12.27.2005

Could this be your new favorite band?


As promised. The Wrens.

This band is amazing. First, a brief recap of their rough history with record labels:
The New Jersey-based quartet started its career on Grass Records back in the mid-1990s. While the band was promoting its second release, Secaucus, the label head asked it to sign a big-dollar deal -- providing the group was willing to tailor their music to be more radio-friendly. The Wrens balked, and were summarily dropped from the roster. (Grass Records subsequently became Wind-Up Records, and quickly signed Creed; which was followed closely by Evanescence; you can draw your own conclusions.) As for the Wrens: Well, the band continued to plod along for the remainder of the decade, releasing music on smaller labels when it could, and working McJobs to pay the bills.

That was the late 90s. In 2003, they released an album called the Meadowlands. It's great.

Pitchfork Media rated it a 9.5, and had this to say about it:
"The Meadowlands exemplifies what every fan hopes for when a band announces a reunion or returns from more than a half-decade of silence: that they might have somehow improved exponentially each year they hid from the limelight, resulting in a payoff so cultivated it could be called their defining achievement by consensus. It's the reason we continue to harbor mixed feelings about a Pixies comeback: odds are, it ends in disappointment-- it always does-- but The Meadowlands is that one example left standing to offer a glimmer of hope. Black Francis, tomorrow this could be you."

I agree. Why?
Why am I so into this band all of a sudden?
I saw them at the local independent radio station's (Seattle's KEXP) Yule Benefit show. Their stage presence was unparalleled. I loved every second of it. I was in awe for most of the show. Every member sang (really well) at some point during the show. The bassist often threw his axe 7 or 8 ft. in the air. He urged the crowd on commandingly, yet without coming off as anything less than earnest or heartfelt. You knew immediately that he really wanted you to have a good time. I posted photos at the bottom of this post. I even got to meet the lead singer after the show, and properly thank him. He was very nice and gracious; a real class act.

Their 1996 album, Secaucus, is impossible to find legally. 1st, acquire their 2003 release the Meadowlands with as much efficacy as you can muster, and if you are still "in" call me, we'll talk Secaucus.

I had a conversation with Pedro about this band, and I was really able to compose my sentiments by saying, "You know, I may have listened to Sufjan Stevens the most this past year, but I can't say that I would put my ass on the line for him or any of those bands on my most listened to of 2005 list. I would put my ass on the line for the Wrens."

So, there you have it. Check them out. Buy them. Love them.

GO SEE THEM. All of you mid-westerners. They are playing in the Louis Room at Northwestern University in Chicago on February 10th. The box office number is (847) 491-2305. Call for tickets. This live show beat out Radiohead at Red Rocks, Modest Mouse at 1st Ave, Pearl Jam at Alpine Valley. And all of those concerts were monumental for me. So, consider this coercion.

Watch 2 videos from the Meadowlands here.

Here's some photos from the Seattle show that I went to:










So, after the presentation of what some may say is an impeccable case, are the Wrens your new favorite band? (hint: yes)

1:43 PM