The release of KINGSIZED in February, 2016 marked Dressy Bessy’s first studio album since 2008. The band then toured North America several times, playing many of their old haunts, reconnecting with some of their indie peers, but also connecting with a new generation of indie rockers.
“We weren’t sure where we fit in when we started back and about half the tours we’ve done since the album were on our own, with local support bands,” says guitarist John Hill, also of The Apples in Stereo. “In most cases we picked the openers, but many others were decided by promoters. We ended up playing with so many great young bands and made some really good friends.”
In a chance meeting, Tammy Ealom, singer, guitarist, and songwriter of Dressy Bessy, met Mark Osman of the Lawrence, Kansas band Arc Flash. “I was outside The Replay Lounge in Lawrence and this guy walks by wearing huge old-school headphones,” says Ealom, “I tapped him on the shoulder and said, cool headphones. We started talking and he ended up back at our show that night. The next time we came to Lawrence his band was on the bill and we met his band mate James Thomblison. Now a year later we’ve played about twenty shows with Arc Flash and consider Mark and James some of our best friends. They even fill in as our rhythm section sometimes, so I guess you could say we’re band mates now too!”
It was this chance meeting that led the band to meet the folks at High Dive Records, where Osman works as A&R. Dressy Bessy had been looking for someone to release their Summer Singles series on vinyl. The Kansas City label seemed like a good fit for the release. The Summer Singles series includes four songs that were originally intended to be KINGSIZED album tracks.
Summer Singles & KINGSIZED marked a return to the band’s early recording approach. As Hill explains, “With our first two albums, we were a completely D.I.Y. operation, and we recorded everything at home. Then we did our next three albums in the studio. Three or four years ago, we revamped our home studio, so we could record complete works at home. Now we have the sound quality of a real studio without the time constraints. We have enough time for stuff to jell and enough time to work things out. The first two songs we recorded with our new studio gear were Love You Alice and Something To Love, the lead tracks from Summer Singles Volume 1 & 2.”
While Summer Singles & KINGSIZED feature some of the most focused, organic music Dressy Bessy has ever made, the new songs are consistent with the pursuit of joy and transcendence that’s been the band’s mission from its early days in its hometown of Denver.
Although such seminal Dressy Bessy releases as Pink Hearts Yellow Moons, The California EP, SoundGoRound, Little Music: Singles 1997-2002, Dressy Bessy and Electrified earned the band an enthusiastic fan base with their effervescent, uplifting pop tunes, they also caused some observers to miss the tougher edge of Ealom’s lyrics.
“All of my songs,” she reveals, “come out of some sort of personal turmoil, or they’re me getting back at someone. But I think people hear our name and see our artwork, and they think of us as some kind of bubbly cartoon.”
Now that they’re back in action with some of their strongest music to date, Dressy Bessy is happy to be back at work. “I feel like we’re just starting to get good at what we do,” Ealom states. “We’ve had a lot of time to hone in our sound, knowing what we want to sound like and figuring out what we need to do to get that. I’m really excited about the future.”
Summer Singles Volume 1 & 2 will be available on vinyl for the first time August 18, 2017 on High Dive Records.