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Dave Cave's new record Baddie bursts with neon-clad club anthems. Cover art by Julia Byrom

Dave Cave is trading surf rock for MTV.

On the charismatic singer-songwriter’s new record, it’s out with the arpeggiated guitar lines and in with the synths. Where last year’s Summer Suite conjured heavy beach vibes, Baddie bursts with neon-clad club anthems.

“The [records] are like day and night,” Cave said, “so if Summer Suite is like the daytime, [Baddie] is going to the nightclub, and it’s everything that goes, good and bad, after dark.”

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The stark switch in styles owes only to the fact that Cave, a bassist primarily, wants to keep changing and doesn’t like to be held down by any one particular genre or sound.

And it’s not as if he’s a stranger to bangers. In 2021, he appeared on “Dance with Me,” a strobe-lit treat from North Texas EDM duo Yokyo, a.k.a. Hannah Witkowski and Samuel Culp. In 2022, Cave and Culp got back together in Arlington at The Cove, where they did some recording for Baddie. Peter Wierenga (Denver Williams, Tornup, Deep Sleepers) finished the four tracks at EMP Studios in Fort Worth.

Wierenga was “excellent,” Cave said. “Each project has been like a different story with its own mood. It was a natural process that started with [a] bassline and moved from there.”

Cave says the mostly instrumental Baddie is sort of like a rollercoaster. “The analogy goes with how I approach lyrics and structure. It’s like designing a ride.”

The title track starts off with heavy bass and keeps a fast pace as synths and chimes Cabbage Patch to grungy guitar riffs. “Automatic” thunders for nearly two minutes, like almost every other track, and really underlines Baddie’s after-dark mood.

The larger-than-life sound is fitting for Cave, a rockstar in any universe who’s played with A Flock of Seagulls, Krokus (!), and D-Rock from the Ying Yang Twins along with dozens of locals.

The larger-than-life sound of Baddie is fitting for Cave, a rockstar in any universe. Courtesy Juan Govea

“I get the enjoyment of music, and I understand a song can be more than a song sometimes,” he said. “My pops [Dave Cave Sr.] was a singer for a while and sold out shows at Bass Hall early on and performed at the White House by invitation, so I always thought of my music as a viable option. Music is something I’ve always done. It’s been a common theme in my life, so you do what you know, and you continue the family business.” — Juan R. Govea

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