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The Weird Weeds - Help Me Name Melody

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Artist: The Weird Weeds

Album: Help Me Name Melody

Label: Autobus

Review date: Oct. 8, 2010

Help Me Name Melody isn’t a radical departure for Austin’s Weird Weeds, who for years have been making smart, spare music that’s one part indie rock, one part folk, and maybe a pinch of avant-garde. There’s a little bit of Deerhoof, particularly in Nick Hennies’ drumming, but Weird Weeds are far more disarmingly simple.

Weird Weeds’ most crucial characteristic is that their songs aren’t songs, per se. They don’t develop much, even when they’re long, and rarely feature lyrics that occupy more than a few lines, or anything resembling verse-chorus form. Weird Weeds are often compared to Low, and for good reason - Weird Weeds’ music is faster and busier, but the two bands both feature male and female vocals and a tendency to sing a small number of words very slowly. But drummer Nick Hennies lists experimental musicians Alvin Lucier, Loren Connors and Radu Malfatti as some of his favorite musicians, and if you turn your ear just right, Weird Weeds’ minimal approach seems to come from them, too.

While their singing has improved since, say, 2006’s Weird Feelings, and the songs (pieces?) seem a little more focused than they used to, Weird Weeds are still the same band they were a few years ago. The four untitled instrumentals on Help Me Name Melody are especially impressive - they have an unhurried, transfixing quality that’s become increasingly rare as we get our music more and more from 15-second snippets.

In my review of Weird Feelings, I wrote that "they could write catchier and slightly busier melodies without detracting from any of their unique elements." I’m not sure that’s still true, since their newer material is more about creating a single soundworld and focusing intently on it.

This was a good change for them to have made. Help Me Name Melody is the kind of record that doesn’t sound particularly impressive on MySpace, but that takes on whole new dimensions on the high-quality sound clips at Bandcamp, where all of Aaron Russell and Sandy Ewen’s layers of feedback come through. This is Weird Weeds’ fullest-sounding record yet, and it’s also their most straightforward and immediate while remaining true to their sound.

By Charlie Wilmoth

Other Reviews of The Weird Weeds

Hold Me

Weird Feelings

The Weird Weeds

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View all articles by Charlie Wilmoth

Find out more about Autobus

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