The Carissa’s Wierd Genealogy Project

(For Miranda and her changed tastes.)


Carissa’s Wierd was active from the late 1990s until 2003. The constant core of the band consisted of Mat Brooke (vocals and guitar), Jenn Ghetto (vocals and guitar), and Sarah Standard (violin). Their most frequent drummer was Ben Bridwell; Jeff Hellis regularly played keyboards and accordion. Other performers listed on album or song credits include Gilden Tunador (keyboards), Robin Perringer (drums), Sera Cahoone (drums), Thomas Wright (tour drums), Sam Beam (backing vocals), and Creighton Barrett (tour drums?).


CW recorded three conventional-format studio albums: Ugly But Honest, You Should Be at Home Here, and Songs About Leaving. In support of a summer 2003 tour, they produced a rarities collection, sold at their concerts: Scrap Book, which includes ncludes four inspired new songs, and five covers, two remixes, and a demo, all uninspired. After returning to Seattle at the end of the tour and announcing plans to disband, they played a farewell show at the Crocodile Cafe in November 2003. Nine songs from that set, along with three further unreleased studio recordings, were assembled into I Before E.

Bootlegs, Singles, and Rarities

An unknown fan taped CW’s sow in Omaha during the 2003 tour. There are a few moments of feedback and some loud chatter, but the audio quality is generally good and the performances strong.

“You Should Be Hated Here” (from You Should Be At Home Here) was released as a 7”; the B-side was a cover of Morrisey’s “Suedehead.”

Other songs by CW kicking around on various compilations include a cover of Suede’s “Digging a Hole” a cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” and an original(?) song entitled “Where Are You Now?.”

CW played a live four-song set on KEXP in 2002 and KEXP taped a live performance from the Capitol Hill Block Party in 2001.

Jenn and Mat performed as guest artists on a rem-mix of The Six Parts Seven’s “On Marriage.”

YouTube has live versions of “Sympathy Bush” and “One Night Stand” (Jenn and Mat), plus the otherwise unavailable “Winter in Sea.”

Other Projects

Mat Brooke and Ben Bridwell founded Band of Horses (originally just Horses), by far the most prominent band in the Carissa’s Wierd ecology. Their first album, Everything All the Time, has much a stronger rock sound than CW’s work. Band of Horses then relocated to South Carolina, minus Brooke. Their second album, Cease to Begin, shows essentially no traces of any CW influence.

Mat then founded another band, Grand Archives, which released the eponymous The Grand Archives in 2008. The band’s sound is hard to characterize, as it changes substantially from song to song. “Sleepdriving” could almost be a CW song; others, others, such as “The Crime Window,” and “Miniature Birds” seem to come out of an entirely different musical universe, one that has a horn section and major keys. Guest performers on individual songs include Jenn and Sarah.

While working with CW, Jenn Ghetto also pursued a solo project, S. Her 2001 album, Sadstyle, features the distinctly lo-fi self-recorded solo guitar/vocals aesthetic familiar from early CW songs like “Blankets Stare.” The lyrics are confrontational and confessional; the overall effect is harsh, intimate, and sometimes affecting. Her second album as S, Puking and Crying, goes even further into electronics and tape-effects territory.

Sera Cahoone, sometime drummer for CW, Band of Horses, and Grand Archives, has released two albums under her own name: Sera Cahoone and Only as the Day Is Long. They’re both warm, quiet, and soothing, featuring a small acoustic ensemble with a slightly country twang.

In addition to supporting guest work for Sera Cahoone and Grand Archives, Sarah Standard has performed for the electronica group Plan B.

thanks a lot for this! if you’re interested, you should check out/join my forum i made devoted to carissa’s wierd and its various new projects. check it out anyways :)