My only real complaint with last night's show was, with three albums and a couple EPs under their belt, Dum Dum Girls are now at the point where you may not get to hear all the songs you wanted. "I Will Be" was on the written setlist but I don't recall them playing it, and I would have really liked to have heard Too True's closing track, "Trouble is My Name." But we did get their cover of Pale Saints' "Sight of You" which has gotten bigger and louder since the last time they swung through town. Luckily, Dum Dum Girls will be back when their tour with Blouse hits NYC for two shows in March (tickets are still available). Pictures from Mercury Lounge, as well as setlist and their "Rimbaud Eyes" performance on Letterman, are in this post.

The other two bands on the bill last night were good too. Sapphire Mansions, the newish project from onetime Golden Triangle member Jay Hough, have come along since the last time I saw them. The band, named after a Felt song and definitely cribbing from that '80s era of UK indiepop, now includes Love Is All's James Ausfahrt on bass and My Teenage Stride's Jed Smith on drums, and have started to go beyond their early touchstones. (Their debut LP is pretty good.) Matt Yu filled out the band's sound alternating between arpeggiated guitar parts and combo organ, and The Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson played trumpet on a couple songs too. I thought they sounded great.

I hadn't seen openers The New Lines since they played with Blouse at 285 Kent a couple years ago. That was not their best night, but I'm pleased to say I thought they were pretty good last night. Theirs is not an easy sound to pull off live -- fragile, baroque/kraut psych not unlike Broadcast or The United States of America -- but with good sound and a solid rhythm section, The New Lines found their groove. If you haven't checked out last year's Fall in Line, you can stream a couple tracks here. And they play Freddy's Bar in Park Slope tonight (1/31).

More pics of all three bands at Mercury Lounge, plus video of DDGs on Letterman, below...

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Dum Dum Girls - "Rimbaud Eyes" on The Late Show with David Letterman

SETLIST: Dum Dum Girls @ Mercury Lounge 1/30/2014
Bedroom Eyes
I Got Nothing
In the Wake of You
He Gets Me High
Are You Okay?
Under These Hands
I Will Be
Only Takes One
Rest of Our Lives
Rimbaud Eyes
Seasons in Hell
Sight of You
Lord knows

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Comments (32)

awful

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 3:15 PM

Haha Ass Fart

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 3:29 PM

You know everything is getting worse with this day and age when you begin to hear David Letterman say the name "Dum Dum Girls".

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 3:35 PM

hey pee-squared, choke on a bag of dicks

Posted by Agnes, mother of Pee-Squared | January 31, 2014 4:12 PM

Dee Dee is sexy. These photos are not.

Posted by ME | January 31, 2014 4:32 PM

Music is dead. I'm going into technology.

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 4:39 PM

Easily the most boring show I've been to in a year.

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 5:07 PM

The bass player loves the smell of her own farts.

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 5:18 PM

These broads look like they take themselves way too seriously.

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 5:23 PM

Letterman is such a pervert

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 5:32 PM

who the fuck cares about this band? really?

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 5:34 PM

why is there a dude in the current line up? does he get to bone all the girls?

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 6:24 PM

that drummer, oh my christ.

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 8:26 PM

Remember when they wore white? I was there

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 8:49 PM

I like this group, and I think Dee Dee is an interesting singer and songwriter. While the live line-up's never been strong, they've been saved by Dee Dee's strong vocals, and a fairly impassioned performance.

This Letterman performance, however, is atrocious and embarrassing. I didn't think her band could pull of the slick, mechanized production on that new album, but to suck that hard on national TV is discouraging. Even Dee Dee sounded like shit. What happened?

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 9:07 PM

@5:43

Sub Pop's accountants, so the label can recoup whatever's been spent on this played out goth clown shit band.

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 11:15 PM

the whole Letterman show, from talent to the camaramen and crew, including producers, demanded favors from the Dum Dum girls in exchange for getting to play on television. lack of layola led to their sound being sabotaged. CBS should give this band an hour long concert show to be televised nationally during prime time to make up for the horrific drooling harassment from Paul Shafer et al that these talented women had to endure.

Posted by Anonymous | January 31, 2014 11:18 PM

they don't dress cute anymore either.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2014 11:22 AM

Their whole schtick is tired, cliche, and unoriginal. They look like they need makeup for their makeup.
Trying way too hard and it's not convincing. Marketing and publicity budgets will only get you so far. Material is not even close to being there.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2014 12:19 PM

They have pretty good material, but I don't really see this new overproduced stuff taking them to the "next" level, but I guess it's in keeping with what 21 year olds are listening to.

I can't believe they sounded that terrible on Letterman, and that their PR people are placing this everywhere instead of burying it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2014 4:06 PM

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the Letterman performance or sound...the problem is that's a boring as shit song.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2014 5:51 PM

I'm a genderqueer female, and it pisses me off how female bands always feel the need to sex up their looks and play to the frat bro crowd. Liz Phair, Hole, Jewel etc. etc. etc.....

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2014 6:57 PM

have never heard this band but this performance was pretty good for late night tv where most bands sound awful. ridiculous move of letterman to come over and basically make a not so subtle comment completely objectifying them.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2014 8:27 PM

I think they've objectified themselves.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2014 9:50 PM

Blowin' their way onto tv.

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2014 4:19 AM

it's amazing how much people can hate a band that's fairly reminiscent of the gun club w/nancy sinatra on vocals... with a bit of that classic modern garage sound all over 2008, all the comments just sound like the same person over & over, curiously on all of the comment threads on this site, wonder if it's the same douche trying to direct the music world? wow, my first conspiracy theory (!) also the drummer is cute, wait they all look pretty good... they sound best live, why you mad bro? cold story bro tell us what the music scene needs more of

Posted by a NON. e-mouse. | February 2, 2014 7:09 AM

I actually really like this band, and I think the new album is strong, but this performance... Dee Dee almost never hits the right key, the guitarist plays almost every fill late/incorrect, the drummer can't play a consistent rhythm, and none of them can decide whether to sing backing vocals or not. It's a mess.

Yes, they're mainly a studio project, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a line-up shake-up soon.

And yes, Letterman comes off as a creep.

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2014 12:13 PM

7:09 they sound best live? I'm new to this thread, not part of your "same poster conspiracy" but... what the fuck are you talking about?

I saw them live at Europa last year on the strength of Only In Dreams and the pre-release of some tracks from End of Daze and they were one of the worst live shows I've seen. Pretty much as bad as this. "Fake" disinterested, off-key, no energy and seeming more like they were a fashion show trying to play music than actual musicians. This Letterman performance is not a fluke, it perfectly captures their live performance from my experience.

Based on the 2 albums I own, their was a good pop songwriter at work here. I don't know what happened with the latest album but now their studio material is as weak as their live performance.

And personally, I'm not mad, just honest. You a PR flack, maybe?

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2014 2:33 PM

Did the band take this seriously? Did they rehearse for it? At all? Any pro band would've locked themselves in a rehearsal studio for a week to get it together. You think Prince would've taken the Revolution on the road sounding like this? Hell no. "But Letterman loves us! :giggle giggle:" Get real.

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2014 4:20 PM

this isn't even good at being derivative.

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2014 4:28 PM

I love Dee Dee.

Posted by Schreiner | February 17, 2014 2:57 AM

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