Tag Archives: Dum Dum Girls

This Week’s Essential Releases: Hip-Hop, Post-Punk, Experimental Soul, and More

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Kristin Kontrol’s Pop Reinvention

Kristin Welchez as Kristin Kontrol
photo by Jimmy Fontaine

“I’m ready to just make art as myself. Dee Dee is a part of me, no doubt. But Kristin Kontrol is the whole shebang.”—Kristin Welchez

Reinvention is the mother of pop music. Musical stagnation is synonymous with creative death, and the mark of a good artist is the ability to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. Kristin Welchez, aka Dee Dee Penny of the acclaimed garage band Dum Dum Girls, knows this, and has executed an impressive about-face with X-Communicate, her first record as Kristin Kontrol.

Trading the deep, dark, ’60s-inspired haze of her old band for shiny, emotional electro-pop, Welchez inhabits a completely new identity as Kristin Kontrol—that of a fully-realized pop star. “I went into the writing of this album knowing that I wasn’t going to make a record that would sit comfortably in Dum Dum territory,” she says. “I’d reached my threshold of being in a garage band, and it was just really obvious that releasing X-Communicate under the Dum Dum Girls name would do a disservice to the legacy of that band. I needed to start fresh. Calling it ’Kristin Kontrol’ was one of those random, last-minute ideas that seemed like destiny the moment I uttered it.”

Kristin Welchez as Kristin Kontrol

While both Dum Dum Girls and Kristin Kontrol are Welchez’s creations, and her stamp as a writer of passionate, lovelorn lyrics is apparent throughout, the projects couldn’t be more different. On X-Communicate, Dum Dum Girls’ forlorn guitars and howling feedback are replaced by ’80s synths, drum pads, saxophones, and Peter Hook-style basslines. “I loved the commercial pop of the ’80s,” Welchez says“and bringing in a more overt pop element was definitely a nod to those influences. But I also wanted to utilize modern production. So I may have used ’80s freestyle drums, or ’70s Kraut leads, or shoegaze guitar, or a ’90s pop-reggae piano, but the songs aren’t overwhelmingly any one of those things.”

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