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Dunes at Vacation Vinyl, Friday March 9th, 2012


At Vacation Vinyl, the quartet Dunes had drawn a large crowd for a Friday night, giving us a preview of their debut LP 'Noctiluca', after having released a bunch of other singles and an EP via Mexican Summer… isn’t it Best Coast’s label? Curiously, there were some songs that reminded me vaguely about Bethany Cosentino’s band, may be it was the fuzz of the guitars and the reverb of the vocals, however, there were many other influences in Dunes' dark-bright sound.


The music was most of the time slightly upbeat, Stephanie Chan’s vocals drenched in reverb and kind of buried in the layered guitars, at times evoking British bands of the 80s, The Cure or Siouxsie and the Banshees came to mind a few times, but it was only ephemeral.


They were playing in the dark the whole time, and I could only see their faces when I was flashing a picture, but it fitted quite well the mood, although it was not bleak music at all; their sound was rather revealing a brightness masking an underlying darkness. There was nothing completely catchy in the melodies, the songs had meanders and were more interested by creating an ambiance, mellowing down or going into some fast and ferocious machine-gun drumming assured by drummer Kate Hall.


The two girls, who were doing all the talking, announced they were about to film a video for one of their songs, and invited us to another show the following day at the Echoplex, as they were opening for Crocodiles.


Reading about their bio, I realized that, like their atmospheric sound, the band is a patchwork of other bands as it is often the case: Kate Hall is an ex-member of Mika Miko, Stephanie Chan played in both Austin bands Finally Punk and The Carrots, guitarist Mark Greshowak was in Talbot Tagora, and I am not sure about the other guy.


Dunes has recently signed to PPM (Post Present Medium), the label of No Age’s drummer Dean Spunt, and were celebrating the release of their new LP Noctiluca at Vacation Vinyl. If their sound was less sunny than Best Coast’s, and  less punk than those of the bands they are born from, they seemed to explore this frontier between shadow and light.

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