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Background information
Origin San Diego, California
Genres Post Rock
Years active 1997 to present
Labels Better Looking, Rocket Racer, various
Members Christopher Sprague, Luis Hermosillo, James Lehner also with: James LaValle, Stephen Swesey, Alison Ables, Sean Ogilvie, Eric Hinojosa, and Jimi Hey

Tristeza (Spanish and Portuguese for 'sadness') is a primarily instrumental band. The band is based in California, with most members currently living in Oakland. Although the group formed in San Diego during 1997,[1] no current members reside there. The band has performed in 19 countries.

The original line up included Christopher Sprague, Luis Hermosillo, James LaValle (also known as Jimmy LaValle), James Lehner, and Stephen Swesey. This line-up recorded all material that was released through 2003, including the albums "Spine and Sensory (1999)" and "Dream Signals in Full Circles (2000)"

In January 2003, Tristeza played its last concert with Jimmy LaValle as a main member, although he has joined the band occasionally since then to fill in on guitar and additional keys.

During 2004, Tristeza enlisted guitarist Alison Ables and keyboardist Sean Ogilvie to begin writing songs for "A Colores (2005)". This line-up recorded all material that was released during 2005-2006.

At the start of 2007, the core of Tristeza (Sprague, Lehner, and Hermosillo) with the assistance of Ogilvie, began collaborating with various musicians around the Bay Area, including Camaron Stephens on guitar, and released the scarce/disjointed/lo-fi "Fate Unfolds (2009)" mini album.

In 2010, Tristeza recorded their latest album "Paisajes (2010)" with Tim Green, who recorded the band's first album. "Paisajes" features the band's current line-up of Christopher Sprague (guitar), Luis Hermosillo (bass), James Lehner (drums), Camaron Stephens (guitar),Chris Hash (keys),and Josh Lindenfelzer (trumpet/drums/percussion).

Critical reception[edit]

CMJ New Music Monthly described Tristeza's style in a review of their album, Dream Signals in Full Circles, "A typical Tristeza track involves a down-shifted take on emo's rhythmic lopsidedness, beds of washy, behind-the-beat keyboards, and Christopher Sprague's arpeggiated, effect-drenched guitar melodies. It's all adeptly played, but the point is less individual virtuosity than collective compositional panache." [2]


Discography notes:

Tristeza's first release was the "Foreshadow" b/w "Smoke Through Glass" single. It was recorded and mixed by Gar Wood in a garage in San Diego during December, 1997 in one afternoon.

The "Spine and Sensory" album was recorded at Tim Green's Louder Studios, a basement studio on the south side of San Francisco. It took one week to record and mix the album in the Autumn of 1998.

"Dream Signals in Full Circles" was recorded/produced in Chicago by Dave Trumfio at Kingsize Soundlabs during the Spring of 2000. The album was recorded and mixed in 10 days.

"A Colores" was recorded during 3 winter weeks of 2005 at Key Club Recording in Benton Harbor, MI by Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins. The album was mixed during the summer of 2005 by Alan Sanderson in San Diego.

"Paisajes" was recorded and mixed again at Louder Studios with Tim Green in the Winter and Spring of 2010. The band took a low-stress approach to this album. It took about four months to complete.

Tristeza's many other various EP's, singles, tour CD's, demos, etc. were mainly self-recorded by the band, as well by Matt Anderson, Alan Sanderson, Mike Hammel, and Pall Jenkins.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Billboard Magazine bio
  2. ^ "Tristeza: Dream Signals in Full Circles". CMJ New Music Monthly. CMJ Network, Inc. (87). November 2000. ISSN 1074-6978. 
  3. ^ "Tristeza". MusicBrainz. Retrieved December 19, 2010.