The real story on A Weather is how this seemingly brand-new band—with no tangible tour history or bevy of known ex-members—signed to Conor Oberst's Team Love record label. For a lesser band, that would be the only story, the lone angle to somehow make them seem interesting. But with A Weather it's merely a footnote; in fact, I'll wrap it up in one sentence: Team Love's co-owner Nate Krenkel—the one who is not the famous singer from Bright Eyes—was played the A Weather demo, agreed to release a 7-inch from the band, and then they played alongside Oberst in front of about 1,200 people in Seattle. Simple as that. While it's rare for new bands to stumble into record deals like this with such haphazard ease, it's not really the reason to be excited about this band.
Then again, A Weather deals in avoiding excitement altogether. Instead they tend to focus on the emotional crash, the other end of the pendulum's bipolar swing, and they do so with little more than a series of whispers. A Weather is quiet. Really quiet. So quiet that they would tell Red House Painters or Low to turn it down. A Weather's duo of bedroom whisperers—Aaron Gerber and Sarah Winchester—mellifluously rasp out lines that eventually intertwine between the two contrasting sets of vocals. Gerber is downtrodden and unsure, singing as if each word is his last, and every song is little more than a humbled final plea. Winchester's voice represents the hope, but even then it's a damaged façade that barely manages to anchor—and at times, rescue—Gerber's wavering demands. Their dual vocals interplay like an intimate bedroom conversation between two lovers. As you find yourself straining to hear more, you're almost ashamed for listening to something so personal, so voyeuristic and so close.
While there are two songs to their debut 7-inch, you'll be hard pressed to flip the record over to the B side's "One More One Night Stand" more than once after hearing the A side's "The Feather Test." If there was ever a theme song to the slouched-shoulder depression of A Weather, "The Feather Test" is it. The interplay of Gerber and Winchester's soft voices takes on an ethereal haunt as they explain, "I get gone on whiskey and cocaine, on cough syrup and codeine/Watch me move like nothing you've seen/Brush a hand across where you felt me." This otherworldly regret, of emotionally (and perhaps, physically) dead lovers eventually ends in the final refrain of, "We lost a couple years like a Christmas box/When it was over we felt better somehow," before being smothered out once and for all and fading softly into oblivion.
Sure, there is another side to this record, but why bother? While "The Feather Test" will never test the prowess of your sound system, it's the type of song that can slowly unravel you, thread by thread, until it causes your world to come quietly crashing down. So just nudge the arm back to its cradle, cue up the needle, and play the A side all over again.