It’s difficult to describe music in general, nevermind attempting to explain Tele Novella, a red hot, psychedelic, 60s-inspired rock band straight out of Austin. The description found on their Facebook page captures their unique sound quite accurately: “Tele Novella is a fresh strain of sugar-crash dream-psych popsicle punch out of Austin, TX.” Yep, that about sums it up.
Amid their recent festival activity and themed shows, Tele Novella has been shaking up the local music scene with flavor-heavy, boppy performances. I’ve been lucky enough to catch a couple of their shows, including a recent headline gig/costume party booked almost a month after Halloween because they “didn’t get enough Halloween vibes in October.” As you can probably tell from the photos, Tele Novella is a one-of-a-kind act, and a must-see for veteran local music fans.
Including members from former bands Voxtrot and Agent Ribbons, Tele Novella adheres to an old-school pop sound, with spooky vibrato waves that make you want to do “The Swim” with zero shame.
Lead singer, Natalie Ribbons, and the band seamlessly switch keys through dreamy songs that are fun, yet haunting, in a soft and distant sort of way. Tracks like “Hair of the Dog” chase you through a dark maze of, to quote the song’s lyrics, “pleasantly surprising sounds.”
Though their music twists and turns with utter unpredictability, sprinkles of The Velvet Underground can be noticed, and are often mentioned as an influence. Tele Novella even recorded a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Stephanie Says,” which represents this Austin Band’s unique identity, while offering homage in the same beat.
Seeing Tele Novella Live
Though the band itself is relatively young, its members are all experienced musicians with next-level talent. It’s easy to see how comfortable they are with one another on stage, which translates into an enthusiastic performance that can be seen, felt and heard.
With as many times as the songs completely change direction, it’s impressive to hear how tight the group members play. Every note is carefully respected by each of the four pieces, and it all comes together sounding easier than it actually is.
The band’s attire adds to the fun. The last time I saw them, they were dressed as skeletons and it somehow fit in perfectly with the tone of the performance. It gets weird, but in an embracing and endearing way.
What’s Next for Tele Novella
With a handful of songs on Youtube and their Bandcamp page, Tele Novella is hard at work on a full-length album, to be released in 2016. In between studio time, they’re sure to drop in for various performances. Their schedule can be followed through their Facebook page.
Among an endless supply of top-shelf local acts, it’s difficult to stand out as a band in “The Live Music Capital of the World.” But with capricious melodies, carelessly dark lyrics and Frug-encouraging live performances, Tele Novella pierces through the high expectations of Austin’s music scene. Do yourself a “flavor” and catch them at their next show.
@andychuckchase wants to know:
Have you been to a Tele Novella show?