Many of the songs on Dum Dum Girls' last two releases, "Only in Dreams" and "End of Daze," were written as singer Dee Dee Penny coped with the death of her mother.

Penny considers the group's new album, "Too True," a fresh start. But it didn't come easy.

In the midst of recording it, Penny lost her voice. Now fully recovered, Dum Dum Girls are taking their blend of '60s girl group pop, punk and new wave back on the road.

amNewYork spoke with Penny.

 

You've said this was a tough album to make. Why was that?

It was difficult in a very physiological way. I literally was unable to sing for months. The songs themselves came to me very quickly. The delay in finishing "Too True" was incredibly frustrating and terrifying. I am a singer; that is what I do. To not be able to do it caused a sort of existential crisis.

 

During the delay, you spent a lot of time reading classic literature. What did you take from those novels?

I've always been a big reader. I spent high school lunches in the library. I had more books than friends. I studied literature in college and intended to become a librarian. What I read at the time -- a lot of Rilke, Baudelaire, Nin, et al -- coincided with and sort of solidified a new level of self-awareness.

You've talked about the album as a new beginning. What do you mean by that?

I was finally far enough away from the personal trauma of my mother's illness, passing and the extremely self-destructive wake that followed, that I was able to write about other things. I felt a blank page. I was again looking to the world outside myself for inspiration.