The Wrens

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

I'm surprised this hasn't happened yet, so I'll make it happen. The Wrens Thread.

The Meadowlands is just sad and brilliant, a detail rich comforting shove of a pop record. Songs like "Per Second Second" and "Happy" seem to leave little impression, then wedge their way in and get stuck, for keeps.

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 17:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Along with Neutral Milk Hotel, The Wrens are among the worst bands I've seen put forth as deserving (both here and by Pitchfork).

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 17:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

deserving what?

Al (sitcom), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 17:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Of attention.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 17:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Along with Neutral Milk Hotel, The Wrens are among the worst bands I've seen put forth as deserving (both here

Where on ilm?

and by Pitchfork).

Do we really have to bring this up?

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 18:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I sense great things for this thread.

Nick Mirov (nick), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 18:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

But then again Nick sensed great things for the Yugo.

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 19:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i don't really "get" the wrens either. i guess they're OK and all that for an indie pop band -- but the accolades one reads about them are mind boggling -- you'd think in some circles Jesus had risen again. what is supposed to make them so "fantabulous"?

jack cole (jackcole), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 19:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I wouldn't call them Jesus, I merely like the record a lot; I didn't intend to add gas to the hype machine.

They do appear to be just another indie pop band at first. It took awhile to sink in. What generally sets them apart: the Wrens are harder working, the lyrics are better, the songs assembled and arranged carefully/thoughtfully, the eighties bent in production and songwriting, the willful rejection of any trends whatsoever, and finally, the hooks that don't immediately come across as hooks. You'll be humming them for days.

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 19:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

oh boy willful rejection of trends!

mitch lastnamewithheld (mitchlnw), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 19:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Come on, John! A car that costs— and runs onAND IS MADE OF— pocket change? Don't tell me that wasn't a stroke of genius.

Nick Mirov (nick), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 19:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

oh boy willful rejection of trends!

Ah! but this is something!

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 20:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

something that isn't (necessarily) good.

mitch lastnamewithheld (mitchlnw), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 20:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


Yeah, it's much better to follow trends.

But seriously, are you saying the record sounds dated because it ain't got disco hi-hat beats or something?

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 20:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The Wrens are a Grass Records band.

Chris Ott (Chris Ott), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 20:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure what you're getting at?

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 20:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Ott means that the Wrens suck because they were on Grass. Y'know, just like Brainiac.

Nick Mirov (nick), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 20:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's what I guessed. That's kind of like saying "Chris Ott is a Pitchfork writer."

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 20:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Of the songs I've heard "Miss Me" (i think that's what it's called) is really great, and none of the others have any personality (that I can discern)

Sonny A. (Keiko), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 21:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i didn't say anything about the record scott! 'what i'm saying' is that trend-rejection isn't a virtue in itself. i like 'room on fire', but not because it doesn't have a uk garage influence

for the record, i've heard a few songs by the wrens (you know, i still have a kinda sucky but oddly comforting release of theirs called 'silver' that i bought used for dirt cheap and haven't listened to in a long time!), i was listening to different records then, but i thought they had a few nice, if relatively unremarkable, indie rock songs. i actually downloaded something from this new cd and found it lousy, maybe i've just gotten too lazy a listener to dig for hooks. and disco hi-hats couldn't hurt.

mitch lastnamewithheld (mitchlnw), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 21:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

trend-rejection isn't a virtue in itself

I hear ya, I know what you mean. This is very true.

I think in this case it is a virtue because the sound, method, whatever, suits the band even if the record does sound dated. They haven't changed too much with the times, but I think it works, and their stubbornness (as I imagine it) is a plus. It has a lot of personality.

scott m (mcd), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 21:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Grass was a pretty awful label, for sure, but mostly for their tightwad label boss' practices. Fun fact: A Ten O'Clock scholar, Grass' last release (well, before becoming the label of Creed and Evanescense), according to soundscan, sold, literally, about 4 copies. But anyway, back to the Wrens. If one had seen them live and still decided that they "suck", one cares little about passionate rock music. Charles is simply one of the most entertaining guitarist I've ever seen, windmilling his forearm violently (to the point of spraying blood against his Telecaster) while wearing cheap baby blue tuxes. I love lefty bassists who can't afford a lefty bass, and just learn to play upside down.

Though it should technically matter little, the Wrens are possibly the nicest group of people you'll ever met.

But, yeah, Grass. When booking a Wrens show back in 96, that Fuckwad Boss, forced the addition of Commander Venus (his newest signing) to the bill. The little band of 14-15 year olds was fronted by a pathetic, pubescent Bright Eyes. Now THEY were terrible.

brent_D, Wednesday, 5 November 2003 22:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, overall grass was a pretty terrible label (with a few exceptions, the wrens not being one of them (but pretty good for a Grass band) but there usually are always a few).


i guess i don't care about "passionate rock music." ha ha ha, etc.

jack cole (jackcole), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 22:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i don't really "get" the wrens either. i guess they're OK and all that for an indie pop band -- but the accolades one reads about them are mind boggling -- you'd think in some circles Jesus had risen again. what is supposed to make them so "fantabulous"?

That's how I feel about the Shins. But I love the Wrens' record. And I can't explain why...

peanut (peanut), Wednesday, 5 November 2003 23:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
I like "The Meadowlands" album, but have a much greater appreciation for the band after seeing them in person last night. I don't recall seeing a band that features such diverse sonic personalities, all doing their own little things in pursuit of 'the whole', as those guys. A really great live band who has 'converted' me.

Baked Bean Teeth (Baked Bean Teeth), Monday, 19 January 2004 05:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It took awhile to sink in.

Yeah, me too and I didn't want to like them because pitchfork was all up on them, but after further listenings I came to love Meadowlands. Secaucus doesn't do much for me though.

By the way, as long as this is The Wrens thread, has anyone else read Meadowlands reviews with the words 'emo' included? I thought this was a little ridiculous. I mean then what isn't emo?

Also I have little knowledge of Grass as a mid 90s label, but I would think It'd be much easier to rip them for being on Drive-Thru for a minute.

christhamrin (christhamrin), Monday, 19 January 2004 08:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

When I put them on a big playlist and was reading, the song from Meadowlands stuck out enough for me to actively find out what I was listening to. So the Wrens passed my test.

David Allen (David Allen), Monday, 19 January 2004 20:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i love the meadowlands. they played two shows in chicago on friday night; the first one at least was a little rushed because their van's alternator blew on the way in & start got pushed back like 30 mins? in any case they seemed very excited to be in chicago and playing to a capacity crowd. the stuff they played off the new record sounded great & got people excited, but they got all that out of the way early, which didn't seem like a great move to me. fairly short set.

andrew s, Monday, 19 January 2004 21:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

has anyone else read Meadowlands reviews with the words 'emo' included? I thought this was a little ridiculous. I mean then what isn't emo?

ha ha. this was exactly my thought when I listened to the record. It's pretty good - and it's also definitely emo. Nothing wrong with that per se, but I was extremely perplexed that I hadn't seen any review refer to it as such - like you say. i guess most of the indie review places have worked so hard at slagging and distancing themselves from emo (trashing bands solely on the basis of their genre), that they can't conceive of an emo record that they like. what a sad place to be.

Sean M (Sean M), Monday, 19 January 2004 21:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Doesn't emo sound like fugazi? I mean there's not even any screaming.

Maybe I'm one of the billion trillion people who aren't quite sure on what emo is.

David Allen (David Allen), Monday, 19 January 2004 22:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Uh I didn't intend to get into yet another emo thing. But maybe I wasn't clear...I meant to say I didn't think it was emo (and I did read reviews calling it emo). You could say it had its Jimmy Eat World-ish moments (weird new-wave-y moments and other things, thankfully no goofy eletronic parts), but no, I am voting for not emo. Yes they do display emotion, but ahh fuck it...FUCKING EMO, WHY CAN"T WE JUST PRETEND IT DOESN"T EXIST?

Seriously. When is everyone going to start using the term 'post-emo' - its about time. Certainly theres a lot of stuff that has been influenced by it, but it just doesn't fit to really call anything emo anymore unless it is used as an insult.

Power pop I say. Sounds like indie rock update on Big Star/Flamin' Groovies.

And if it didn't have the 6 minute long turd that seems like it lasts 13 months it'd be near-perfect.

christhamrin (christhamrin), Tuesday, 20 January 2004 13:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm glad to see the Wrens getting some ilm love. I understand why people don't like it. It's a throwback to the early-mid-nineties (before Jimmy Eat World was emo, ahhh ferget it). I like the fact that it sounds surgically composed from another time. I also think it sounds like a classic rock album recorded on pro tools in 2002.

scott m (mcd), Tuesday, 20 January 2004 15:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

They've been around the block a bunch of times and are explicitly not burnouts who want a medal for it. That's rare enough.

Dock Miles (Dock Miles), Tuesday, 20 January 2004 16:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Well I have had The Meadowlands long enough to say that it definitely turned out to be a grower for me. Secacus was an immediate hit with me but I have to admit that I now think The Meadowlands is better.

Jim Reckling (Jim Reckling), Monday, 16 February 2004 04:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I was sort of bored with Meadowlands when I first heard it, but I kept listening and it just sort of clicked. Now I listen to it all the time. And it has a lyric I can't get out of my head: "Rural poor at 35 / I am the best 17-year-old ever." Story of my life.

I just wish I could find the old CDs.

subgenius (subgenius), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 06:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
the meadowlands is about to be released in the uk by lomax records. what to expect? i just got it but haven't listened to it yet.

CharlieNo4 (Charlie), Sunday, 31 July 2005 16:15 (twelve years ago) Permalink

You're in for a treat, one of the best albums of the 2000s.

kornrulez6969 (TCBeing), Sunday, 31 July 2005 22:35 (twelve years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
remember when people used to pretend to like these wrens

arif mardin, Friday, 25 November 2005 22:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Meadowlands is one of my favorite records from the past few years, and they are definitely my favorite live band. They are also genuinely nice people. It's good to see them having some measure of success and appreciation after all they've been through.

subgenius (subgenius), Friday, 25 November 2005 22:39 (eleven years ago) Permalink

pretend nothing! I eagerly await their new album, it should hit in 2013.

erv (Abe Froman), Friday, 25 November 2005 22:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the only song that stuck with me from both Meadowlands and Secaucus is "I've made enough friends." fantastic track, the rest was blah to me...

Jimmy_tango, Friday, 25 November 2005 23:05 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i think the meadowlands holds up well, even if it may not have kept pace with the indie backlash

andrew s (andrew s), Saturday, 26 November 2005 01:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

People who hate on the Wrens without qualifying it just come across as obnoxious to me.

Matt McEver (mattmc387), Saturday, 26 November 2005 02:08 (eleven years ago) Permalink

man, the Meadowlands was so overrated. Secaucus, on the other hand ...

lemin (lemin), Saturday, 26 November 2005 04:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink

that'll do

Matt McEver (mattmc387), Saturday, 26 November 2005 04:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Along with Neutral Milk Hotel, The Wrens are among the worst bands I've seen put forth as deserving (both here and by Pitchfork).

File under: Perfect Sound? Whatever.

nancyboy (nancyboy), Saturday, 26 November 2005 11:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I like The Meadowlands having listened to it on and off for about a year. Probably a dozen times in total. What this thread says to me is that this like will grow stronger if I persevere, so I will.

thousands of tiny luminous spheres (plebian), Saturday, 26 November 2005 23:58 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Though I started this thread, I have not listened to the Wrens since 2003.

mcd (mcd), Sunday, 27 November 2005 04:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Upon relistening, The Meadowlands really is a pretty devastating record. I'm really hoping these guys can keep it together long enough to make another record.

Simon H., Sunday, 27 July 2008 03:00 (nine years ago) Permalink

How the fuck has this thread gone all this time with no mention of "Everyone Choose Sides"? Agreed that devastating is as good a word as any for this.

rogermexico., Sunday, 27 July 2008 05:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

Everybody on the planet should see these boys/middle aged men live too.

Fer Ark, Sunday, 27 July 2008 06:42 (nine years ago) Permalink

I only like the distorted songs at the end of this album.

abanana, Sunday, 27 July 2008 09:36 (nine years ago) Permalink

For a lol indie band I like these guys a lot. And I fucked up and missed them at the Adelphi.

Noodle Vague, Sunday, 27 July 2008 13:20 (nine years ago) Permalink

i really like the song 'Happy' but the rest bores me

rockapads, Monday, 28 July 2008 07:38 (nine years ago) Permalink

Saw them at the borderline in london a couple of years ago; was one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Still not tired of the Meadowlands.

G00blar, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

i throw "the meadowlands" on a few times a year and it still sounds totally sad and real and close to the bone. saw them live in 2003? 2004? and they were totally excellent and very funny.

Emily Bjurnhjam, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

Boy did I forget about the Wrens. I mean, I clicked on this thread thinking, "never heard of this band", and read like five posts before I realized I once owned The Meadowlands. I must have sold it or something because I no longer have it and it clearly didn't leave an impression on me...considering giving them another shot...

RabiesAngentleman, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:23 (nine years ago) Permalink

I take The Meadowlands off the shelf, listen to "Happy" and "She Sends Kisses," and put it back. But damn am I satisfied.

call all destroyer, Monday, 28 July 2008 14:18 (nine years ago) Permalink

There are a lot of bands where the bio seems beside the point, but I know the Wrens' backstory makes the band mean more to me. My introduction to them was this still inspirationalTimes article that I can't separate from what's on The Meadowlands. Everyone Choose Sides and This Boy Is Exhausted put their daily struggle front and center, which makes all the relationship songs feel epic because you know what it took them to get to the point of being able to tell their tale. The Wrens = hope for all middle-aged rockers.

dad a, Monday, 28 July 2008 15:19 (nine years ago) Permalink

The Meadowlands is: totally fantastic, totally emo, totally not indie-pop. The beginning of this thread is: totally hilarious.

St3ve Go1db3rg, Monday, 28 July 2008 18:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

i still haven't heard Secaucus...
i liked meadowlands fine (it did seem a tad over-hyped at the time) and i'll pull it out every six months or so.

saw em live last year in Philly in the basement of a church(?) and they were pretty fuggin great

will, Monday, 28 July 2008 18:32 (nine years ago) Permalink

I didn't get Wrens - that Meadowlands was overrrated - i cheated it in the wrong sequence - then i saw them (THE WRENS) live.
Oh man. The reasons I love music

Fer Ark, Monday, 28 July 2008 21:23 (nine years ago) Permalink

Noodle Vague.

Next time Jacko does one hold a Vague banner.

Fer Ark, Monday, 28 July 2008 22:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

I'm ashamed at the number of "though it was overrated"s in this thread

skygreenleopard, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 16:53 (nine years ago) Permalink

Don't be ashamed ^ we all got there in the end but maybe not as quickly as you. Well Done

Fer Ark, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 17:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

Are we not liking this record now? For crying out loud, what the hell is there not to like? It's on the shortlist of best records of the 2000s, people! Geez louise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 17:17 (nine years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

ten tons against me and you've gone
I put your favorite records on
and sit around
it spins around
and you're around again
struck dumb while drugs run at how high reeds
cue every memory at half-speeds
just like....charles, hold-me-downs
I'm-coming sounds
cut crap, who's filling shoes like these anymore?
past clumsy crushes beneath Thrill Pier
hopes pinned to poses honed in men's room mirrors
a sophomore at Brown
she worked Lost & Found
I put your face on her all year
from five rows of photos when you wrote
of posed you, dressed blue, a backyard boat
signed at the bottom with this quote:
(#4 North Shore) a cape may address
your new one I guess
'all's well in hell and all here's hoping'
she sends kisses
some signed 'with Love, Beth oooooo xxxxx'
she sends kisses
our oldest joke
some signed 3 sixes
our shore town knockdown sure was fun
yeah, white trash, what have you
I fired replies back gun by gun
past Seven Wrecks I read your four answers: 1. your move 2. I'm tres involved 3. move on 4. love, Beth
I walk it down
this tourist town
'just thought I'd' calls
just friends
she sends kisses
and all at once back doors blow open
she sends.... in envelopes stamped w/ 'Hope & Hearts' - ripped right open
she sends...
but I'm corrupt - I wrote back good luck

DUDE, I DON'T LOSE (call all destroyer), Friday, 12 June 2009 20:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

from the above lyrics, the following line stands out for me as incredible:

"hopes pinned to poses honed in men's room mirrors"

such a great observation, expressed with a great deal of poetic poise.

charlie h, Monday, 17 January 2011 10:29 (six years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

I still don't get it.

http://devonrecordclub.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/the-wrens-meadowlands-round-14-toms-selection/

At what point does its brilliance reveal itself?

yugi ex, Monday, 19 September 2011 21:41 (six years ago) Permalink

it took me at least 5 listenings spread throughout the course of a month before i even began to consider coming back to individual songs.

they have their strong moments, but the lyrics in "happy" make me cringecringeCRINGE despite being my favorite song of theirs. and i spent too much of my disowned teenage years listening to nu-metal that that ~voice~ has always struck me as the kind you'd hear opening for Staind that sometimes i turn it down on the bus just in case anyone is actually critical enough to judge the squibbles emitting from my headphones

Hullo, I'm Jon Moss (kelpolaris), Tuesday, 20 September 2011 01:55 (six years ago) Permalink

I like the album a great deal but it's not by any means an easy listen.

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 20 September 2011 02:01 (six years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

Apparently the new record's done, partially spurred on by a near-death experience. They signed a new deal a few weeks back.

http://wrens.com/25th-year-wrap-up_and_record_is_wrapped

Simon H., Friday, 5 December 2014 17:13 (two years ago) Permalink

Neat. Scary circumstances though, yikes.

Evan, Friday, 5 December 2014 17:28 (two years ago) Permalink

do we know which wren is writing there?

call all destroyer, Friday, 5 December 2014 17:58 (two years ago) Permalink

I assume it's Kevin?

Evan, Friday, 5 December 2014 18:07 (two years ago) Permalink

I was assuming Charles?

Simon H., Friday, 5 December 2014 18:07 (two years ago) Permalink

I'll put in $5 on Kevin

Evan, Friday, 5 December 2014 18:08 (two years ago) Permalink

some of the other recent posts are written by charles for sure

call all destroyer, Friday, 5 December 2014 18:09 (two years ago) Permalink

Given their luck, maybe they all got cepsis.

Simon H., Friday, 5 December 2014 18:16 (two years ago) Permalink

that'd be charles

the portentous pepper (govern yourself accordingly), Friday, 5 December 2014 19:13 (two years ago) Permalink

Dammit!

Evan, Friday, 5 December 2014 19:18 (two years ago) Permalink

The Meadowlands is probably in my top ten all time records. I almost dread anticipating this new record. Yet can't wait all the same.

a pleasant little psychedelic detour in the elevator (Amory Blaine), Sunday, 7 December 2014 23:44 (two years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Alright, looks like it reeeeaaaaally is done this time (the album)? I just happened to randomly google them to see what the latest is...

http://www.wrens.com/it-was-five-years-ago-yesterday

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Saturday, 5 September 2015 22:24 (two years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

just the worst news

thom yorke state of mind (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 22 March 2016 20:05 (one year ago) Permalink

hopefully it's not dire. he's so self-effacing that it's hard to really tell.

dc, Tuesday, 22 March 2016 20:48 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

So apparently the new album is done; Charles has been posting invitations on FB for people to come by his house and listen to it, if there are any NJ ILXors interested. I guess we can expect a release date at some point in the near future? Maybe?

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Wednesday, 13 September 2017 15:40 (one week ago) Permalink

is it actually done this time? he's been having people come by to listen to the new material for quite a while now, so until there's a release date i won't hold my breath. the last concrete details from twitter were that it was nearly all sequenced & mastered at the start of august, with only a few songs left to tweak

ufo, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 15:58 (one week ago) Permalink

So apparently the new album is done; Charles has been posting invitations on FB for people to come by his house and listen to it, if there are any NJ ILXors interested. I guess we can expect a release date at some point in the near future? Maybe?

― a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Wednesday, September 13, 2017 11:40 AM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I thought Charles lived in BK? Or are you saying only us NJ ILXors are qualified to get an first listen?

Evan, Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:07 (one week ago) Permalink

nah I just assumed he lived in jersey

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Wednesday, 13 September 2017 17:16 (one week ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.