Tele Novella was one of our nominees for The Deli Austin Emerging Austin Artist of 2014 poll (full results soon to come, so keep your eyes out), and we realized that we had made the grave oversight of never posting on this dynamic ATX band that’s a bit of a supergroup.
Tele Novella’s roster is made up of parts of the split-up bands Voxtrot and Agent Ribbons, both from Austin and each with its own substantial following, plus keyboardist Sarah La Puerta. Where Agent Ribbons was a band with a lighthearted, gently experimental indiepop sound, and Voxtrot was part of the early 2000s indie-rock-that-gets-dancy scene, Tele Novella is an entirely new sound from these musicians. It’s a moodier, retro-conscious approach to indie pop, and the lyrics tend toward odd, off-kilter storytelling and imagery. If you can imagine music that’s tailor-made for a desert scene in a Tarantino film, you’re not far off much of what Tele Novella does.
Of course, there’s much more to this band, which sometimes gets poppier than that description, but under their always-complex arrangements rides an obvious knowledge and nod to the American past, both musically and otherwise. You can tell just from listening that these are people with large record collections, or who at the least would know their way around one. Taking that level of musical knowledge and producing enjoyable music that takes it into account can be a hard trick to pull off, but Tele Novella is nothing if not thoroughly enjoyable. The instrumentation is fun and full of exciting turns, singer Natalie Ribbons’ voice is gripping and dynamic, the harmonies are tight and interesting, and the overall result is smart and undeniably listenable.
Their debut album is said to be in the works, and Tele Novella is set to play Holy Mountain with The TonTons and Wild Moccasins on February 12.