“Okay here’s the deal,” lead singer of Tartufi, Lynne Angel tells me over the phone. The San Francisco band is currently on tour across the country in support of their latest album, These Factory Days. I’ve just asked her where their band name originated from. “We used to tell all these tall tales about it because obviously everybody wonders about that. But the truth of the matter is, that when we were a trio, the previous band member was in Italy and saw the word ‘tartufi’ on the menu which is just Italian for savory truffles and really liked it — she left but we kept the band name.”
Tartufi’s Italian-inspired band name is hardly what the band is known for. This San Francisco stronghold has been playing together for nearly 12 years and have hopped many stones in terms of genres. In fact, Tartufi covers so much ground stylistically, it would be kind of unfair to pinpoint them JUST as “experimental.” Their powerful, complex songs are something from a electric rock opera…or something. They embody a post-rock quality that is also uniquely layered, and their looped manipulations are particularly intricate and rich in sound.
Surprisingly, Tartufi started off as a power pop band back in 2001. The band’s three releases between 2002 and 2005 (Westward Onward, So We Are Alive, and Trouble) helped to cultivate a Bay Area clout around their name, but, in 2006, Tartufi shifted gears from power pop to the dramatic soundscapes of experimental rock. They released Buildings Upon Us soon thereafter, debuting their new loop-rock sound. Longer songs, complex layering, and reverb and delay added to Angel’s vocals.
Going in a completely new musical direction after your first three albums sounds like the synopsis of a stress nightmare for most bands. Or a thrilling risk that could really open up an audience to something new and unexpected. Luckily for Angel, Brian Gorman, and newest member Ben Thorne, the latter proved to be true.
“It takes a minute to sell your audience on