Starting today, I’ve added a new section called Sound Bites, which will just be tracks that artists have randomly released or have released as a teaser for an upcoming album. But first, let’s get started with a couple of bands with new albums out.
Dum Dum Girls
For followers of The Dum Dum Girls, most will be aware that producing the band’s latest album, Too True, was a long endeavour for frontwoman and founder, Dee Dee Penny. First, more than three years ago, Penny’s mother passed away, which exacted an emotional toll on Penny. As a result, Penny turned her attention to penning songs based on her memories of her mother, which ended up being the endearing Only in Dreams (2011).
In writing for Too True, Penny was unable to sing for several months, causing delays in recording the album, although the songs were completed. It also affected Penny deeply. As Penny told New York’s AM Network, “(Recording the album) was difficult in a very physiological way. I literally was unable to sing for months. The songs themselves came to me very quickly. The delay in finishing “Too True” was incredibly frustrating and terrifying. I am a singer; that is what I do. To not be able to do it caused a sort of existential crisis.”
With the album finally released last week (January 28), Penny, along with bandmates Jules (guitar, vocals), Sandy (drums, vocals), and Malia (bass, vocals), have produced a very good album that sees the quartet move away from the jangle pop sound that was prominent on the band’s first 2 LPs and various EPs. Instead, the album is grittier, incorporates more rock elements as well as infuses synth and ambient textures in some songs. As such, you won’t find a “Jail La La” on this record, but with “Rimbaud Eyes” the Dum Dum Girls have recorded a terrific, ’80s-inspired pop song that echoes Pat Benatar. “Cult of Love” and “In the Wake of You” is reminiscent of the synth-pop music that former Dum Dum Girls’ drummer, Frankie Rose, has been experimenting with on her first two albums. “Lost Boys and Girls Club” is a deep almost dark anthem, something that Siouxsie and the Banshees might have produced three decades ago.
While the Dum Dum Girls have moved on musically, there are still hints in the album that Penny still is thinking of her mother, such as on “Are You Okay?” With Penny back singing and writing and with an excellent third album, the Dum Dum Girls are more than o.k.
Bombay Bicycle Club
If you were to mix together modern day Death Cab for Cutie (i.e., since 2008’s Narrow Stairs), Yeasayer, and Ra Ra Riot, you would get Bombay Bicycle Club’s, So Long, See You Tomorrow – a 10-song compilation of really catchy, dance-pop tunes. The fourth LP of the London-based band, which consists of Jack Steadman (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Jamie MacColl (guitar), Suren de Saram (drums), and Ed Nash (bass), also incorporates some Indian and Middle Eastern textures, which was influenced by Steadman’s travels through India, Turkey, and Europe.
The opening track, “Overdone”, immediately introduces the listener to the sweeping new sound of the band, with its techno layers and body-gyrating beats. “Carry Me”, which is the album’s best track, is a melody shifting, pulsating tune that is reminiscent of Yeasayer’s “Fingers Never Bleed”. Meanwhile, “Luna” is a poppy track intended to get people moving and yelling the chorus.
In many ways, the album title could be interpreted as the band saying goodbye to its indie folk and indie rock beginnings and starting a new chapter in its story, one that is catering to a generation of young and old music listeners who want to be moved physically and emotionally. If this is the path that BBC will forge for years to come, it’s a great one to follow. However, given the band has reinvented itself since its beginnings in 2005, I’m not expecting them to stick with the status quo.
So Long, See You Tomorrow is available tomorrow (February 4).
Here are some songs that some musicians have released over the past couple of weeks. All three have been featured on Mundo Musique previously.
17-year old, aspiring producer Chris Ayler, who was profiled a couple of weeks ago, has released several new tracks, including “God Level Boom Bap”.
GEMS, the Washington D.C. band who was featured last week, released a groovycover of Seal’s “Don’t Cry”
Our friends Bear Mountain, who I chatted with back in October, recently collaborated with Vancouver producer Pat Lok to record the dance tune,
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