Dressy Bessy, the Carlsonics

The recent economic downturn's been good to no one; musically speaking, it's been a particularly rude awakening for dozens of sound-alike indie bands spoiled by the booming late 1990s, when any dot-commer with a Pavement collection could start up a label and issue records by his friends' crappy bands (or his own crappy band). But the rough-and-tumble sound of the new self-titled CD from Denver outfit Dressy Bessy--former proud competitors for indie pop's Cutesiest Band award--is a surprising result of the New Sobriety. Where the band, led by scratchy-voiced front woman Tammy Ealom, used to echo shambolic U.K. groups like Talulah Gosh and the Shop Assistants, it now resembles a younger, more impatient version of Kim Deal's Breeders: hard-assed lead guitar lines laid over itchy drumbeats and goose-stepping bass figures, Ealom admitting with manic glee that "this may hurt a little." Of course, such a stylistic transformation is exactly the kind of thing that couldn't matter less during an economic downturn. Maybe that's why the garage-rocking Carlsonics, who open the show, address our hard times more explicitly: "Tonight We Dine on Fumes," they promise on their noisy new album. Dig in while you still can.
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Mikael Wood