April 9, 2015

Grip Weeds still finding inspiration from classic sounds


The Grip Weeds first began making music together about 25 years ago. Their sound was considered retro even back then, and it hasn’t changed much. On their 10th album, How I Won the War (released on Tuesday), they’re still more interested in finding variations on ’60s classic-rock, garage-rock and psychedelic rock than chasing contemporary trends.

Still, there’s an unquestionable vitality to their performances, and great range in the songwriting: “Follow Me Blind,” for instance, is a biting love-gone-wrong song, but “Lead Me to It” is an open-hearted anthem that bounds along at a breathless pace. “Rainbow Quartz” is a dreamy pop song; “Force of Nature” churns and rages. It’s rare for a band that has been around this long to sound so young and hungry.

The Grip Weeds have several New Jersey shows coming up, including a record release show April 10 at the Record Collector in Bordentown.

The Grip Weeds, which is based in Highland Park (where brothers and band co-founders Kurt and Rick Reil and lead guitarist Kristin Pinell run the House of Vibes recording studio), took their name from Musketeer Gripweed, the character John Lennon played in the 1967 movie “How I Won the War.” And they close this album with a cover of the Beatles B-side, “The Inner Light.” But they’re not focused on the Beatles, sound-wise; you’ll also hear echoes of The Who, The Kinks, The Byrds and countless other bands in their music.

The band’s upcoming shows include an album release party at the Record Collector in Bordentown, April 10; an in-store appearance and signing (also featuring The Weeklings) at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, April 25; and a show at Crossroads in Garwood, May 8.