New Music: Kristin Kontrol ‘X-Communicate’

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 Records. Tapped as the first single, “X-Communicate” melds new wave with synth pop in a slice of glistening cosmic disco. 

With Kristin Kontrol, Dee Dee made the decisive move to shed her skin, ditching Dee Dee – the name she had assumed for the 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 I’m silly, too; I smile a lot,” explains Kristin. “As the years went on, it was so weird that I kept so much of me out of what I was doing creatively.”

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 a record with typical rock vocals.”

With its synth-sax flourishes and new wave grooves, 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.

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 Brett 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.

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