It was grunge that first made Sub Pop’s name back in the late ’80s, but the Seattle record label has since successfully transformed itself into a multigenre powerhouse. Nowadays, acts such as Iron & Wine, the Shins, No Age, Beach House and Fleet Foxes sit proudly alongside Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden in the influential indie’s hall of alumni. One of the best newer bands on Sub Pop’s current roster is Dum Dum Girls, whose show at the Mercury Lounge comes just a little more than a week after the release of a third full-length album, Too True. Started in 2008 as Dee Dee Penny’s bedroom project, the Dum Dum Girls sound has evolved, with songs built on the bare-bones structures of ’60s girl groups, and fleshed out with 21st-century malaise.
After numerous lineup changes, Penny expanded the outfit to a four-piece and relocated to New York, making this Mercury Lounge booking something of a hometown release show. Like 2011’s Only in Dreams, the new Dum Dum Girls record was jointly produced by legendary songwriter-turned-producer-turned-mogul Richard Gottehrer—whose first writing-producing credit was “My Boyfriend’s Back,” and who helmed Blondie’s first two records—and the Raveonettes’ Sune Rose Wagner. The result is a dreamy, poppy gem, albeit one that feels ever so slightly darker and less girl-groupy than its predecessors.
This week’s show, the band’s only East Coast date before a full-blown spring tour that brings them to the Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg in late March, will be an intimate, cozy affair, providing the perfect environment to hear the new songs in all their sumptuous, shimmering glory.—Mischa Pearlman