Aaron Weiss, the lyricist and lead singer for indie rock band mewithoutYou, is surely one of the most complex and creative voices in modern independent music. His lyrics, steeped in mystical jargon and personal reflection, are notorious for their power to comfort, amaze, and inspire fans of the band. mewithoutYou as a band iclearly defined by Weiss’ lyrical and vocal prowess. Yet it would also be incorrect to ignore the contributions of the rest of the band. Aaron’s brother Michael on guitar, Greg Jehanian on bass, and Rich Mazzotta on drums round out the group’s sound, one that is simultaneously atmospheric, (mostly) upbeat, and energetic.
This song, however, shows that mewithoutYou are capable of stripping their sound down to the bare essentials, which further emphasizes the power of Weiss’ lyrics. “In A Sweater Poorly Knit” is one of the band’s most emotional, recognizable tunes, and lends itself excellently to acoustic re-imagining. This version sees Weiss play melodies on his accordion while the rest of the band turns out a simple yet solid rendition of the music. What is most notable about this version, however, is the alternate lyrics that Weiss sings on the second verse of the song. The second half of the verse in the studio goes: “Take your fingers from your lute to weave your colored yarns / And boil down your fruit to preserves in mason jars / And the books are overdue and the goats are underfed / The trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead.” However, Weiss renders the lyrics in this version as follows: “Take your fingers from your lute to weave your colored yarns / While I play for passing prostitutes, an out of tune guitar / I hear there’s someone new, another pillow on your bed / The trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead.” It makes perfect sense to me that Weiss changed the lyrics for the final version of the song, but I’m very happy that I got to hear him sing this version, which is more powerful, in a different way.
This song is one in a three song acoustic set the band recorded for an internet series called Sleepover Shows, which records bands performing three songs live and drastically rearranged in random locations throughout Boston, Massachusets. They generally get independent musicians as they pass through Boston on tour, and have recordedartists such as The Black Angels, Chris Bathgate, OK GO, and Math The Band. More information about this project can be found online here.