Tele Novella released their KRS debut album, Merlynn Belle, on February 5th, 2021. It’s recorded entirely on an eight-track cassette recorder and described as “coin operated medieval pop songs through a 1950s lens.” The Lockhart, Texas-based band concluded their tour with Heartless Bastards earlier this month and now take part in the covers series with their take on the Raincoats.
Natalie Ribbons of Tele Novella says, “The very first time I heard the Raincoats was on a pirate radio station in the bay area. It was around midnight in 2006 I think, and I was driving to a show at The Knockout when their cover of The Kinks' "Lola" came on and took my breath away. This was in the early 2000s when Shazam (or even iphones) didn't exist, so my band and I sat in the car waiting for the DJ to tell us who made that wonderful sound. When they finally told us, I wrote it down and couldn't wait to go and find more of their music. I quickly became a huge fan, and it wasn't long before I added a violin player to my own band at the time, Agent Ribbons. A few years later, Kill Rock Stars announced pre-orders for a Raincoats reissue. I was very broke in those days and seldom purchased brand new vinyl records. Most of my record collection had been fished out of the $1 bins of Amoeba Records, and I had definitely never pre-ordered anything before! But I was so proud to purchase and own this release and have listened to it countless times over the years.
"Adventures Close to Home" is such a fun, affirmative romp of a song that, to me, is about proudly and assuredly owning one's own journey and allowing yourself to take risks and make mistakes in the interest of personal growth.”
Caleb Nichols is a queer songwriter and poet from San Luis Obispo, CA. Having spent time recording and touring with several bands in the 2000's and 2010's, Caleb took a break after 2012, got Master's Degrees in Library Science and English Lit, and started writing poetry. His chapbook, Teems///\\\Recedes (Kelp Books, 2021) was called "a gorgeous abundance" by acclaimed poet Chen Chen, and his writing has been published by dozens of print and online journals. Caleb is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing at Bangor University in Wales, runs the SLO Book Bike (a queer owned pop-up bookshop on a bike!) and is busy getting his KRS full-length debut ready for release in 2022. The “Words That Stay” cover inaugurates his joining to the label.
Caleb says, “”Words That Stay” is such a beautiful song, and Tele Novella is one of my favorite new bands that KRS has signed recently, so it was a pretty natural decision to try and cover it. As a poet I pay a lot of attention to words and lyrics, and I think it was the lyrics of this song that first really drew me in, both in their universality and also in the interesting lyrical choices Natalie makes. I fell quite in love with the line "floating like pollen, you'll land where you will" and tried to craft a new version of this song that felt a bit like pollen floating around on a warm summer breeze. We tried the song in waltz time to make it feel more whimsical, and I practiced the melodica quite a bit to add a bit of flair to the bridge. Jameson's autoharp adds much needed, dare I say it, aeolian whimsy, Josh's backup vocals are so dreamy, and Adam's guitar adds just the right amount of virtuosity to make me blush.
Kill Rock Stars is such a great label, at least in part, because of the diversity of sounds it curates, and Tele Novella is such a great example of that. Their album Merlynn Belle is unlike anything I've heard before, and certainly not like anything I'm hearing now, in the best possible way. A delightful breath of fresh, surreal air, it's colorful, strange, a bit queerly psychedelic, but also so firmly of Texas somehow. I love that KRS can put out records like that while releasing punk, electro, and myriad other genres and yet, when you hear a KRS release, you just sort of know it, ya know?”