When Dressy Bessy leader Tammy Ealom first started gathering riffs and hooks on a
four-track tape recorder in her Denver apartment, she didn't know what was going to
come of her swelling catalog of music, or even who was going to play it.
After several combinations of musicians fell flat, the singer/guitarist enlisted her
boyfriend, guitarist John Hill of another local pop band, Apples In Stereo, and a pair of
Staten Island, N.Y., transplants: drummer Darren Albert and bassist Rob Greene.
The result is her limited-edition debut EP, You Stand Here.
"I wasn't in it from the very beginning; I was just kind-of helping her out," the 31-year-old
Hill said. "It was pretty obvious she needed her own band ... she was bandleader
Ealom, 29, still writes and records in her bedroom. But with the recent release of You
Stand Here and a full-length album, Pink Hearts and Yellow Moons, coming
early next year, audiences outside the immediate vicinity of Ealom's apartment now have
a chance to hear Dressy Bessy's distinctive, lo-fi sound.
What awaits those listeners is "something that's kind-of upbeat," Hill said. "We want it to
be a little rocking, a little groovy, a little catchy -- all that stuff."
Issued in a black-velvet pocket with blue stitching down the sides, the EP depicts on its
cover what appears to be a blue, attention-starved, stick-figure girl wearing a dress with
multi-colored stars and waving her uneven arms.
Sounding as if they were channeling the energy radiating from the gawky figure on the
cover of the seven-song EP, Dressy Bessy flounce through tracks as different as the
"Extra-Ordinary" (RealAudio excerpt) and the pushy
href="http://www.addict.com/music/Dressy_Bessy/You_Stand_Here.ram">"You Stand Here"
Here"(RealAudio excerpt) with equal ease.
It's a band that sounds comfortably tuned-in to the musical conceptions of the
frontwoman. But there was a time, back in her early composing-in-the-bedroom days,
when there was no band.
"We just sort-of played around with a few different people, but we never could find the
right people," Hill remembered. "Tammy met Darren at a record store, a week later we
played with him and now, two years later, we're a pretty happy band."
But that won't change the way Ealom goes about writing her music. Sitting on the edge
of her bed with an unplugged electric guitar in hand and a four-track machine rolling, she
hammers out rhythm-guitar parts and melodies for future tracks.
"Usually, when John's out of town with the
Apples, I'm bored and here by myself, and I
just sit around and f--- around on a four-
track," Ealom said (interview excerpt). "Then
I present [the songs] to the band and we'll
work them out. Sometimes three songs turn
into two songs, or sometimes three songs will
turn into no songs," she admitted, laughing.
Short pop-sketches, such as "Princess" -- in which she takes her frustrations with a friend
of the band and wraps them around a deceptively cheery melody -- typify Ealom's lyrical
"Most of the songs are about people. They're about my acquaintances and friends
definitely," Ealom said. "['Princess'] is about a bratty girl who's trying to come around.
She's working on not being so snotty and bratty and all that. She's very aware of it; she
href="http://www.addict.com/interview/Dressy_Bessy/Ealmon_On_Princess.ram">do much about it"
much about it"(interview excerpt).
With a full-length album recorded and ready for release, Hill and Ealom said they feel
certain of the direction the quartet's headed in.
"We're really just trying to capture the band. It's pretty much how the live band is more or
less," Hill said. "We're not afraid to rock."
"Rock is not a dirty word," Ealom chimed in, with Hill completing the thought: "Although it
seems to be with a lot of people we run across."