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Category Archives: carissa's wierd

I’m a little bit of a poser on this one, I only found it like last year and have actually never heard a note of Band of Horses. Nor do I particularly care to, honestly. But this is great stuff I got into around the same time I found out about The Swirlies. Thanks, Ott! -Ian!

Carissa’s Wierd formed in 1995 when Matt Brooke and Jenn Ghetto moved to Seattle from Arizona. Their hushed, plaintive vocals, blended with intricate instrumentation, impressed from the start. The pair recruited pianist Jeff Hellis and a string of drummers and violinists to round out their sparse indie rock sound. Other members included Ben Bridwell, Sarah Standard, and Sera Cahoun. Embracing a misspelling and never subscribing to convention, the bandmembers blazed their own trail early on, cutting their teeth in Seattle’s club scene.

In 1999, the group unleashed Ugly But Honest on Bridwell’s Brown Records, while 2001’s You Should Be at Home Here and 2002’s Songs About Leaving garnered the band widespread acclaim across the Pacific Northwest. Recording with Chris Walla at Seattle’s Hall of Justice Studio, the group increasingly seemed to be a legend in the making, but disbanded in late 2003 soon after a cross-country tour. Following the demise, Ghetto focused on her solo project, simply called S. Brooke and Bridwell announced plans to form a band called November 16th; while such an outfit never materialized, the duo did find success with the indie rock act Band of Horses. Brooke split from the group in 2006 and went on to form Grand Archives, who subsequently became labelmates with Band of Horses when they signed to Sub Pop. Meanwhile, Sad Robots Records issued several posthumous releases of Carissa’s Wierd material, including 2004’s I Before E.

-Stephen Cramer,

Carissa’s Wierd-UGLY BUT HONEST (1999 compilation)
mu rs