Emerging with their debut EP My Guest List at SXSW two years ago, Tribella has established itself as a mainstay on the local Austin scene, performing with a host of other renowned independent bands and embarking in June of 2009 on a 20-show US tour throughout the Midwest, East Coast, and South East. Based in Austin, the trio—whose sound defies pat labeling but draws from 80s new wave, progressive and indie rock influences—performs regularly at hotspots like The Mohawk, Antone’s and Emo’s.
With every performance, the trio has been winning audiences over with their adroit musicianship, nervy attitude, and stunningly intricate and emotive songs. KUT’s Texas Music Matters wrote: “The band has crafted a sound that’s a perfect blend of pop-rock and new wave, but their attention to song craft is what sets this band apart from others in the local music scene.” While their influences range from 80s pop to traditional jazz, they consistently evoke a nostalgia for 90’s alternative rock bands like Belly, Liz Phair and Jane’s Addiction, and – with their infusion of elaborate melodies and syncopated rhythms – bring to mind progressive bands like Yes, Rush and Muse.
“When I moved here several years ago, I had just released a solo CD and was gigging around town promoting that album. I knew Rae through playing shows… It was obvious right away that Rae and I made a great team and that we were amazingly like-minded. Dena had just moved to town from San Francisco and word spread that there was this great new female drummer I should meet. When the three of us first got together, we weren’t sure it would work and were all a bit nervous, but once we started playing it felt powerful and there was a unique chemistry. Tribella has been creatively liberating for all of us.”
Combining the trio’s dynamic musicianship with emotionally charged lyrics, the songs on Tribella’s album are named after time signatures (“13” is from the track’s unusual meter 13/8) and chord structures (“CSUS4” for one of the prominent chords within the progression). “13” comes from a place of uncertainty in a push-pull relationship with a lover who moved away, while “Deal Breaker”—the jamming opener —draws inspiration from a recurring nightmare Sarah had as a child about being trapped in a basement with flickering lights and strangers speaking foreign languages; she now applies the metaphor to the fear that is aroused when people focus on their differences rather than on what is universal. “CSUS4” toys with the notion of super stardom and being stalked by paparazzi.
“My hope is that every time we play, people are affected by the passion and sincerity we collectively put forth” says Sarah, “And when I can sense that the audience is responding and even jumping up and down, I know they’re getting it and that’s very gratifying.”
  • Deal Breaker
  • 13

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