Reviews of In Search of the Family Gredunza:

From Shindig:

Although this is a debut album from the Washington DC band, these recordings date across 30 years and three different lineups.  Michael Bennet and Bob Primosch have been the only constant throughout but their punky, DIY take on early Creation and Flying Nun acts has barely diminished in the passing years.

Like kindred spirits the Television Personalities, whose “How I Learned to Love the Bomb” closes this album, The Dupont Circles wear their psych-pop and ‘60s garage influences on their polka-dot sleeves.  In amongst some spunky, shambling originals they also pay homage to “Tales of Flossie Fillet” by Turquoise and the Times’ “Jokes on Zandra.”  Meanwhile, their lysergic “Tick Tock” has more than a passing resemble to the song of the same name by Les Fleur De Lys off-shoot Shyster.  With rubbery bass lines, nonchalant deadpan vocals and a C86-era indie jangle, it’s unswervingly rudimentary but a hoot nonetheless. 

From Ugly Things:

Thirty years is a long time to wait for a debut album, but such is the fate of the Washington DC-based Dupont Circles with their In Search of the Family Gredunza.  Some of the 15 tracks, which date back to 1990, have appeared on compilations in Italy and Japan and the band has contributed a track to a Television Personalities tribute series.  However, this is their first appearance as a wholly separate album.

The results are mixed.  Most of the songs are competently played by a classic trio of guitar, bass and drums, one step up from three-chord garage rock (particularly appealing is the more pop-flavored singles, “Sarah the Weather Girl,” released in 1995).  But the mix is uneven and a bit muddy in places and the sung-talked lyrics are quirky and enigmatic if not always intelligible.  In short, the Dupont Circles might have been, like many alternative bands, under the too powerful sway of REM.  But then, deeper into this collection, rolls a song like “53 Bicycles” (released in 1998 as a single); it’s a sad but rollicking tale of an unfortunate crime gone wrong (someone stole 53 bikes and a dead body is found?). This is followed by a version of Turquoise’s “Tales of Flossie Fillet,” a refreshingly breezy Kinks-like ballas in the best Ray Davies-as-dance-hall-entertainer mode; and then, there’s “The Trip,” a slice of psychedelia driven along by a Brian Auger-worthy organ riff that seems to come out of nowhere.  What happened?  Well, consulting the sparse liner notes in this otherwise handsome package, I learned that these tracks were the work of that original trio (Michael Bennet, guitars, organ; Bob Primosch, drums, vocals; Kelly Ross, bass, organ) now augmented by two newer members, keyboard player Amit Chatterjie and lead guitarist Jonah Carnemark.  On a recent long car trip, I found myself playing these three songs over and
over again.

Maybe the perfect way to appreciate the Dupont Circles (whose name derives from a once-hip, now gentrified DC neighborhood) is via a boom box in a moving vehicle.  At any rate, it’s nice to know that the band has only just now begun to hit their collective stride.

From Dagger:

Wow, this mysterious Washington, DC band has been spoken about in hushed tones for, well, decades.  Prior to this debut album, they released a coupla singles and . . . that was it. Well, here it is 15 songs, some old and some newer.  The band is the brainchild of one Michael Bennet who plays guitar and organ while his partner in crime, Bob Primosch, is on vocals and drums (and occasional piano).  They’ve had a few bass players over the years but the current one Mike Kerwin has been with the band for nearly two decades (ok, let’s not consider him the new guy anymore).  The songs are bright, whimsical, occasionally off-kilter and always interesting and fun.  “Psychedelic tinged indie pop?”?  Sure . . . I didn’t coin that term but it fits as good as any.  “Everywhere Girl” will get you to dip your big toe in while “Man in the Snuff Shop” snaps it up with the snazzy beat and some cool trumpet.  Later on “Wonder” has some real cool guitar playing (and reminded me a little of the Television Personalities who I know the band are big fans of and they even cover their “How I Learned to Love the Bomb” on here) and “My Picasso Girlfriend”, off their 2nd single from ’98, is another very fine one.  Unless you happened to catch one of those (rare) singles or compilation tracks then this band will be new to you so 2020 is a perfect time to discover the oldest new band out there!

From When You Motor Away:

We are very happy to be featuring In Search of the Family Gredunza.  Not because of any particular affection for the Gredunza clan, we don’t think we
have met them and we ae certain that we don’t owe them any money.  However, we feel a kinship with The Dupont Circles, a band that has been around in one form or another for three decades and whose name appears to be taken from
the DC landmark and neighborhood Dupont Circle.  And that happens to be a neighborhood that one of us lived in a bit over 30 years ago.  So really, the
band an WYMA are like cousins.  Cousins who have never met, to be clear, but
kin is kin.

And what have our non-kissing cousins created? A veritable cornucopia of garage psychedelic pop.  Think Syd Barrett and Dan Treacy (Television Personalties) working their magic direct to tape in your garage with stories of colorful characters and memorable encounters, and you have it.  It is comprised of l6 songs culled from their decades of work and recorded over the last five years.  This is the kind of album The Dupont Circles have deserved to deliver for years.  For whatever reason, they didn’t. But thanks to Canadian label The Beautiful Music, their work is available to charm us all.

From Vivonzeureux (Translated from French):

I have known Wally Salem and his label The Beautiful Music since at least 2007, thanks to his series of compilations in homage to Television Personalities. A long-term project, to which I even contributed as a bonus to volume 3, which will eventually consist of ten volumes. The fifth is currently in preparation. But beyond this series, The Beautiful Music has become over the years a label recognized in the circle of the International Pop Underground, a true passionate independent label which, from its base in Canada, gives a chance to artists and Welsh, Scottish, American, Spanish or Canadian groups.

Among the new publications of this fall that Wally kindly offered me (he is also known to inflate the packages of orders he sends with bonuses and surprises ...!), There are in particular some very good albums by Exploding Flowers and Lisa Mychols & Super 8.

And then there's this debut album from The Dupont Circles, a band whose name comes from a roundabout and neighborhood in Washington, the band's hometown. The title, In search of the family Gredunza surely refers to a 1971 cartoon adapted from the book The cat in the hat by Dr. Seuss. There are several references to this Gredunza family and actor Allan Sherman, who plays the role of the cat, sings a song about it.

The cover is very successful, with what looks like a surreal collage of engravings. It instantly reminded me of the 25 o 'clock from the Dukes of Stratosphear, which was itself a pastiche of psychedelic sixties art.

It is therefore the first album of this group ... thirty years after its formation! Over this long period, the group has experienced three main incarnations, with guitarist and organist Michael Bennet and drummer-singer Bob Primosch as the central core.

The group had previously released two 45s, Sarah the weather girl in 1995 and The 53 bicycles EP, of which we find here five of the six tracks, to which are added new tracks covering all the periods of the group. It seems that The Dupont Circles likes to take its time: this compilation project would have taken five years to complete.

On the music side, we discover, unsurprisingly at The Beautiful Music, a noisy pop tinged with psychedelia, with several titles that have a fairly marked garage sound. In a style and with similar influences, with also a long course, I thought of listening to the German Francophiles The Truffauts, which I would see moreover in the catalog of The Beautiful Music.

The band's influences are reflected in the three covers on the program: Tales of Flossie Fillet, originally a 1968 B-side of Turquoise; Joke's on Zandra, an excellent version of a song from The Times that I didn't know, which appeared in 1985 on Go! with The Times; and of course the very good cover of How I learned to love the bomb, previously published on volume 4 of the tributes to Television Personalities. On this occasion, I just realized with horror that I reviewed the original maxi of TVPs twice five years apart, in 2012 then in 2017 when my book Journal d'un fan de bedroom. It is all the more stupid that, the second time, I could have chosen instead the small 45 rpm, which has a cover and different B sides.

As for the original songs, I found that I tend to prefer the unreleased songs to the singles, even though I like Everywhere girl, 53 bicyles, the instrumental Sputnik and Sarah the weather girl. And so, my favorite original is The man in the snuff shop, and I also particularly like The trip, Locked away, which reminds me of friends Jasmine Minks, Wonder and the rather garage Get down off my back and Tick tock.

I have never met Wally and I will probably never see The Dupont Circles in concert, but our shared passion for music brings us together and it feels like they are old friends, members of a network that goes around. of the world.

From Monolith Cocktail:

The combination of the majestic jangle of C86 and Beatle boots is and can be a thing of great beauty, especially when it is performed with the vigour and enthusiasm that the near legendary in some circles cult band The Dupont Circles give it.  A debut album that has taken 30 years to arrive and now brought to us by the beautiful in name and beautiful in nature and music Beautiful Music records. 

The Dupont Circles love a good melody and a witty lyric and a 60s garage rock guitar riff: the track “Tick Tock” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rubbles comp; a rather marvellous adventure of a track as would the psyche tinged Joe Meek like following instrumental “Sputnik”.  My personal favourite track on this album though is the wonderful Television Personalities like “53 Bicycles” – there is also a cover of the TVPs’ “How I Learned to Love the Bomb.” This album is a joyful romp through the magical world of The Dupont Circles; a world where the guitar and Farfisa organ is king and the national anthem alternates between “My Generation” and “I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives”.  A rather marvellous land I want to move to immediately.

From Pure Pop 4 Now People:

Thirty years (give or take) in the making, The Dupont Circles from Washington, D.C., have finally released their debut album In Search of the Family Gredunza (The Beautiful Music).

Working with the band over the last five years, Wally Salem’s The Beautiful Music label put together an album that covers all of The Dupont Circles sounds from jangle and garage to mid-60’s British pop.

R.E.M. was one of the most influential American bands of the 1980s.  So it’s not surprising that early songs from The Dupont Circles, like “Everywhere Girl” and “My Picasso Girlfriend,” have the joyous jangle that Peter Buck inherited from Roger McGuinn and George Harrison.

At other times, The Dupont Circles put down their Rickenbackers and turned up the volume on a cheesy organ to make a sound that harked back to The Sir Douglas Quintet and ? And the Mysterians.  “How I Learned to Love the Bomb” and “Sarah the Weather Girl” are perfect examples and “Get Down Off My Back” is The Rolling Stones’ “Get Off Of My Cloud” played by a bar band.

In between, The Dupont Circles dipped their toes into Ray Davies territory.  “Man in the Snuff Shop” is a musical mind meld between Peter Buck and The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society.  “Tales of Flossie Fillet” is a delightful call back to mid-period Kinks’ songs like “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” and “Sunny Afternoon.”

From Cloudberry Cake Proselytism:

I should try to interview this amazing Washington D.C. band especially now that they have released “In Search of the Family Gredunza” on the great label The Beautiful Music.  This compilation includes their classic songs form the 90s, like the top “Everywhere Girl”.  It is a must have! 

From International Pop Overthrow:

The album was a long time coming; several of the songs were originally recorded between 1990 and 2003, but it was worth the wait.  The Washington, DC combo features songs written by guitarist Michael Bennet and sung by drummer Bob Primosch, and all are the kind of ‘80s UK styled meaty jangle featuring the kind of off-kilter vocals which will remind one of bands like Television Personalities; in fact, the band covers the Television Personalities tune, “How I Learned to Love the Bomb”.  Another bonus is a cover of the ‘60s pop/psych classic by Turquoise, “Tales of Flossie Fillet”! Solid tune throughout.  Bonus points to anyone who knows the origin of “gredunza”. 

From The Big Takeover:

Washington, D.C. combo The Dupont Circles are a snappy blast of Television Personalities-inspired guitar pop infused with the kind of grainy atmospherics Flying Nun used to dispense.

From Pop Lib:

Psychedelic Sunday service resumes with “The Trip” from The Dupont Circles “In Search of the Family Gredunza” album released late 2020.  The Dupont Circles are a Washington DC psychedelic garage pop band and “The Trip” meets all the classic garage-psych requirements from thrashing guitar to swirling organ, and, in this case, explorations of the inner mind with the help of psychedelic pharmaceuticals.

The album is a career-spanning compilation as the track-listing is made up on three eras of the band, starting in 1990 and running through to the present day.  Constants in the evolving line-ups are main songwriter Michael Bennet (guitars and organ) and Bob Primosch (drums and vocals).

They were formed originally as The Spills in 1988 in Washington D.C. and soon morphed into The Dupont Circles.  Early recordings include several rare 7” singles on the Cara Records label and after than several appearances on compilations, on labels like March Records, Planting Seeds Records, Japan’s Rover Records, and Italy’s Lost in Tyme label.  That was the kind of glacial
pace the band have operated to over 30 years – the odd single or track
on a compilation.

While there’s obviously a Pebbles/Nuggets type vive [to] the band and the songs, there’s also a link to the sounds of the garage-psych revival in the UK in the second half of the 1980s. UK Label Bam-Caruso did it’s own “Rubble” series of psych compilations, and it was the heyday of bands like The Thanes and the Television Personalities.  The Dupont Circles do a fine line in that very British kind of wry or whimsical everyday life observational songwriting.

The Dupont Circles “In Search of the Family Gredunza” is another fine release on the Canadian label The Beautiful Music.

From Polaroid:

Pop Lib is one of my favorite blogs.  Ian Henderson, who runs Fishrider Records (Dunedin), focuses on New Zealand and Australia, but every not and then expands past both.  A few days ago, he posted about The Dupont Circles, a Washington, D.C. band that has been around since the late 80’s.

My initial reaction to a few songs was they belong on Captured Tracks’ excellent Strum & Thrum compilation.  But there is also an undeniable 1960s psych/garage feel (The Creation).  Finally, they do an outstanding cover of Television Personalities “How I Learned to Love the Bomb” (along with “Sputnik” and “Tick Tock” there is a Cold War/nuclear vibe on this record).

Sometimes the vocals remind me of The Patels – slightly off-key but somehow still amazing.

This is being released by The Beautiful Music.  Every time I’ve bought something from them, extras are included.

From Into Creative: 

It would be a fair assumption that after 30 odd years as a band and with nothing more than a few singles and some hard to track down compilation tracks, the chances of a fully-fledged album release by the Washington D.C. popsters would be difficult to grasp, but . . . 

That debut album is here and tracks the band’s career to date.  Taking over five years to bring it together, it really has been a labour of love collaboration between the band and their label The Beautiful Music.  First track Everywhere Girl is a lo-fi indie burner and reminds of Murmer era R.E.M.  Further on, Joke’s on Zandra is a straight-up post punk, no frills rocker, whereas My Picasso Girlfriend would easily fit it within the sound of C86/Creation.

The band loosen their belts on Get Down Off My Back, a stomping Carnaby Street/60s-infused garage belter.  Elsewhere, Sarah the Weather Girl (with an intro very similar to Do It Clean by Echo & The Bunnymen) is perhaps the
stand out track, a tale of forlorn love coupled with infectious hooks and great guitar outro. 

From Pennyblack Music:

Way back in in the mid 90s, the great US indiepop label March Records released a compilation called ‘Pop American Style’, with a bunch of amazing bands (like Rocketship, Holiday, My Favorite, The Push Kings, Tullycraft and Kleenex Girl Wonder), and towards the end of the first disc I found ‘Everywhere Girl’ by the Dupont Circles. The song was taken from the band’s debut single, ‘Sarah The Weather Girl’, released in 1995 on the small Cara label, and I quickly found their second EP, ‘The 53 Bicycle EP’, which had come out three years later. But then there was nothing. Until now. 

This album, or compilation you might even called it, contains recordings made by the three different incarnations of the band, from 1990 until recent years. The aforementioned singles were recorded by the first line-up, containing drummer/singer Bob Primosch, bass player/organist Kelly Ross and guitarist/organist Michael Bennet. Primosch and Bennet are the only two members that have been in all three line-ups, whereas the second one had Mike Kerwin replace Ross as bass player in 2003, and then in 2010, the trio were joined by guitarist Jonas Carnemark and organist/pianist Amit Chatterjie (the two new members also plays in the band HüsBand with Kerwin). The different line-ups have been recording every now and then during the past thirty years, and now the recordings are compiled on this CD, arranged in no order at all. 

The CD kicks off with ‘Everywhere Girl’, which is still a great pop song, heavily inspired by the 80’s Athens scene, and bands like REM and Dreams So Real, with its prominent bass line and jangly guitars. The rest of the songs from this early period are really good as well, like ‘My Picasso Girlfriend’ and ‘Sarah The Weather Girl’, all having a nice college rock feel to them. I’m a bit surprised to see that they weren’t produced by Mitch Easter 

From the “middle period”, 2003-2010, we are only treated to three songs, and they are not as good as the aforementioned bunch of songs, but they are still quite okay, with a heavy use of organs, which makes them sound a bit like The Tables, a fantastic Norwegian band that was active in more or less the same period (check them out if you haven’t already), or like Television Personalities (whose ‘How I Learned to Love the Bomb’ from 1986 is covered here)? 

Then we get to the latest incarnation, and this is where I lose interest in them. The band doesn’t know what kind of band they want to be, and it just makes it quite horrible for me to listen to. They decide to have a go at ‘Joke’s On Zandra’, originally written by Ed Ball and recorded with his band The Times in the mid-80s, and then two songs later they sound like a blues rock band (you know like the one in the fantastic movie ‘Ghost World’) on ‘Get Down Off My Back’ and a garage rock band on ‘On The Bus’. But not everything is pitch black here. ‘Tales of Flossie Fillet’ reminds me of Neil Innes (it’s mostly the voice, though), which is always a good thing. 

So, all in all, this is far too erratic to be really enjoyable. But, if you program your CD player to play the early songs, you have yourself a nice little mini- album. And that’s not too bad. 

From the San Diego Troubadour:

The basics: 15 tracks recorded between 1990 and 2018 by three distinct lineups of the Dupont Circles.  As might be expected with a nearly two-decade span of recordings, the sound varies between tracks, with several covers amongst the originals, including the Times’ “Joke’s on Zandra” and the Television Personalities’ “How I Learned to Love the Bomb.” Plenty of inspired, 1960s-influenced rock is to be found here, with a potential single in the Small Faces’-styled garage punk rocker “Get Down Off My Back.” Also good is the slightly lo-fi psychedelic, practically spoken-word tune, “Tick Tock.”

From Pop-a-Looza:

The Dupont Circles produce a nifty brand of power pop, but they sure to take a looong time getting the stuff out.  The tracks on their long player, In Search of
the Family Gredunza, took some 30 years to percolate and see the light of day.  
Our fave rave is Jokes on Zandra, a rough and ready rocker that recalls the
best of The Replacements,  with a dash of the Davies’ brothers thrown in for good measure. 

From Razorcake:

A totally unknown quantity to me – although this band has been around with various lineups since at least 1990 – as this debut album brings together recordings from between then and 2018.  Musically, it has been described as coming under the banner of psychedelic indie pop, but to me it makes me think of XTC, They Might Be Giants, and Half Man Half Biscuit, all of which I like a lot.  There are loads of catchy melodies, interesting lyrics, and moments when I find myself hitting repeat for certain songs.  This really caught me unawares.  Given there are three lineups across three decades, this album doesn’t lose any sense of what the band started doing as the timeline progresses.  If you liked the recent Strum and Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987 collection then I’d imagine this could be up your street. 

Reviews of the 53 Bicycles EP:

From Losing Today: 

Three Piece from Washington, D.C.  Follow up to the highly sought after deleted debut Sarah the Weather Girl.  The press release screams out the usual cool reference points, names like Joe Meek, Soft Boys and Syd Barrett after a while you get to become cynical and dismissive given that a great deal of bands afforded similar comparisons are often buried beneath the pressure to perform and deliver.  Thankfully there is a ring of truth to the expectancy of the Dupont Circles.  All four tracks that make up this EP were recorded between 1997 and 1998, and see them having a more than accomplished grasp of tightly focused 60's pop.  Jangling guitars kick in from the off on the opener My Picasso Girlfriend that recalls the mid 80's shades pop of the Weather Prophets and has hints beneath of prime time poppified REM, making it one of those tracks that is guaranteed to be at the top of the list when a Nuggets type retrospective is compiled in many years to come when we are all a lot older and hopefully wiser.  Inch Worm is equally alluring with a vague taste of the Byrds, so much so that it could’ve easily have stepped straight from the monochrome TV sets of the late 60's and right into the Technicolor present.  Sputnik a very Joe Meek title if truth be had, an instrumental that tongue in cheek pays a debt to the eccentric pioneer by loosely it seems, reworking the Tornados Telstar in a manner of fashion that it.  My personal favourite is the last track 53 Bicycles a haunting whodunit set to a western style theme packed with a cabinet full of lysergic trimmings and a trippy Munsters like spiralling lead guitar more than enough to melt the mind.

From Kissing the Cat:

Much like Mike at HHBTM I love the 4 song single.  It just feels like you are getting such a deal when picking up the single, sure the sound quality can suffer, but you could never tell with this single.  4 songs that recall Kleenex Girl Wonder doing their best Paul Weller and Ray Davies impressions without a doubt.  What is really sad is that the Dupont Circles are one of the best bands out there right now, but they have only 2 7"s and a few compilation tracks.  Someone please light a fire under this band and get them working again.  

From Dagger:

These 4 pop tunes are harmless fun and the a-side has a cool organ on My Picasso Girlfriend while Inch Worm was slower and reverby.  The 2 songs on the flip had more of that cool organ and were kinda Modern Lovers-ish.

From Ptolemaic Terrascope:

The 3 O’Clock sang of A Cantaloupe Girlfriend (huh?) And now we get Bob Primosch, vocalist of Washington, DC’s The Dupont Circles laying lavish bouquets at the feet of his Picasso Girlfriend. (7").  If she resembles one of the subjects from Pablo’s cubist period I’d suggest Bob makes a speedy visit to a local Specsavers just to make sure his other half hasn’t undergone some cruel facial deconstruction.  His band however display no gnarly bits whatsoever; four cuts of upful pop garage (with a lower case “g”).  Cheap and cheerful organ trails make the Sputnik instro a major high point with one of those melodies that was last heard of coming from a bakelite transistor somewhere in pre-Profumo era Britain.

From IndiePages:

Great jangly pop single from this DC band that takes as much influence from 60s psych-pop bands as it does from the late 80s British scene of the Servants, Weather Prophets, & McTells. The frequent use of farfisas remind me of the Blind Bats, too. The two songs on the first side take the 80s pop sound (and adds a bit of Honeybunch in, as well). The b-side is more 60s influenced, with "Sputnik" being a farfisa-led instrumental. Unfortunately, it sounds unfinished, like there wasn't enough time to fit the lyrics in. Though this single just came out, the songs were recorded in 1997-98; and their only other single came out in 1995... It sound like someone needs to get this band more motivated - I don't want to wait until 2004 to hear more! 

From Cookie Scene (translated from original Japanese):

They are not focused on ever, kind of overlooked even though they were included on the epoch-making indie compilation Pop American Style (March).  And then this 2nd single with 4 (+1) songs came out as an EP took 3 years to be realized by themselves.  Starting over with a song called My Picasso Girlfriend which was covered by The Tables,  and till the end of the record, filled by sounds of Psyche Pop, as far as I can dream about from the word.  I mean it’s fabulous.  Recommended to all the fans of Silly Pillows, Tree Fort Angst and 60's UK freakbeat bands.  I’ve heard Cara Records planned to put out another fab of us, Loch Ness Mouse 7" next . . . dream on.

- Kenji Sekioka

From Bee’s Knees

This band has many things going for them just reading the sleeve, one they have Geoff Turner (senator flux/grey matter) and trevor holland at the controls, two they did more than two tracks on the Ep., and third they have a great R.E.M. sound that brings to mind Chronic Town Ep.  If you got to sound like R.E.M. then there is no better record to take from than that Ep.  Dupont Circles have become no more if I am correct, and that alone should have the public outraged.  Please email or write the folks at Cara Records demanding more.

- Mike Turner

From I am Cancer/lo-fi junk:

Reminiscent stylewise of an old Harriet Records release, this Washington, DC band gives forth a fine slab of double clacka clacka custard garage pop and strange instrumental carnival oddities.  Little do they know of the blues, and mikey likes his sugar coated site . . . plus the hot guitar licks.  Bobby likes songs about painters, worms, rockets, and or course bicycles.  How diverse!

From Splendid:

By day, one of The Dupont Circles is a telecommunications attorney.  By night, he’s magically transformed into a psych-inspired garage rocker, prone to brittle melodies and lo-fi, Television Personalities-inspired pop.  The identities of the remaining members of this trio are shrouded in secrecy, but they share a love for discreet pop rhythms, twee and garage, as does the aforementioned communications counselor.

The Circles timewarp back into nebulous musical territory, circa the 70s.  While not as innocent or stirring as Dan Treacy’s TVPs output, My Picasso Girlfriend and Inch Worm employ frank, memorable melodies.  There are even references to Love and The Velvet Underground -- gently strummed guitar, hazy psychedelic chords and tinny drums.  The breakdown occurs when the vocals emerge.  The soft-spoken phrases lack confidence — probably due to elementary lyrics and overly predictable rhyming scheme.  The band’s warm and charming music is drowned out by dreary verses and their insipid presentation.

Fortunately, the flipside has better results, beginning with the instrumental Sputnik.  Carnival-like organ treads lightly over a gritty garage underpinning, creating a psychedelic surf classic.  The EP’s title track, 53 Bicycles, saves The Dupont Circles from total verbal vacuousness — the vocalist spins a surrealistic crime story, set to twee pop.

Side B proves that The Circles have the ability to do better work than much of what’s heard here.

- Andrew Magilow

From Shredding Paper:

Pretty nice psych-tinged indie pop of the post-TV Personalities variety that peaks on the carnival-organ-driven post-surf instro “Sputnik.”  Recorded back in the late 90s, so you have to wonder what they could come up with nowadays (assuming they still exist).

Mini-reviews of The 53 Bicycles EP:

Detour (Great new release from this US mod combo.  This release has a real Television Personalities feel to it — 4 tracks of great late 60's orientated mellow vibes - Man!)

Reviews of Sarah the Weather Girl
From Magnet Magazine (Back from the Garage?):

There’s also something engaging about a band’s debut.  There’s so much hope, enthusiasm and just plain giddiness in getting out that first release, and that proud moment often produces some of the best garage/psych sounds.  Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circles are a prime example, with Sara the Weather Girl and Everywhere Girl serving as happy, bouncy snapshots of a band just getting up to take its first walk.  The prevalent pop feel doesn’t overwhelm the band’s obvious garage appreciation, and it will be interesting to see what shape the Dupont Circles are in for their followup.

 - Tim Gassen

From Vinyl Injections:

Here’s a new garage infected band from the Washington DC area.  This one is cool because it doesn’t overdo the garage in their sound and comes off sounding more natural as a result.  This one is NOT fuzz punk, just a cool garagey sound.  The production values favor the guitars over the vocals and in turn create a somewhat murky feeling to the songs.

From Hmmm . . . Magazine:

Really cool, sixties pop fueled by a grinding organ sound and roaring guitar riffs.  The flip side is another cool tune called Everywhere Girl, sounding a bit like REM’s Driver 8.  If you like the Boss Martians you will probably dig A-side on this one.  If REM’s your cup-o-tea then you’ll like the B-side.

- Sean Berry

From The Teen Scene:

I think I’d really love The Dupont Circles if their singer didn’t have such an annoyingly indie-pop voice.  I mean, the beginning guitar chords of Sarah The Weather Girl (Cara Records) and drumming suggest a solid garage, no-BS stoicism that’s always gotten me psyched.  It’s got some strong instrumental sections, as well.  The flip tends more to the light psych/pop area, but jangles nicely . . .

Mini-reviews of Sarah the Weather Girl:

Detour (Great new US 60's orientated organ based mod band)

Roundabout (two catchy pop songs with funky organs and other 60's influences)

Jigsaw (Two really ACE pop songs maybe in a 60s or early Creation vein)

Shelflife (Wow!  The great debut from this DC band.  Two songs in a old Creation vein.  Jangly at times!  Listen to them on the PAS CD!)

Four Letter Words (this band belongs with Mousefolk, Mctells, and the rest of the 88 bunch.  Fun fun fun!)

Mind the Gap (the flip is great and sounds nearly like Honeybunch or Small Factory when they were good, side a a bit 60's-ish and nicked a riff from Do it clean)

Reviews of Holding Hands Under a Cloudless Sky:

From A Pessimist is Never Disappointed:

If you enjoyed the recent Television Personalities reissues from Fire Records, reviewed by me here, I think it's safe to say that you're going to love the new Television Personalities tribute album from Called Holding Hands Under A Cloudless Sky - A Tribute To The Television Personalities: Vol. 4, the set features a whole lot of great contemporary indie bands covering the songs of Dan Treacy and Television Personalities. . . . I live only 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C., and yet somehow I've never heard of The Dupont Circles but I am on the lookout now thanks to their gnarly cover of "How I Learned To Love The Bomb" here, all punk-y attitude and bad intent.

Reviews of Dreaming Up the Perfect Pop:

From All Music Guide:

The '60s-themed album cover images of three young girls with bouffant hairdos, bright floral-print sleeping bags, and a stack of 45s perfectly convey the essence of the giddy indie pop encompassed by the 21 songs on Dreaming Up the Perfect Pop. . . [T]he music on this Planting Seeds Records compilation seems to have flawlessly captured all the sparkling moments of an ideal summer day, albeit a summer day in the late '60s. Fans of Britain's Earworm Records, the Orange Twin and Elephant Six scenes, and groups like Elliott Smith, the Apples in Stereo,Moviola, and the Turtles should have some idea of the sort of bliss pop
to expect here. . . While performers like the Dupont Circles, Kleenex Girl Wonder, and Paula Kelley offer up songs that shake off a little of the sunny sleepiness
of the other tracks, the album still plays it pretty low-key, making it the
perfect soundtrack to a listless June day, or a great way to warm up in the
middle of winter. 

From The Big Takeover:

Hey kids, don’t write indie pop off just yet -- not while high quality scene comps like this are (still) coming out.  The shoegazey element that afflicted lots of early-90's US indiepop appears to have been exorcised, as today’s janglers are writing deft little pop tunes with tasty chord changes, inventive arrangements and legit lyrics.  Standouts here include Astropop 3, Mary Kate O’Neill, Kleenex Girl Wonder, The Dupont Circles, and the Heavy Blinkers.

From Losing Today:

‘Dreaming up the Perfect Pop’ is aptly titled, providing a chance to window shop 21 of the sweetest sounds around at the moment.  Some names may be familiar, some ought to be household favourites shortly, all have in common their immense sense of melodic pop direction. . . . Talking of cherry picking as we were, it seems to me a trite unfair that we single out a few selected tracks as they all, in their own special way, are minor classic cuts that is if you like your pop either jangly, sentimental, sophisticated, honest and above all summery sounding, so here goes. . . Shed a tear through the melancholic daydream pastiche created by the Dupont Circles on the awesome ‘Heaven Holler’ another band that may be worth keeping an eye out for in the future.

Reviews of Pop American Style:

From Option Magazine:

These days when you hear about a “pop band” you’re no more sure of what you’re getting than when you buy a lottery ticket.  So what we’ve got with Pop American Style, a sprawling compilation of 40 young bands, is the latest go-around for a style that’s less about loud crunchy hooks and more about jangly guitars, sweet vocals, perky melodies and a certain sense of idealism and timelessness.  The songs here still sport some variation; while many fit in the trebly “twee” category,, fuzzy guitars and keyboards also abound.  Ultimately, though, this compilation is uneven; while some new bands (like the Dupont Circles and Flowchart) offer up great pop songs, more than a few others float by wispy and faceless.  Still, if you like some of the better-known folks here -- like Cub, Tullycraft, Syrup U.S.A., Holiday, Heartworms, Superdrag and Bunnygrunt -- the pros of Pop American Style outweigh the cons, and you might find a few new bands to love.

- Lisa Gidley

From Incite! Magazine:

Pop American Style on March Records, . . . has collected a handful of songs from some of the better obscure pop singles from the past few years (by bands like Rocketship, the Receptionists, My Favorite, and the Dupont Circles -- get their ace record on the Cara label) 

Reviews of Starring Nao:

From Cookie Scene (translated from original Japanese):

The Spills There’s a Riot Going On. The next one here is slightly more in lo-fi/psychedelic thing which was played by pre-Dupont Circles (Washington D.C. band) band and yes, an exclusive one again.  This band never exist anything ever, then we could see the band themselves like an illusion, not only for this song.  However, here’s their most typical side of influenced by much 60's UK psychedelia such like Fire -- something pretty great.  Actually they have one more person with all of the same three of Dupont Circles.

Dupont Circles Safety is Joy. This is another exclusive song by Dupont Circles, one after band of The Spills on A-4 of this same cassette compilation.  They had a guest guitarist on here: superb Terry Banks, who is well known for his Tree
Fort Angst/Glo-Worm/St. Christopher/Saturday People, etc.  He helped greatly for this nice song (maybe even without him) for the next level.  Such a fantastic, super strike!!


OUT OF TIME – REM-Influenced Dupont Circles Release Debut Album 30 Years In The Making|PublishedMay 2, 2021

Washington DC psych-indie outfitThe Dupont Circles are celebrating the release of what must be one of the longest awaited debut albums in musical history.

The band is teaming up with Canadian label TBM Records to deliver In Search of the Family Gredunza – more than 30 years after the band first got together.

It’s a story that brings hope to journeymen part-time musicians everywhere and should once again shine a light on a group which first caused a stir with a scattering of recordings in the ’90s.

Matt Catchpole catches up with guitarist Michael Bennet to find out why it’s taken so long to get that difficult first album over the line.

Starting out asThe Spills in 1988, The Dupont Circles were formed by Michael with Bob Primoschon drums and vocals and Kelly Ross on bass.

The trio put out a debut single Sarah The Weather girl on Michael’s own imprint Cara Records in 1995, following up three years later with the 53 Bicycles EP.

Michael says those early releases made “a small ripple,” but failed to attract the attention the band was hoping for and Kelly left shortly afterwards.

“I guess I was probably inspired by the punk DIY ethic in doing the initial self-releases,” Michael remembers. “I didn’t think a label was going to be interested in putting something out by a totally unknown band [but]I knew people who had put out 7”s and it seemed doable.”

Kelly was replaced on bass by Michael’s old college pal Mike Kerwin who’d played alongside him“in post-punk instrumental combo” Lost Barbecue.

Both Kerwin and Bennet spent time in England and were influenced by bands on Alan McGee‘s Creation label, along with the psych-indie of bands like The Television Personalities.

“I’m a total anglophile,” Michael admits. “Mike, Bob, and I are all record geeks and absorbed tons of British music, from Merseybeat, freakbeat, and UK-pop psych, through punk, postpunk, Britpop, and beyond.

Contemporary reviewers likened the band to Chronic Town era REM – an inspiration Michael readily acknowledges.

“Starting out, our influences were REM, Robyn Hitchcock, Flying Nun, Creation Records, along with a smattering of ’60s garage.

“Some of the covers we used to play in the early days included songs by the Sea Urchins, Primal Scream, The Byrds, Flaming Groovies, Go Betweens, and, like virtually every band of that era, The Velvet Underground.”

After those early single releases, the band began looking to grow their profile by contributing to various compilations.

They also expanded to a five piece with the addition of Amit Chatterjie (keyboards) and second guitaristJonas Carnemark.

With a fuller sound, the Circles started playing more live shows at venues like The Red and Black and the Rock and Roll Hotel.

“Our big compilation appearance was on the seminalMarch Records indie pop compilation, Pop American Style, which was what really got the band known – to the limited extent that anyone actually knows who we are in the indie pop world,” Michael explains.

Released in 1995 Pop American Style featured the DuPont Circles’ song Everwhere Girl alongside contributions from bands such as Verbena, Dune Buggy and Rocket ship.

Further compilation appearances would follow as the band juggled recording with day jobs as lawyers and in engineering.

“At some point, tribute compilations became a thing, and I always liked the idea of contributing to those because covers could be worked up quickly and got us a little out of our usual niche,” Michael says.

It was a compilation and a mutual love of The TV Personalities that first brought Dupont Circles to the attention of Wally Salem of The Beautiful Music (TBM).

“We did a Television Personalities cover for Wally’s monumental TVP tribute series,” Michael says. “We’ve stayed in touch ever since though I’ve yet to meet him in the flesh.”

When a planned 2008 album release with UK label Marineville Records came to nought, it would be TBM who eventually stepped in with an offer.

Lost In Tyme – The Dupont Circles 21st Century Vintage

Even then it would be a further five years before the album was finally ready to go.

An interview with appropriately named Greek music zineLost In Tymerefers to Dupont Circles ‘glacial pace’ – something of an understatement when you consider the album’s 30-year gestation.

“With hindsight, sure I wish we’d released more records,” Michael admits. “In the ’90s we recorded at WGNS Studios with Geoff Turner. Since then we’ve recorded in Jonas’ home studio, which has been kind of a blessing and a curse.

“It gives us unlimited time to mess around with arrangements and overdubs, but conversely it becomes like a black hole, where you can keep experimenting and never actually end up finishing anything. Kind of the Brian Wilson Smile experience (without the sand),” he jokes.

Michael hopes it won’t take the band quite so long to deliver a follow up to In Search Of The Family Gredunza, which is named after a Dr Seuss animation.

“Now that we’ve learned the tricks of the trade, we’ve got some unreleased material and I’m still writing, so hopefully, this won’t be our last record,” he declares.

“But maybe I’m not the best person to ask!”


© 2024 The Dupont Circles.
All rights reserved.


© 2024 The Dupont Circles. All rights reserved.