Carissa's Wierd formed in 1995 when Tucson natives Matt Brooke and Jenn Ghetto moved to Seattle. The pair's hushed, plaintive vocals and intricate instrumentation made an impression on city's music scene from the start, and they recruited pianist Jeff Hellis — not to mention a rotating lineup of drummers and violinists — to round out their sparse indie rock sound. Other members included future Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell, Sarah Standard, and Sera Cahoun. Embracing a glaring misspelling and never subscribing to convention, the bandmembers blazed their own trail early on, cutting their teeth on Seattle's club circuit.
In 1999, the group unleashed Ugly But Honest on Bridwell's own label, Brown Records. The musicians continued making a buzz around the Pacific Northwest, heightening their local profile with the release of 2001's You Should Be at Home Here and 2002's Songs About Leaving. Recording with Chris Walla at Seattle's Hall of Justice Studio, the group increasingly seemed to be a legend in the making, but they disbanded in late 2003 soon after a cross-country tour. Following the demise, Ghetto focused on a solo project called S. Meanwhile, 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, and the local label Hardly Art issued a thorough compilation in 2010. ~ Stephen Cramer