Maha Music Festival headliner Garbage built their career on a stockpile of smart, alternative rock songs crafted with whipsmart pop sensibilities.
Their self-titled debut in 1995 launched mega-hit “Only Happy When It Rains” and several other successful singles followed. The band is the partnership between Nirvana producer Butch Vig, his compatriots Steve Marker and Duke Erickson with Scottish singer Shirley Manson.
In the years following those first hits, the band recorded three additional albums before going on an extended recording break in 2008. In 2011, the band reconvened and recorded Not Your Kind of People, which they released on their own independent label earlier this year.
Maha will actually bring Dum Dum Girl’s Kristin Gundred, who performs as Dee Dee, full circle, as her first big concert was a Garbage show in San Jose, Calif. Gundred was about 11 at the time, she told the Reader during a phone interview.
The Sub Pop Records-signed Dum Dum Girls also share a sonic kinship to Garbage, as they pair muscular guitar parts with a well-placed melodic sensibility. Dum Dum Girls’ sound draws on elements of 60s girl groups, shoegaze distortion and garage rock oomph.
Dum Dum Girls have also experienced evolution between their two albums, with 2010’s I Will Be showcases a lo-fi, nearly-solo recording project and 2011’s Only In Dreams hinging on the sound of a full band, road-seasoned and ready to roll.
“Very literally it takes practice and time to figure out what you’re doing,” Gundred says.
Fellow indie-darling Maha act Delta Spirit also knows the benefit of growth and change, having relocated from southern California to Brooklyn just as they were settling into a new lineup.
Singer Matt Vasquez says a wealth of sonic changes, as guitarist Will McLaren added his touch to the band, led to Delta Spirit going the self-titled route for their third album, which Rounder Records released earlier this year.
“We’re not casting off anything as much as we are opening up everything else,” Vasquez says.
Vasquez says he’s still amazed that the band has gotten to the point where they have enough recorded to constitute a catalogue. The California band began as a rowdy house party band, before their friends, the Cold War Kids, brought them on a national tour.
Now Delta Spirit is realizing their collective dream of playing their upbeat mix of folk-rock, indie rock and Northern soul across the country.
“This is the only thing any of us have wanted to do since we were seven years old and even younger than that,” Vasquez says.