Last year I made an effort to see new bands while I was in Austin for SXSW. While I did see some decent stuff, I didn’t see anyone that I fell for the way I fell for two bands that I saw by accident in previous years. The first was the Features who I’ve seen many times since first spotting them at the Rachel Ray party, and whose new self-titled record is one of the year’s best, the second was Tristen who opened for M Ward for his showcase. I don’t usually like girl singers, but sometimes all it takes is good hair and a sassy attitude to change that. Tristen has both, and reminds me a bit of Kathryn Calder or the New Pornographers, and formerly of Immaculate Machine. When I told a friend I had seen a girl singer more adorable that Calder, he told me “unpossible.” Let’s call it a tie.
For some reason tonight’s show, for which Tristen was the middle band, was free. I expected it to be miserably crowded, but in fact it was just the right amount of crowded. I got there during the opening band’s set, and only caught a few of their songs. It was ridiculously catchy power pop and they had the energy to match it. The lead singer was adorably handsome and the suave lead guitar player mugged it up with a series of silly faces. The whole band looked impeccable in suits; they must have known I’m a sucker for a band that dresses up. It was immediately infectious and addictive, and I kicked myself for being late. Of course, how could I know that the venue that was known for never starting on time would suddenly change their ways. They said they were from Wisconsin, so hopefully they will be back to Madison soon. I’ll be looking for them.
I’d participated in Tristen’s Kickstarter fundraiser and had expected to have the record by now, but as often happens there were delays and nothing had shipped out yet. Not that I’m complaining, delays are part of the DIY process that Kickstarter is allowing people to do. I didn’t recognize any of the songs but I definitely did enjoy them nonetheless. And Tristen was as adorable as ever. Her quiet, self-deprecating banter is endearing and her gorgeous voice winning. She was wearing extremely high-waisted pants that I thought were long out of style, but it looked very good on her, so maybe I’m wrong. I felt bad that there wasn’t anything for me to buy, especially since it was a free show and I have no idea how anyone was making any money. I’m looking forward to hearing the record whenever it arrives, and hopefully they will hit the road again after that.
The Living Statues