A wise look at Allison Weiss

Rising indie-rock artist exhibits sweet, meaningful sounds worth plugging into

On a sweltering day last July, Warped Tour’s Acoustic Basement Tent burst with the sweet indie-rock sounds of Allison Weiss. With an acoustic guitar, a tambourine, and an outfit resembling The Ramones’ classic punk threads, the audience expected to hear relaxing folk tunes that would mellow the harshness of the sun. Instead, Weiss treated them to a jam session full of angry, rock ‘n’ roll narrative pieces that resulted in a mile-long line at the merchandise table after her set.

Only recently having made her formal debut into the worldwide music market, Weiss released her first full-length album “Say What You Mean” in 2013, following two highly successful Kickstarter campaigns and one vastly underappreciated YouTube song series.

Weiss’s style strikes a happy medium — it is not as dramatic or heavily eye-lined as Avril Lavigne’s angsty girl-rock, but it also doesn’t succumb to the pop fluff sounds of some indie bands like The Drums and Arcade Fire.

The emotional content of her music is made more meaningful with this balance. Instead of overwhelming depression or underwhelming metaphorical comparisons, listeners get a true feeling of her restrained sorrow and confusion and her ultimate understanding of reality.

“Wait for Me,” a soft track from her full-length, puts a hopeful twist on a stricken break-up as she describes the freedom of spirit she’ll be able to express in her new single life. The hate presented in “Hole in Your Heart” bangs out a heavy bass line and full-bodied vocals, giving listeners a heady sense of her anger at a lover who has neglected her. The album’s closing track, “I’ll Be Okay,” sends us off with solid closure as she sifts through confusion following a break-up with interesting rhythmic interplay of guitar and soft drums.

Before the pervasive success of “Say What You Mean,” the emotional content of Weiss’ material seemed more raw and fresh. A personal favorite of mine from her YouTube series is “I Don’t Wanna Be Here,” which layers delicately melodic guitar with undertones of self-hatred.

Aside from Weiss’ honesty and lyrical talent, the greatest advantage of her music is her strong, sweet voice. It sounds completely natural when coupled with her lilting guitar. The lack of vocal touch-up in each of her YouTube videos, or “teenage years’ songs” as she dubs them, makes her work more meaningful and beautiful.

Her personality shines through in these videos: Weiss is a sweet-hearted Georgian with big dreams, boldly pursuing the American Dream. She bravely bears her soul in her music and appeals to other troubled souls like herself in her endeavors to use her music to positively impact the world. Her earnest voice, adorable personality, and noble quest to change the quality of life for the downtrodden make her quite the inspiring underdog.

Published March 16, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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