Tristen “Charlatans At the Garden Gate”

Posted 01 Jun 2012 in Albums of 2011, Albums of the 10s, Indie, Indie Pop


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#708 in the Series) is Tristen, Charlatans At The Garden Gate

I thought I was familiar with the name Tristen when I saw she was going to be the support act for a large chunk of the 2012 Justin Townes Earle tour.  I was actually surprised to see it listed on the schedule because for some reason I believed that she was one of those packaged, possibly even one of those Disney or Idol produced tweener acts. Maybe it was the single name that steered me in that direction.

I was going to be seeing one of the Justin Townes Earle shows that she was going to be part of so I made sure that I looked into her history before making my way to the Park West Theater.  I’d not look much into her story as much as I did her musical styling and recordings.

I soon saw that she was far from where I had mistakenly pigeonholed her. I learned that she was an “indie, singer songwriter with a little pop tossed in here and there” type of an act. And I also learned that she was pretty good as well.

I looked forward to seeing her show even though I’ll admit, I didn’t know her music all that well. I have a good amount of patience for opening acts because many of them will be the headliners of tomorrow, and I like to say “I remember seeing them blah blah blah ….” I’ll admit though, the hardest opening acts to sit through are the ones that are opening for artists that I am really looking forward to seeing. Justin Townes Earle has recorded two of my favorite albums in the last three years, so saying she might not get a fair shake is an understatement.

It did take me a little while to warm to her show actually. After the second, possibly third song I remember saying “That was a pretty good song!” She had my attention at this point.  I then heard Tristen say that she studied music at DePaul University, one of our finer institutions here in Chicago. A local connection! That’s pretty cool. What she would say later would surprise me even more. “I grew up in a south suburb named Lansing.” Lansing, “you gotta be bleepin’ me” I thought. How cool is that. That’s very near where I was born and raised, and after making the rounds, still live near today. We can say that between my newly discovered geographical information and her and her band hitting their stride, well she had a new fan.

I really started liking the songs. I knew I’d be getting this album the next day. I was hoping I’d remember which ones from the show were the ones on the record. I know she said a few of them were from an upcoming release in this September I believe.

When I got this record I remembered many of the songs immediately.  They sounded a little more poppy on record, but I really enjoyed what I was hearing.

I must warn you, if you don’t like songs that are high on the “possible ear worm” scale, then this might not be for you. I’ve had many of these songs going through my mind and this is now a full two weeks after the concert. I guess the multiple spins of the album had something to do with that as well.

Give the video playlist below a listen. This is quite good. If I had known about this album last year it easily would have qualified for my year end top ten list. This album was completely written by Tristen. I’ll be scooping up her next album the day it’s released. And I will see her in concert again as well.

— Larry Carta

 Track Listing

All songs written and composed by Tristen Gaspadarek.

  1. “Eager For Your Love” 3:45
  2. “Matchstick Murder”  3:10
  3. “Doomsday” 3:33
  4. “Avalanche” 3:38
  5. “Battle of the Gods” 3:20
  6. “Baby Drugs” 2:34
  7. “Heart and Hope to Die” 3:22
  8. “Wicked Heart” 2:37
  9. “Tadpole” 3:37
  10. “Special Kind of Fear” 2:20
  11. “Save Raina” 3:34


  • Tristen Gaspadarek – Fender Rhodes, Guitar Organ, Piano, , String Arrangements, Ukulele, Vocals
  • Jordan Caress – Bass, Vocals
  • Jeremy Ferguson – Percussion,
  • Rollum Haas -Drums
  • Matt Hearn – Drums
  • Buddy Hughen – Guitar, Piano, String Arrangements, Ukulele
  • Jeff Irwin – Bass
  • Richie Lister – Organ, Piano
  • Larissa Maestro – Cello, Vocals
  • Ben Martin – Drums
  • Matt Moody -Bass, Organ
  • Dave Paulson – Piano, String Arrangements
  • Caitlin Rose – Vocals
  • Chris Scruggs – Bass, Drums, Guitar
  • Dan Sommers – Horn
  • Katie Studley – Violin


Listen to Tristen below

Check out one of Tristen’s videos

Posted by Larry Carta

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