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Tele Novella|Merlynn Belle

Merlynn Belle

Tele Novella

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When they first debuted in the front half of the 2010s, Austin's Tele Novella were a wild nest of creative ideas competing for space in the mind of frontwoman Natalie Gordon. Categorically, they were loosely tossed into the indie/psych-pop basket, but their unpredictable song structures and errant strains of Tropicalia and vintage country made them hard to place. After the 2016 release of their full-length, House of Souls, the band slimmed down from a quartet to the core duo of Gordon and collaborator Jason Chronis. Judging from the more focused sound they present on their next effort, it was the right move to make. Merlynn Belle is the band's first release for Kill Rock Stars and doubles down on their lonesome honky-tonk elements, which they pair with a peculiar blend of melodic pop shifts and a folk sense that seems centuries rather than decades old. The duo highlights this new direction with their own tongue-in-cheek description as a "medieval outsider country" band. It's as good a term as any to describe the strange minstrelsy of songs like "It Won't Be Long" and "One Little Pearl," where eccentric psych-folk and spaghetti western collide with theatrical storytelling. Gordon's clear lilting voice is well suited to this environment which she and Chronis populate with eerie autoharp trills, vintage organs, tambourines, and vibraphones, all marinated in buckets of reverb. A rich palette of analog atmospherica permeates the record, most deeply on cuts like "Crystal Witch" and "Technicolor Town," which scratch and bump with mysterious textures, adding new layers to the quasi-mystical lyrics. More so than on their full-band debut, the 2021 version of Tele Novella builds a unique world well suited to their talents, then manages to live within it for the duration of this alluring set.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo

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Merlynn Belle

Tele Novella

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1
Words That Stay
00:02:50

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

2
It Won't Be Long
00:02:35

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

3
Never
00:03:02

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

4
Wishing Shrine
00:02:58

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

5
One Little Pearl
00:03:00

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

6
Paper Crown
00:03:27

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

7
A Lot to Want
00:03:45

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

8
Crystal Witch
00:03:08

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

9
Desiree
00:03:41

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 Agent Ribbons Music (BMI)

10
Technicolor Town
00:03:39

Danny Reisch, Producer - Tele Novella, MainArtist - Natalie Ribbons, Composer - Agent Ribbons Music (BMI), MusicPublisher

2020 Kill Rock Stars 2020 AGENT RIBBONS MUSIC / BMI

Album Description

When they first debuted in the front half of the 2010s, Austin's Tele Novella were a wild nest of creative ideas competing for space in the mind of frontwoman Natalie Gordon. Categorically, they were loosely tossed into the indie/psych-pop basket, but their unpredictable song structures and errant strains of Tropicalia and vintage country made them hard to place. After the 2016 release of their full-length, House of Souls, the band slimmed down from a quartet to the core duo of Gordon and collaborator Jason Chronis. Judging from the more focused sound they present on their next effort, it was the right move to make. Merlynn Belle is the band's first release for Kill Rock Stars and doubles down on their lonesome honky-tonk elements, which they pair with a peculiar blend of melodic pop shifts and a folk sense that seems centuries rather than decades old. The duo highlights this new direction with their own tongue-in-cheek description as a "medieval outsider country" band. It's as good a term as any to describe the strange minstrelsy of songs like "It Won't Be Long" and "One Little Pearl," where eccentric psych-folk and spaghetti western collide with theatrical storytelling. Gordon's clear lilting voice is well suited to this environment which she and Chronis populate with eerie autoharp trills, vintage organs, tambourines, and vibraphones, all marinated in buckets of reverb. A rich palette of analog atmospherica permeates the record, most deeply on cuts like "Crystal Witch" and "Technicolor Town," which scratch and bump with mysterious textures, adding new layers to the quasi-mystical lyrics. More so than on their full-band debut, the 2021 version of Tele Novella builds a unique world well suited to their talents, then manages to live within it for the duration of this alluring set.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo

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