VINTAGE shop owner Natalie Ribbons and rare record collector Jason Chronis had been kicking around in various musical projects in Austin, Texas, but knew they could fashion something pretty special when they met and started creating tunes: ladies and gentlemen, we give you the medieval outsider country of Tele Novella. (Hey, it’s what they call themselves).
They released the hard-to-find-these-days House Of Souls album in 2016, and come February 5th next year you’ll be able to stop by on your way for a soda and pick up a copy of their second album, Merlynn Belle, their first for Kill Rock Stars.
We loved the sweet yodelling quirkiness of first single, “Technicolor Town”, a few weeks back, calling it “utterly charming”; and we’re so in the same territory for their second, “Words That Say”. You can step inside their Super-8 world in the video, below.
It’s a beautiful crossover of country, indie, and lofi, which also somehow has this knowing continental absurdity flowing through its veins; the seriousness of play. See Natalie and Jason in their powdered and periwigged pomp, quaffing, playing cards, pencil dangling from nose, in sweet and eccentric delight.
The song has a beautiful haunting quality, deeply western (before the country got tacked on to the front); but also a real chanteuserie thanks to Natalie’s beautiful, bell-clear voice, with that Appalachian leap and drop, seizing your heart and taking it with you. Lyrically, there’s the bittersweet tug of a friend, missing mysteriously: “Where did you go? Nobody knew you were gone.”
There’s a whiff of flamenco, rhythmically; there’s even handclaps. You just know Tele Novella are the sort of band that would make a beeline for any roundabout, spin it too fast and have an absolute blast.
Merlynne Belle was reportedly cut straight to eight-track, preserving the immediacy and humanity of a very lovely duo. I’m ready to swoon.
Tele Novella’s Merlynn Belle will be released by Kill Rock Stars on February 5th, on digital download, CD, trad black and limited green vinyl – and it’s already available for pre-order over at their Bandcamp page, here.