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"Isabellas - Partner, Don't You Pull No Guns"

Isabellas Partner, Don't You Pull No Guns (self-released)
Isabellas are a new-ish rock and roll outfit – a power trio – that has a low-fi, anti-emo sound to their music. Their self-released debut, "Partner, Don't You Pull No Guns" is a jingle-jangle, non-teen-pop album; their music is for the hipster, uptown set, a sophisticated crowd, but it is as much for the kind of people who are just as comfortable sitting at home, in their room, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, zoning out while listening to some cathartic music on the stereo as those who get their excitement by prowling at some dark, Goth Danceteria or neo-hippie coffee house somewhere over by the university. The people, the crafty, clever people who make up Isabellas are: Adam Waite, Dave Bartels and Chloe Martin, the front woman, who writes all the lyrics (the music is written collaboratively) and sings the vocals in her fragile, breathy voice, but it's a voice that belies a certain inner strength and a depth that starts to sink in by about the time you get to "; Chloe has a melancholy and a quietness that masks a depth of soul within; a happy, pretty face that covers up lots of angst on the inside, but a trooper who plods on because it's better than being dead.
It is this music, however, on "Partner, Don't You Pull No Guns" that makes for a catharsis, both for Chloe and the listener, many of whom, I suspect, can identify with her lyrics. Not to take away from the musical aspect of Isabellas, they certainly do provide the perfect complement to Chloe's smoothly emotive singing. They play an anti-pop, moody, bass-heavy, almost low-fi with an edge. In fact, certain songs throughout "Partner…" reminded me a little of Sebadoh in that they share a similar guise of jaded cynicism, but one that is scarred from emotional and possibly other trauma(s) in their lives; even though they go through their own particular hells and/or sufferings, those sometimes Dante-like tribulations always seem to bring out the best in artists of all types and with Isabellas things aren't that off-course, so to speak; their emotive flair in their music is anchored by an unspeakable depth that were exorcised by making this record.
I'd be very hard-pressed to have to pick a favorite or even two of them, but I might say that "My Latest", "These Things" and "Ocean of Dreams" would be three that I'd recommend as good samples for the undecided. Want to find out more about 'em? Go to the website: – KM. - Reviewer Magazine

"San Francisco Bay Guardian Weekly Picks"

Drummer Dave Bartels is all grown up — or that's how it seems when you compare Oakland's Isabellas to his previous band, the Sweet Nothings. Just months ago he was tripping over sweaty bodies at Oakland house parties while singing for the sloppy, ultrafast punk act, but he now focuses on Isabellas, a female-fronted midtempo rock band reminiscent of Pretty Girls Make Graves. It contributes a much-needed uniqueness to the East Bay punk scene, whereas the Sweet Nothings only embellished the overrepresented pop-punk style. For the house show averse, don't worry: Isabellas thrive on a stage, where there's little to no risk of interacting with other people's sweat or spilled beer. (Alex Felsinger 1/30/08) - San Francisco Bay Guardian


Isabellas nine-song debut (live recording): "Partner, Don't You Pull No Guns" 2007

Isabellas in-studio, fully mastered and engineered, three song EP; self-tited "Isabellas" 2008



Front-woman Chloe Isabella is a California native, born and raised in the sunny Hollywood hills. The offspring of a professional Broadway dancer and an Emmy award winning songwriter, Chloe was submerged in an atmosphere of music and creativity. The death of her parents in her late teen years propelled her out into this peculiar world.
Chloe migrated to Northern California, where she attended UC Berkeley. For three years, Chloe coasted through her classes, devoting her energy more to becoming a better guitarist, than to being a star student. This proved to be a productive endeavor, as she soon found herself with an array of self-written songs. Assured that music was where her true love lay, Chloe put school on hold and bought a one-way ticket to New Orleans, Louisiana. Here, she started a band, Izabella (with well-known artist Amzie Adams). Izabella was well on its way when Hurricane Katrina hit, forcing its members to part ways.
Thus Chloe fled back to her pseudo home in Berkeley, California. Distraught from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, Chloe immediately went on damage control, posting flyers around the city, attempting to form a new band. The first, and only, hit was Dave Bartels, then singer/songwriter of country-dance-punk band, The Sweet Nothings. A front-man turned drummer, Dave saw the appeal in Chloe's song writing style, adding his vocals and ethnomusicologist's ear to the mix. Thus, Dave and Chloe formed the seedling that would be Isabellas. The indestructible duo remained, unshaken, as other members came and went. Then, in 2008, Isabellas became a solid trio with the addition of Stevo, a kamikaze bass player with a background in electronic music, and a passion for psychedelic/progressive rock.
It is a sound that is familiar, yet new. Stevo keeping the foundation solid, at the same time augmenting the group's sound into new realms. Dave's zen-punk energy blending with Chloe's white hot voice, singing songs that express what she sees in this strange world.