The Weird Weeds are not another Jewelled Antler clone. They're not some cutesy twee band either. What they are, exactly, is hard to say, but one thing is for sure and that is that their debut album is absolutely brilliant. This quartet (now a trio) is led by drummer/vocalist Nick Hennies and guitarest Aaron Russell. Listen to "Hold Me" once and it should be clear to anyone with half a brain that this is the best band, by far, in Austin. Hell, they might be the best band in the US without a record contract.
In in the interest in full disclosure, I should note that Nick Hennies is a friend of mine. I thought that would make writing this review a delicate experience. How do you tell someone their music is crap without ending a friendship? I've seen it a million times: a person's friends tell him/her that their music is "great" or "amazing," and they inevitably spend a huge amount of money putting out a CD that never sells and gets torn to shreds by more objective listeners. The good news is that "Hold Me" blew any and every expectation I had out of the water that this never was an issue. The simple truth is, The Weird Weeds are just damn good.
"Hold Me" opens with the ridiculously catchy "Paratrooper Seed." This song is deceptively simple. It lulls you softly into submission with slow-motion images of parachutes floating lifeless through the air. Hennies voice pairs beautifully with guitarist/vocalist Sandy Ewen's, creating a sense of serenity. Everything in this song is gloriously put into the perfect place. It's like your grandmother's house where it feels more like a museum than a home. But in this pristine setting, The Weird Weeds neither feel uncomfortable or out of place.
It's hard to believe this album was self-recorded and self-released. It's a strange landscape when a band like this remains unsigned and someone like The Rogue Wave is getting money from Sub Pop. Things are not right in the world. Bands like The Weird Weeds are rare; they should be held in the highest regard, not ignored or glossed over. If The Arcade Fire can generate a bidding war, one would think that The Weird Weeds would start a riot.
The Weird Weeds are one of few bands making music with pop undercurrents that is not only interesting, but impressively original. There's enough hooks to keep the music accessible, but so many new ideas and approaches that keeps it from sounding like anything else. Great care was taken putting this record together and the effort paid off in gold. Simply, this is a stunning debut album from a magnificent band. If more bands were making records like this, the current state of music would be much better off. So. Fucking. Good. 9/10 -- Brad Rose (25 May, 2005)