In Jack Kerouac's book Tristessa, the eponymous junkie heroine reflects the Buddhist tenet "Life is suffering." San Diego's Tristeza (Saturday, February 16, at the 15th Street Tavern, with Pinkku and VU) doesn't take the suffering trip, but, like Kerouac, the combo does meditate upon the meaning of life with its dreamy instrumental rock. Contemplative, contrapuntal guitar lines swirl around each other, accented with airy synths and subtle timekeeping from a quiet drum. Think of a less-bombastic Mogwai, and you'd be close to what this youthful five-piece is about. If you saw Richard Linklater's film Waking Life, about a boy in an endless dream state who encounters various amateur philosophers waxing on about life, you might agree that Tristeza's second full-length record, Dream Signals in Full Circles (Tiger Style), could be the perfect soundtrack.
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