Since her debut, the Lansing, Ill. native turned Nashville inhabitant with a taste for depressive stories of myth and late-'60s folk rock has enjoyed a warm reception from listeners and journalists alike.
On "Charlatans At the Garden Gate," Tristen's treacle voice opposes her lyrics' dark sociological ruminations. The DePaul Universtiy graduate sounds syrupy sweet as she sings about bitter power struggles and dysfunctional relationships. It is an odd dichotomy. Luckily, ear-catching refrains and "Boxer"-era Simon and Garfunkel melodies facilitate her fantastical imagery.
"Doomsday" pairs a sunny composition with the tale of a regal dynasty headed for betrayal. A glittering backing piano supplements Tristen's cloying voice before she hurtles through a howl that sounds like she is belting it from the inside of a barrel. "Eager For Your Love" details its subject being starved for love, not by fate, but by a reluctant lover's hands.
There is more to Tristen than a pretty voice; lingering beneath its loftiness are thoughts on darker elements of life.
For this Live at KDHX session, Tristen performed four songs from her forthcoming release "C A V E S."
All photos by Louis Kwok.