When it comes to Dum Dum Girls music, boys figure pretty highly: Case in point, the Girls’ January-released album “Too True,” which once again results from head honcho Dee Dee Penny’s unique working relationship with producers Richard Gottehrer and Sune Rose Wagner. Gottehrer’s musical pedigree stretches from 1960s Brill Building pop, to working with Blondie and The Go-Go’s to his current role as co-manager of The Raveonettes. Wagner, of course is a member of the latter band, and the three have weaved in and out of each other’s musical lives for the past four years.
“I’m a very insular person,” explains Penny, whose real name is Kristin Welchez, half of which comes courtesy of husband and fellow musician, Brandon Welchez of Crocodiles.
“The music I make is very much a personal project; its creation is a very personal experience. The idea of working with anyone…” she pauses, as if recalling something painful. “Well, I’m a little cold to that idea. But when I met Richard, it was such a natural pairing. I had such a great respect for the many things he’d done in the past. It was Richard’s idea to bring Sune in. How he regards us as artists, Richard thinks about us in a similar way.”
Still, at the end of the day, this is her record, written alone in a couple of weeks in her Brooklyn apartment in-between touring. “Too True” sees the Northern Californian native stretching her pen-work to create songs with a more literary feel. Not that there isn’t the buzz-saw psych guitar workouts of old, but it’s a more vocal album, playing up the Dum Dums’ wall-of-sound girl group aspect. Given that Welchez actually lost her voice, delaying the record, that aspect is surprising.
“If you look at my track record up to this point, this was a very big stretch between releases,” Welchez says. “All because my voice crapped out on me. I had such significant vocal problems; I had three months where I didn’t sing at all, then six months of rehabilitating my voice and getting back to a place where I could finish the record. It was a physical problem that was also incredibly psychological. Basically, my whole thing was failing on me. It was a mind-f—, for sure.”