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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


The Weird Weeds - "Baby" (Help Me Name Melody)


Help Me Name Melody isnít a radical departure for Austinís Weird Weeds, who for years have been making smart, spare music thatís one part indie rock, one part folk, and maybe a pinch of avant-garde. Thereís a little bit of Deerhoof, particularly in Nick Henniesí drumming, but Weird Weeds are far more disarmingly simple.

Weird Weedsí most crucial characteristic is that their songs arenít songs, per se. They donít develop much, even when theyíre 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 Weedsí 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 Weedsí minimal approach seems to come from them, too.

While their singing has improved since, say, 2006ís 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 thatís 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." Iím not sure thatís 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 doesnít 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 Ewenís layers of feedback come through. This is Weird Weedsí fullest-sounding record yet, and itís 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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Find out more about Autobus

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