Animation by Jimmy Teru Murakami (1967). From Aquatic Flowers, out now on Mama Bird.
Maybe it’s something about the animated video, but this reminds me of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock songs. Tristen’s voice evokes the sweetness of Blossom Dearie, the conversationalism of Lynn Ahrens, and the soulfulness of Essra Mohawk.
And what a happy sounding hopeless song about a grumpy dude who refuses to accept emotions!
Totally sober, cold and unfeeling
He shudders when I start revealing
My weakness, and when I need him
He’d rather hide away.
Sounds like an ass.
By the way, this whole album is really good and you should check it out for sure.
Directed by Joshua Shoemaker. From Aquatic Flowers, out June 4 on Mama Bird.
Another great song from Tristen’s upcoming album. Can’t wait to hear the whole thing! The opening chords of this one call to mind Johnny Marr. Sort of a “Half a Person” vibe.
In the video our hero tromps through the woods in a slow-motion wedding dress all spooky like a jilted ghost, her smoky eye makeup smeared and running down her wet cheeks. I’m sure it’s not intentional, but her look reminds me of recent instagram posts by Britney Spears. I started following Britney after the whole #savebritney movement and, especially in that context, her little videos are disturbing. She dances around her house in sportswear with what appears to be a forced smile. Both her eye shadow and haunted demeanor are similar Tristen’s in this video. Or maybe I’m projecting.
“‘Wrong With You’ takes a look at a masochist so attuned to their own self-loathing and emotional manipulations that they can’t help but pity anyone who tries to get close,” says Tristen. “The more love they are given, the more skeptical and withdrawn they become. With the backdrop bopping like what I hoped felt like a Marshall Crenshaw tune, in a strange emotional twist, the protagonist knows they are treating their lover badly as some kind of test because, if they can love you through the pain, their love is somehow more true.”
Tristen is my current obsession. Not in a made-for-tv stalker way, but in a new-found musical crush way. I was floored by her last single, “Complex,” and had it on repeat for days after Jake first posted it. She’s clever and has a really interesting sense of melody. She also looks just like the grown up version of Eleven from Stranger Things, but that’s a conversation for another fan forum.
So I was excited when she dropped her new single, “Athena.” It’s a spooky, neo-psych number that retains her voice, but filters it through Anton Newcombe’s poncho. Which, of course means…I love it.
Listen to Tristen explain the back story to the song after the jump.
Tristen Gaspadarek’s Sneaker Waves was one of the best albums of 2017 with its jangly hollow-body guitars and clever lyrics. “Glass Jar” has earned a place on my list of all-time faves, showing up on countless mixes I’ve compiled for friends.
Aquatic Flowers comes out on June 4 and if leadoff single “Complex” is any indication, it’s going to be the shimmery soundtrack of the summer.
I’ve got a complex; it’s complex
I don’t know why I act this way
The things I do, the things I say
I really love you
I want to be with you, but I’m so scared
She invited a bunch of her pals including Alyssa Milano and frequent writing partner Vanessa Carlton to jazzercize with her in the video. So that’s fun.
Tristen’s Sneaker Waves was one of my favorite albums from last year, so I was surprised and disappointed that it didn’t even crack the top 100 of the Village VoicePazz & Jop critics poll. No idea why she’s been overlooked critically and underrated, because her songs are great.
“Partyin’ is Such Sweet Sorrow” is a perfect example of that. It’s catchy folk-rock with smart lyrics. What’s not to love?
My heart is hollow
I just got in
My time is borrowed
Love me now
And I won’t remember tomorrow
Cause partyin’ is such sweet sorrow
It’s written from the perspective of a guy. Tristen writes, “For the video, I found a rugged, drunken lover boy with great hair, to lip sync my song while the voice was still mine. Because I’m thinking, I am a woman writing, singing as a male character about his relationship with women. How often does that happen?”
Not often enough!
If that “lover boy” didn’t actually get wasted while filming this video then the dude deserves an Oscar or an Emmy because it’s the most accurate depiction of drunken wobbliness I’ve ever seen on screen. And the bit at the end where he stumbles sideways across the street? Bellissimo! Bravo.
Last month Tristen’s song “Glass Jar” totally took me by surprise with its jingle-jangle guitars and cool backing vocals from Jenny Lewis. I like this new song even better, and the video’s more fun as well. Who doesn’t love a slumber party? Pillow fights, negligee, talking to boys on the phone! Good clean fun.
“I think you’re pretty cool but as a general rule / I’m gonna hang back here in the atmosphere.”
Do you like the jingle jangle of hollow-body guitars? Do you dig the folk rock vibes of the Byrds? Have you enjoyed the last couple of Jenny Lewis albums? Then you’re gonna love this song by Nashville songwriter Tristen.