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World Cafe Nashville: Tristen

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Kristy Benjamin
Courtesy of the artist

Tristen Gaspadarek and Buddy Hughen share a house in the graveyard of a golf club, where they make music that captures the stubborn hope and creeping obsolescence at the heart of modern life. Tristen, who performs and records under her first name, was raised in Chicago but moved to Nashville a decade ago. There she met the guitarist and producer Hughen, and the pair was soon collaborating.

They've made three albums of deeply catchy classic pop, with Tristen's crystalline voice and empathetic, incisive lyrics at the center. The latest, Sneaker Waves, is her best yet – a meditation on the tragic habits and tender aspirations of people stumbling through the rapid changes of 21st century life.

Recording nearly all the instruments themselves in their Inglewood bungalow studio, Tristen and Buddy have created a subtle masterwork worthy of comparisons to Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom or The Voyager by Jenny Lewis, who took Tristen on her latest tour.

In this session, the couple talked about making pop in Nashville, and the rich indie-pop community that supports them, at Sound Stage Studios on Music Row.

Copyright 2017 XPN

Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.