Best tunes of 2012: #14 Dum Dum Girls “Season in hell”

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I got into Dum Dum Girls, the sadly now defunct project led by Kristin “Dee Dee” Gundred, with their very excellent sophomore record, 2011’s “Only in dreams”. Though it wasn’t issued as a proper single from the album, “Bedroom eyes”, and the video made for it, became a personal favourite of mine, landing at number five on my Best tunes of 2011 list. And with the repeat listens of that album, I was super excited to see them at the Osheaga festival in Montreal in August 2012. I remember rushing over to their stage right after Of Monsters and Men finished up their eye-opening early afternoon set and though Dum Dum Girls’ performance was shortened due to sound problems, they were fantastic, all attitude and noise.

The following month the group released an EP called “End of daze”, featuring three songs held out from the “Only in dreams” sessions, and I loved it. It was one of my favourite releases of 2012 and it’s one of the very few examples of where I agree with Pitchfork media’s reviewers when they said it was the best thing Dum Dum Girls released up to that point. My only problem with it was that, at a five song EP, it was way too short. I was left wanting more, more, and more. It is still such a favourite of mine that it is one of only a small handful of EPs that I purchased for my vinyl collection and it regularly gets pulled down for a 45 rpm spin.

The final track on the EP is this humdinger called “Season in hell”. It is Sandra Vu crashing away at the drums, soaring guitars all around, that familiar reverb-drenched production by Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner, and Dee Dee’s vocals uplifting and floating in space, way up above the heavens, hinting at a change in direction and a hope for better days.

“Doesn’t dawn look divine”

Taken in hindsight you can read a lot into this track. The ‘season in hell’ could be referring to the period before Gundred’s split with Crocodiles’ Brandon Welchez, or it could be that she was starting to feel constrained by the image, aesthetic, and sound that she had created for Dum Dum Girls. That hat certainly feels tipped at in the couplet that ends the song and gives the EP its name: “Lift your gaze, it’s the end of daze.” And it’s a theory that feels more concrete when taken in context with her next album, Dum Dum Girls’ swan song, “Too true”, where the haze and gaze is all but dispensed with in favour of a glam and britpop influenced sound.

Again, though, that’s only in hindsight and if you’re in a mood to read into things. I typically avoid such heady topics when this particular song comes on and I just give in to the excitement and joy. The bliss and the hope.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.


Vinyl love: Lush “Blind spot EP”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Lush
Album Title: Blind spot EP
Year released: 2016
Details: 10″ vinyl EP, 45 rpm

The skinny: For fun, you can consider this here the bonus ‘hidden track’ to my series detailing Lush’s five-disc vinyl box set, “Origami”. Last week, while finishing it off, I mentioned that “Topolino” was their final full-length release. But it wasn’t their final final release. In 2015, just about two decades after their dissolution, the remaining, living members of Lush re-formed, played a handful of shows that went so well that they turned it into a full fledged tour, complete with stops on the festival circuit all over. Somewhere in the midst of all this, they found time to record new material, an EP called “Blind spot”, which name-checked and somehow blended the band’s varying sounds from the distinct eras in their way too short original career. I wasn’t able to make it to the show they did in Toronto, which is too bad because shortly thereafter, they announced their second breakup. Luckily, I managed to score one of these highly sought after 10” EPs at one my local shops because it’s a lovely post script to the music of one of my favourite 90s bands.

Standout track: “Out of control”


Vinyl love: The Decemberists “The Tain / 5 songs”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The Decemberists
Album Title: The tain / 5 songs
Year released: 2004
Year reissued: 2008
Details: 180 gram, black vinyl

The skinny: …And speaking of The Decemberists… In 2004, a year before releasing their final indie album, “Picaresque”, The Decemberists released an EP that was just one long 18 minute song, albeit in five parts, that took for its subject a Celtic myth. A few years later this EP was coupled with their first ever EP, 2001’s “Five songs”, and released on 12” vinyl, an EP on each side. I found a copy of this compilation pressed to 180 gram vinyl on one of my many trips to Vertigo records and couldn’t not buy it. If you’ve got twenty minutes to burn, have a listen and watch of the video below. It’s good stuff.

Standout track: “The tain”