From The Vault Part 1: Carissa’s Wierd – They Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1995-2003



I have to preface this piece by stating that this album scared the hell out of me. The reason has absolutely nothing to do with the sound of the Carissa’s Wierd, which is like a more delicate and intricate version of all the mainstays of 90’s alternative rock that we now hear in grocery stores across the country. No, it was the substantialness and underground credibility that the band held, and the fact that I was GIVEN their “best of” album to review by my then boss at I didn’t feel ready. It was the summer of 2010, and A Band of Horses was (is) a really big deal. Sera Cahoone was (is) as well. And for those who didn’t know, they are both byproducts of this amazing band, Carissa’s Wierd.

So it was basically my own feeling of insignificance and unworthiness that eventually led me to holding onto this fantastic album from the beautiful label Hardly Art (Tacocat, Bitches!!), letting it slowly collect proverbial and actual dust for the last 6 years. When this album was released, I had just started my “career” as a music blogger and was content with writing features and album reviews for relatively smaller acts that I simply adored. I dare say I was just another pretentious 25 year old asshole who thought this band was not up my alley, but that was definitely untrue. The Seattle based Carissa’s Wierd is exactly up my alley! They were god damned brilliant. Just plain magical. The truth is, as I mentioned before, I was scared to fuck this one up. Which I am still certain I would have done, and unfortunately may be doing right now. But, I’m older and looser these days, which leads to less concern for failure. Therefore, I shall fail on just to finally get to tell you fine folks just how much I love this album, even if it’s 6 years too late, and Hardly Art probably doesn’t give a shit anymore.


Photo by Brian Marr via

Carissa’s Wierd was ironically enough a perfect band of it’s time. And I only say ironic, because they were formed in 1995 and probably had no idea how annoying their name would 20 years later in the age of autocorrect. But, hey, I guess people read books back then, right? Anyway, they were perfect when they started, and they were perfect when they ended. Carissa’s Wierd was a band that fell perfectly into the evolution from grunge, to the “The” band era of the early 00’s, right into the explosion of soft indie rock. They spent 8 years evolving into one of the most memorable acts in the world of independent music, and They Only Miss You When Leave is an absolutely brilliant compilation of the magnanimous and astounding fortitude for TRUE music serves as a perfect example of the evolution that the band soared through in their heyday. And in my own humble opinion, there is no better example of this than the track “Ignorant Piece of Shit”. Deriving from their final album, Songs About Leaving, I really believe that this song encapsulates everything they accomplished as a group. It is a moody gem but provides an uplifting sense of rhythm that is undeniably beautiful. It is also one of a handful of songs I have heard with an appropriate use of the violin.

If I can say one last thing about this amazing album, it has to be that this might very well be one of the greatest “best of” albums I have ever heard. Everything is fresh, fun and/or only mildly depressing, and cuts like a knife whether through a fresh piece of gouda or through your own wrist. And I sincerely regret not moving past my fears oh so many years ago and just agreeing to tell the digital world how I felt about this manically enjoyable/depressing collection of an almost decade’s worth of wonderful tunes. And while this album may have been released 6 years ago, and is based around material that was produced as far back as over 20 years ago, it “holds up” as some would say. It is brilliant, fun, and, wait for it, delightfully wEird.

I seriously can not say enough nice things about this beautiful collection of songs, I just wish it hadn’t taken my 6 fucking years to do so. But, here we are. Closure. Closure is good. Carissa’s Wierd is even better.

You can find this album and more from Carissa’s Wierd at the Hardly Art website.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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