I first saw tristeza 7 years ago at an independant music festival in Wayne, Michigan.
The fest was centered around hardcore punk (with a generous handful of fugazi rip-offs) and it lasted three days long. At some point during day 2, a band dressed in all dark clothing took the stage and didn't even address the crowd as to the beginning of their set. This faux pas made me raise an eyebrow. They started playing this slow, yet driving music and i just stood there in front watching...waiting for the vocals to kick in. They never came.
At the time (being that all i was listening to was thrash), my predictable ADD reaction to this would've been to walk away and bum around the vinyl distros, but i didn't. I just stood there stumped with my jaw dropped wondering where the hell this band came from. My tastes were instantly expanded and my record collection changed forever.
this record, in ways, doesn't stand up to the likes of (some)Mogwai, Tortoise, don caballero, Directions In Music...but for a debut full length from a young band (a bunch of San Diegons *and one hometown boy*, coming from a scene where no one seemed to be slowing down) its worth the listen. Hopefully it will turn a few on to their later, more mature material and hopefully those few will get a chance to see them live...its worth it.