Kristin Welchez - aka Dee Dee, leader of internationally acclaimed rock outfit Dum Dum Girls, will release X-Communicate, the debut album from her new solo project, Kristin Kontrol, on CD / LP / DL / CASS worldwide May 27 via Sub Pop. Tapped as the first single, “X-Communicate” melds new wave with synth pop in a slice of glistening cosmic disco. You can share/listen to the track right over HERE.
The album pre-order is underway HERE. Fans who pre-order X-Communicate digitally will instantly receive “X-Communicate” as well. Additionally, the limited, blue-vinyl Loser Edition is available to pre-order customers at megamart.subpop.com, and at select independent record stores (while supplies last).
With Kristin Kontrol, Dee Dee sheds her skin, ditching the alter ego she’d assumed in Dum Dum Girls – for her given name, Kristin. Once again, she is smashing boundaries, only this time it’s the ones she had drawn to define herself artistically.
“For me as leader of Dum Dum Girls it felt very stoic and serious, and I am serious, but anyone who really knows me knows the other side; I’m silly – I smile a lot,” explains Kristin. “As the years went on, it was so weird that I kept so much of me out of my art.”
[Photo by Jimmy Fontaine]
As Kristin Kontrol, she tells her stories using a sonic palette splashed with bold pop melodies, her vocals showcasing a range hitherto unexplored on record. The album was produced by Kurt Feldman (of Ice Choir and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) and Andrew Miller (who played guitar in the Dum Dum Girls’ last incarnation). Longtime Dum Dum Girls producer Richard Gottehrer (Blondie, The Go-Go’s) provided “sonic consultation,” giving Kristin feedback on the new songs and inspiring her to continually push further. After writing 62 songs for the project, she whittled them down to the 10 that will be featured on this debut.
“The first music I really identified as my own was very poppy, classic 80s, from Debbie Gibson and Tiffany to Janet Jackson and Madonna,” says Kristin, who grew up in Northern California and now resides in New York City. “I didn’t want to make another rock’n’roll record.”
With its synth-sax flourishes and minimal groove, album opener “Show Me” sounds like the soundtrack to a previously unseen John Hughes movie montage. ”(Don’t) Wannabe” loops Enya-esque vocals and features her first reverse guitar solo while “White Street” is Kristin’s most narrative song yet, telling the tale of a specific night - last New Year’s Eve - in New York City. Kristin spoke more about the upcoming album in her recent Sirius XMU interview with Jenny Eliscu HERE.
Dum Dum Girls was Kristin’s guise for the best part of a decade. After posting her bedroom recordings online, she caught the ears of Sub Pop. From there she assembled her group of badass, black-clad cadets and toured the world. Over the course of three albums, four EPs and a bold brace of singles, Dum Dum Girls morphed from the girl group-gone-bad moves of debut album I Will Be (2010), to the comparatively plush noir-pop of 2014’s Too True.
In a review of Too True, The New York Times observed, “each successive album has largely offered refinements and variations.” “Too True preserves what makes Dum Dum Girls great, while pushing the band to brilliant new heights,” said Alternative Press and MOJO praised its “mythic ambition. “Dum Dum Girls supported Too True with a North American tour, a performance on “Late Show with David Letterman,” and a series of videos, including ”“Lost Boys & Girls Club,” which was produced with support from H&M Life, and “Are You Okay,” which was produced and directed by novelist/screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis.
Kristin Kontrol will announce live dates soon, but in the meantime, fans can find her DJ’ing at SXSW later his month. Her recent video capturing a street art tribute to David Bowie, that was painted on the railings on a New York City street, caught fire and now has more than 13 million views. It can be seen HERE.
The exquisite, two-track offering, is currently available for preorder on on 7” / DL through Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, and Amazon. Vinyl preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive a limited edition version of the 7” pressed on clear purple vinyl (while supplies last).
“Red Sun” and “Echo” were both written after midnight. “Red Sun” is the story of love, power, and weakness. A 3 minute narrative about the mystery of human attraction and its hold on the psyche. “Red Sun,” played by Dee Dee, is half siren and half desert wanderer. She’s the temptress and the God of War the body of a girl who can make all men her victim. “Echo” takes place in the streets of Berlin. In “Echo” our narrator is lost in the madness of regret and lost love. In the warm streets of summer he’s frozen by his thoughts as if it were winter already.
What people are saying about “Red Sun”: “A moody track that rests on a pulsing, sinister synth line and arid guitar.” - Stereogum
“Evoking Ennio Morricone by way of Bauhaus, “Red Sun” is a doom-laden, synthed-out siren song in which DDG’s Dee Dee plays the titular role….The track is a pulsing three minutes of goth grandiosity in which Merchandise’s Carson Cox is ultimately the one consumed. “I walked into the Red Sun” he croons, sounding both beaten and happily done in.” - Pitchfork
“…Merchandise and Dum Dum Girls have done you the favor of teaming up to give you a killer track in “Red Sun.” Both bands work off each other to churn out a track that’s super gothy and infectious.” - Noisey
“The song is a gothic, synth-driven number that’s filled with syncopated beats and spacious guitar textures. Dum Dum Girls leader Dee Penny lends her noir-ish vocals to the verses, while Merchandise’s Carson Cox swoops and brightens things up somewhat for the catchy chorus.” - Exclaim
“The result of this team up is a happy marriage between both bands’ sounds, finding an edge in dark, atmospheric pop.” - DIY
“Red Sun” and “Echo” were both written after midnight. “Red Sun” is the story of love, power, and weakness. A 3 minute narrative about the mystery of human attraction and its hold on the psyche. “Red Sun,” played by Dee Dee, is half siren and half desert wanderer. She’s the temptress and the God of War the body of a girl who can make all men her victim. “Echo” takes place in the streets of Berlin. In “Echo” our narrator is lost in the madness of regret and lost love. In the warm streets of summer he’s frozen by his thoughts as if it were winter already. This new single was conceived in Tampa, FL and recorded between Tampa, Berlin and NYC during the summer of 2015.
(Photo Credit: Catie Laffoon)
Stereogum had this to say about “Red Sun”, “a moody track that rests on a pulsing, sinister synth line and arid guitar. Dee Dee handles the verses, playing some sort of man-eating desert siren, while Carson Cox jumps in on the chorus” (see track premiere October 19th).
The “Red Sun” b/w “Echo” single is now available for preorder through Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, and Amazon. Preorders through megamart.subpop.com will receive a limited edition version of the 7” pressed on clear purple vinyl (while supplies last).
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Dum Dum Girls’ digital single for “Coming Down” (radio edit) b/w “Girls Intuition” is also now available for purchase through Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes and all streaming services. Both songs were available exclusively on very limited edition 7” vinyl.
In 2011, prior to the release of Dum Dum Girls’ second album Only In Dreams, Dee Dee met up with friend and director Sam Macon while visiting New York City to shoot a video for song “Coming Down.” “Bedroom Eyes” was tapped as the lead single (Macon also directed that video), but everyone felt “Coming Down” warranted its own introduction. In true DIY fashion, Dee Dee, Sam, and a few friends spent a day shooting in Chinatown, chasing light across the Williamsburg bridge.
Having only previously worked with director Christin Turner on more aesthetically obscure videos, Dee Dee admits, “I couldn’t handle starring in such a straight forward, HD role — it was just too much me. I felt exposed and that made me uncomfortable.”
Against the urging of Macon, Sub Pop, and her management, Dee Dee made the call against releasing it and it was canned. (Future bass player Malia James eventually made the official video for the song.)
Fast forward to 2015 and a sync of the song on the acclaimed television series Orange Is The New Black. Soundtracking Natasha Lyonne’s character in a heartbreaking scene brought on an overwhelming response to the song, and this renewed interest found Dee Dee being asked, yet again, to release the initial video.
“I look like a kid in it,” Dee Dee comments. “I look as young and vulnerable as I actually was at that point in my life — it’s probably the most honest visual I’ve done to date, which is probably why I fought it,” she laughs. She reached out to Macon and he replied simply, “I’ve been waiting for this text for four years (see Stereogum video premiere July 21st)
Dum Dum Girls’
digital single for “Coming Down” (radio edit) b/w “Girls Intuition” is now
available for purchase through Sub Pop Mega
Mart, iTunes and
all streaming services.