Tristen will release her sophomore album CAVES on October 15th via her very own Pupsnake Records label. The much anticipated follow up to her critically acclaimed debut Charlatans At The Garden Gate,CAVES was recorded with a hand picked host of A-List Nashville indie-rock session vets, features lush string arrangements written by Tristen herself and laid down with the help of Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis at his ARC Recording Studios in Omaha, and to achieve an authentic synthpop sheen, she enlisted famed New Order, Pet Shop Boys and OMD producer Stephen Hague to mix, a pioneer in the field of digital recording.
CAVES is the follow up to Tristen’s acclaimed 2011 debut, Charlatans at the Garden Gate. If Charlatanswas the story of Tristen finding her voice in Nashville, the stunning CAVES is the sound of her defining that voice for the world, and setting it to some sleek, synth-pop-inspired tones, once again defying expectations.
“At first I wanted to make a dance record,” she says. “That’s where my headspace was. … “I wanted to challenge the acoustic reverence of Americana music world and I wanted to piss off the old folkies. Is there something wrong with that?”
Looking into Tristen’s backstory, it’s a musical Frankenstein that makes sense. “[Growing up] I had a Dolly Parton greatest hits album that I listened to on repeat,” she recalls. “That and Madonna’s Immaculate Collection, I always loved Madonna. And that’s actually why I wanted to be just ‘Tristen,’ because I picked that up when I was 14 – that’s when I started writing songs.” Later, much in the same away, she says a childhood obsession with ’60s girl-group pop and the Beatles would blossom into an adult obsession with classic singer-songwriter troubadours and legendary art-rock pioneers. “I would want to be an amalgam of Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Dolly Parton,” she says.
Although, lyrically, CAVES covers a wide breadth of thematic territory, sonically and aesthetically the album is unified by an aesthetic concept: She wanted to make a synth-pop record that combined Charlatans‘ foundation by casting objects of obsessive Reagan-era influences like Kate Bush, Eurythmics and Echo and the Bunnymen in her own singular image.
With a stellar set of songs locked and loaded for CAVES, the singer tapped luminaries from both ends of that musical spectrum to achieve a very specific goal. “I wanted to mix synthesizers with string arrangements and electronic drums with live drums so that you couldn’t tell which was which – I wanted people that were anti-digital to listen to it and not be able judge it’s authenticity by it’s acoustics.” she explains.
“Tristen is a rare combination,” Hague says. “The lyrics of a real artist, the voice of a pop star, and the focus of someone who will always bring her A-game. It was a real pleasure for me working with someone who always has her eye on the bigger picture, and is always willing to try different approaches to the work.”
Nashville-based? Singer-songwriter? … Goes by her first name? Do those terms fill your head with expectations of a precious, pint-sized female crooning middle-of-the-road pop with a precious tear-in-beer twang? Well, don’t let them. Because, beyond Tristen’s sharp-witted lyrical savvy and sophisticated song-craft, her innate ability to defy expectations will leave you hanging on her every note, even in Nashville.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
08 – Washington, DC – Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
09 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe live
11 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
12 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
14 – Toronto, ON – The Great Hall
15 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
16 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
18 – Los Angeles, CA – Hotel Cafe
19 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel