Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Sept. 8, 2006
Weird Feelings (Sounds Are Active)
Loneliness. Despair. These could be the emotions Austin's Weird Weeds are referencing in the title of their latest LP. Sure, many of the songs here start out like the musical equivalent of a panic attack, but there's also joy, pain, sunshine, and rain. Their weirdness grows from roots to San Francisco's Deerhoof (guitarist Aaron Russell), as well as drummer Nick Hennies' many ties (Jandek, Xiu Xiu). The local trio's instrumentation, especially that of guitarist Sandy Ewen's chalk/slide/bow/whatever-will-make-noise style of playing, is unique indeed. Last year's debut, Hold Me, took the art of unease to extremes, but Feelings is more subtle. Opener "Bad Dreams" is a particularly unnerving whispered piece, and on the title track, Hennies drums like he's cutting heads off chickens. Then, the sun: "You feel so alive," sung over quivering guitar. The word used to describe bands of this ilk is often "haunting," and the lyrics on the odd "In Your Arms" ("Staring at the ceiling; a bloody floor") are surely that. Yet "Salt Shaker" brims over at the end with mellifluous release. Sometimes you wish Weird Weeds would just jam out, but they're on to something here. You just have to come closer to hear it.