Aside from the false start prompted by the accidental discovery of a song I liked, welcome to my music section proper! Here I will pay tribute to bands/singers that I like, and in the instances where they are not particularly well know, hopefully increase their exposure a little too! The first recipient of this honour is one I discovered under somewhat dubious circumstances…
It was a good few years ago now that I accidentally discovered the amusing comedy film, But I’m A Cheerleader. It’s an unusual but funny film which I may cover in more detail here at a later date. However, among its more notable points is the fantastic soundtrack it features. I liked a lot of its songs, but two in particular stuck with me. After a bit of investigation I discovered the band responsible.
Hailing from Denver, Colorado, the curiously-named Dressy Bessy are an indie-pop/rock four-piece originally formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and guitarist, Tammy Ealom, bassist, Rob Greene, and drummer, Darren Albert, and before long they were joined by second guitarist and childhood friend of Rob’s, John Hill. Around a year later and they had already released their first single, ‘Ultra Vivid Color’, produced by John prior to joining the band. The next couple of years, along with no doubt lots of touring, saw two more singles – ‘You Stand Here’ and ‘Sunny’. Soon after that came their first full length album. It was called ‘Pink Hearts Yellow Moons’ and it was from this catchy CD that the songs ‘Just Like Henry’ and ‘If You Should Try To Kiss Her’ were taken for the aforementioned But I’m A Cheerleader soundtrack.
Buoyed by the success of their critically acclaimed debut album (“about as perfect as pop records come – fuzzy, buoyant, and ridiculously catchy” – allmusic), the band soon released a follow up EP, California, to tide their new fans over until the full-length follow-up was ready. Released in 2002, ‘Sound Go Round’ built upon the catchy melodies and harmonies of their debut and added a slightly more diverse style, perhaps most prevalent in the dreamy “Flower Jargon” (“bouncy, melodic, and uplifting, Sound Go Round is good, clean fun” – allmusic). In the next year of what was a busy period for the band, they released the self-titled third album, which incorporated a harder guitar sound, but proved just as popular as its predecessors (“it is hard to argue with an album as pure and true as this” – allmusic) and they also unveiled their first compilation album entitled ‘Little Music: Singles 1997 – 2002’ which featured singles, b-sides and other rarities.
After what must’ve been a hectic period for them, the band took a little time off before returning in 2005 with their most ambitious offering to date, the darker ‘Electrified’. This new album was the first to benefit from the higher production quality of their new big-label studio and has a noticably more ‘professional’ feel. Whilst expanding upon their new, harder sound, the album was their darkest yet, straying into pop-punk territory at times with songs like “Side 2” and “Call It Even Later” and it ended up being their most critically lauded release to date (“Dressy Bessy are as pure and true as ever”). After a fairly prolific opening few years of their careers, it would be three long years before the next record appeared.
The most recent release from Dressy Bessy was 2008’s ‘Holler and Stomp’, a more eclectic album than their previous ones but no less enjoyable to listen to. With their next album currently underway, the future looks bright for this energetic band, and for Tammy herself whose artistic aspirations extend beyond the musical. Very much the front-person, she has been the principal song writer since the band’s third album and has designed all the band’s album covers. She is also a keen photographer whose plentiful work is in keeping with her unique, 60’s-influenced style. It is Dressy Bessy, named after a 70’s Playskool doll, incidentally, that offers the easiest insight into Tammy’s creative ways, however, and it is the project she pursues the most enthusiastically.
Dressy Bessy still reside in Denver and are superstars back there, but they have rarely ventured over this side of the pond (although I’ve been campaigning for a return!). Since the first day I discovered them I’ve been hooked on their music. Their brand of jangly-guitar-based indie/rock is infectious beyond belief and Tammy’s distinctive voice and the effortless energy with which their music flows can put a smile on the face no matter the mood. I’m not sure who it’s aimed at and I don’t know what their typical fanbase is, but I’m confident it’s probably not people like me! But I don’t care, quite honestly. After growing up with a record-collecting father, Tammy’s musical influences are broad, much like my own, so their style is always evolving. I for one will be watching (or rather listening) for future, no doubt equally interesting and diverse projects with great interest.
Sample “Side 2”, the opening track from ‘Electrified’ thus:
|Dressy Bessy – Side 2 .mp3|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|