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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, September 29

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« Review: Portishead @ Aragon Ballroom, 10/12 Lampo presents its Fall 2011 series »

Concert Sat Oct 15 2011

Review: Dum Dum Girls @ Empty Bottle, 10/14

Slowly but surely, I think Dee Dee is finally figuring out that nobody really cares about the Dum Dum Girls all that much. The black-haired songwriter whose real name is Kristen Gundred has gently eased her band's way into our collective consciousness with a slew of 7"s and EPs over the last three years, acting as a reluctant pioneer for the surge in lady-fronted bands that create glimmering '60s ballads with a hefty dose of elbow grease over the same time span. But while bands like Vivian Girls, Best Coast, and Puro Instinct are all losing favor for their own reasons, everything for the Dum Dum Girls has come to a head now. The quartet sold out the Empty Bottle Friday night, and their new LP, Only In Dreams, has cast away most of the complaints anyone might have had about the complexity of their performance.

Dum Dum Girls' back catalog is an impressive collection of quick, loose hooks and shy, charming vocals; but Only In Dreams is a mostly slow-burning affair between Dee Dee's powerful vocals and instrumentation that seems to shy away from its intimidating presence. Like, where the hell did that come from?

But it all makes for a far superior live show. Not many bands can make timid lo-fi pop songs compelling, and fewer yet can even stand next to those supplied by opener Colleen Green. Dee Dee has the ultimate trump in all this, though, and it honestly doesn't matter what else is going on behind her. Her bandmates strum power chords and coo backing vocals, but the Dum Dum Girls show starts and ends with the singer.

Not to say their old stand-by's don't still carry some weight. The cuts off I Will Be (specifically "Jail La La") were fun-filled forays into the fast and fun delinquent-grrrl aesthetic, but there isn't much meat there for the taking.

Dee Dee & Co. filled in the rest with generous amounts of vocal flexing. They closed the night with "Coming Down," a track off Only In Dreams in which Dee Dee throws her voice over a punishing cliff and spreads itself out to cover the gulf below. It was a grand display of towering force. And forget everything else about the Dum Dum Girls — that was nothing but Dee Dee.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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