‘I Will Be’ – Dum Dum Girls
When Dum Dum Girls leading lady Dee Dee needed a band to take her songs out of the bedroom, she looked to her friends: Jules, a San Diego-based furniture designer; Bambi, a non-profit worker in Austin; and Brooklynite Frankie Rose, a former Vivian Girl and Crystal Stilt, currently starting her own project as well. When the other three met for the first time a week before CMJ 2009, it was an instant girl gang. Dee Dee formed DDG in late 2008 as a solo project—the name a nod to both The Vaselines’ album, Dum-Dum, and the Iggy Pop song “Dum Dum Boys”
Dee Dee wrote and recorded the songs that became I Will Be over the first eight months of 2009, and she asked a few others to contribute. Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner plays on “Yours Alone.”Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez sings and plays guitar on the duet “Blank Girl.” Los Angeles musician Andrew Miller contributes guitars to a number of tracks.
When it came time to choose someone to gently finesse I Will Be, the name Richard Gottehrer came up on Dee Dee’s wish list. Responsible for writing such seminal songs as “My Boyfriend’s Back,” and “I Want Candy,” he also produced his own short-lived band The Strangeloves, as well as The Voidoids, Blondie, The Go-Gos, and more recently, The Raveonettes. Marvels Dee Dee, “I gave him all the rough tracks and he produced them, as I had a lot of digital effects acting as sort of placeholders. I’m not exactly sure what he did, but it’s a world of difference. The songs sound warm, and they kind of sparkle.”
I Will Be runs just under thirty minutes with eleven songs; a short tribute to love, loss, fear, fun, and the classic pop form of the ‘60s girl groups and early punk rockers. Explaining the album’s dark-and-sunny feel, Dee Dee says, “There’s an overdramatic tone, much like a teenager’s world, but applied to the experience of getting older.” No track better exemplifies that sentiment than the somnolent “Rest of Our Lives,” a lullaby about marriage that captures, she says, “that feeling when you’re 16 and you think you’re going to be with your boyfriend forever. And that you’d just die if you weren’t. Except it’s about my husband.”
On the other end of the spectrum, “Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout” (the curious spelling being slang for marijuana) spends roughly two-and-a-half minutes musing on the virtues of psychedelics. “Lines Her Eyes” touches on petty girl-on-girl competition, while “Jail La La” updates the Bobby Fuller Four’s “I Fought the Law” with a reverb-laden sing-along.
What’s with the bipolar songs? “I tend to be an introvert. So there’s a lot of time for weird thoughts to develop in my head before I put them down on paper,” says Dee Dee. “And it’s really bizarre living in Southern California. It’s that total stereotype of being super-laidback, this ‘everything’s perfect’ vibe. But you’re miserable in the sun because you’re stuck. Like, it’s so perfect that it’s overwhelming and depressing. That’s sorta inspiring.”
Also, make sure you check out the SYN Sweet 16 and Hoist Feature for this week