whiskey and apples

Monday, April 10, 2006

Weird Weeds

The Weird Weeds have plenty to be excited about. There's "Weird Feelings," a new record to be released August 8th featuring cameos from Austin's Ralph White, Victoria's Shapes and Sizes, Kurt Newman on pedal steel, trombonist Tucker Dulin, and even this humble writer. Pitchfork is finally giving them some long-deserved attention, singling them out as a SXSW pick and endorsing their forthcoming split with Shapes and Sizes. Singer/percussionist Nick Hennies' booking agency Map Ref is doing great things for bands like Shapes and Sizes, Half-Handed Cloud/Liz Janes/Create(!) (all on Asthmatic Kitty), and our own Peter and the Wolf, and he's begun setting up Weird Weeds' third tour (which is practically booking itself.)

Their latest release, "This is Not What You Want," is quickly making its way around the world. In the true mark of modernity, it's a free, download-only album from the Sounds Are Active label, to which Weird Weeds have recently signed. You can download it in full right here.

It's certainly an interesting way to deal with the problem of everyone downloading/copying your record anyhow: just give it away, never actually press it in any form, and move forward. In the future, bands will succeed by putting on good shows, touring, and actually doing/saying things of interest and substance. Austin's Weird Weeds have figured this out, and with a fall 2006 tour in the works, they're preparing for the long road ahead.

Nick told me they were doing an acoustic album awhile back, and I was thrilled. To me, Weird Weeds are a mostly-quiet group who sound best in concentrated listening environments like theaters or churches, so the idea of them doing an acoustic set has always appealed to me. The first track is sensational:

See the World - mp3

"See the World" opens with Nick and Sandy singing the lovely, "When the wind blows and you leave the valley, there's a place to go where the land meets the sea," and you're floating over the world. The song's change into something darker is preceded with the reality-check, "and if I could erase the tower to the west, it would be the most beautiful sight in the city."

God, the sounds on this record are so good. Track two, "The Butcher," begins with a bed of mellow e-bow noise. For those who haven't seen the Weird Weeds live, e-bowed guitars and cello-bowed percussion are a big reason to go. They love em! The vocal line in this track makes you want to drive out of town late at night and see where you end up.

Track three, "Salt Shaker" opens with Sandy's lovely, innocent girl voice. Track four is, plainly put, Nick doing a Van Morrison cover. And track five (a minute, twenty-three seconds of Delta-style fingerpicking) tells the story of the record's title, a sort of riddle, "This can't be controlled, it's just the wrong place at the wrong time. You'll get what you think you want; it will paralyze you. So here's what you were praying for, don't tell a soul: this is not what you want."

Hey, it's only thirteen minutes long! I'm gonna go listen to it again. Here's a recent interview with the Weeds on Tiny Mix Tapes.

So now that the Weird Weeds are finally getting double-parked on Easy Street, does it mean they'll start acting all snooty and high class? Just remember what I always say: You can take the booty out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the booty. In other words, the Weird Weeds will keep it real. Music and recordings are available on the Weird Weeds website.


Blogger whiskey and apples said...

I hold my old age accountable (bad eyes, bad ears) about the ebow comment. Here's Nick's response:

"The thing you (and tons of other people) thought was an ebow is Sandy playing with sidewalk chalk on her guitar. She's never used an ebow on a Weird Weeds song."


1:05 PM  

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