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All words: Sean Gray — All photos: Farrah Skeiky

“This one is for all the heart breakers out there”  Kristen Gundred aka Dee Dee Penny exclaimed shyly right before they launched into a Dum Dum’ed version of the classic Pale Saints song “Sight of You.” The cover fits perfectly within the context of the newest EP, End Of Daze which finds the Dum Dum Girls leaving behind their goofy BBQ-sauce garage Hozac sound for something darker and with a lot more depth. Right out of the gate Penny wastes no time and dives right into “Mine Tonight.” Live, “Mine Tonight” translates further into a certain kind of urgency that makes the newest EP and certain parts of “Only In Dreams” so damn interesting. “Tonight I’ll sing my eulogy” sets a pure distinction between the DDG’s of 2012 and “He Gets Me High”  Terminal Boredom record collector era DDG.  I will fully admit I do not care for any of their earlier records, but I can also admit Penny can write a pop song, and a very good one at that. This combination of The Angels meets Razar, with the gloom of Baroque Bordello , and the dreaminess of Julee Cruise is completely refreshing for a pop band like DDG.

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It’s no stretch to say partly what sets the DDG apart from their peers is Penny’s vocals, and I was suspect if she could pull it off live, but she does in spades. “Bedroom Eyes” sounded as dynamic vocally live as it does on the the 2011 LP, and “Lord Knows” comes off as confident and strong as the recorded version. Though instead of just standing still and phoning it in, Dee Dee and Co. move around as if they still have something to prove. The secret weapon live for DDG isn’t the vocals nor their stage presence, but the discipline of both Sandy Vu on  drums and new edition Malia James on bass. Both seem to lock in perfectly for a song like “Season In Hell” and “Always Looking.” While to some it might seem Penny was a little to quiet through out, I actually thought it added something almost mysterious to their set. It’s nice to see a band at the level they are just let the music do the talking instead of clowning it up with some bullshit “We love Baltimore” stage banter.
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One of the few disappointments of the set was not hearing “Coming Down” and the center piece of the new EP, the gorgeous, dark, and hazy Strawberry Switchblade cover “Trees and Flowers”.  One can only hope that sonically that’s where the DDG  are heading, lord knows I want them to.

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