We might have a weakness for Dia de los Muertos imagery here at Loser City, but even if we didn’t, Tele Novella’s new video for “Trouble in Paradise” would have caught our eye anyway. With its ominous, swampy guitar lick and reverb drenched drums, “Trouble in Paradise” is as sweet and deadly as a poison apple, and its allure only grows stronger once Natalie Ribbons’ voice enters the fray. A mixture of Peggy Lee’s strength and Nancy Sinatra’s verve, Ribbons is the kind of vocalist who demands attention without being flashy, a perfect seductive front to the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins-esque menace provided by the rest of the band. And just as Hawkins was known to emerge from a coffin on stage, director Tina Rivera has Tele Novella emerging from the steamy depths of a creepy off road motel.
Rivera presents the band as connoseiurs of the macabre, from their touring vehicle (a hearse) to their post-show ceremonies (the delivery of ofrendas to some unknown deceased), but even the traditional shots of the band performing have a creepy glee, whether it’s Ribbons’ eyes going terrifyingly wide onstage or drummer Matt Simon’s werewolf-like sideburns. The band is seemingly unaware of the haunted figures lurking in their hotel room and within the pool, but maybe that’s just because they’re surrounded by the strange and unusual all the time anyway. Of course, as is the case with any good horror work, that lack of awareness is what consumes them in the end. But at least they went down with a great soundtrack.
Tele Novella’s debut EP Cosmic Dial Tone is out now through Lolipop Records as a cassette.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Loser City as well as Ovrld, where he contributes music reviews and writes a column on undiscovered Austin bands. You can also flip through his archives at Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with Dylan Garsee on twitter: @Nick_Hanover