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13&GodThe Wrens

The story of The Wrens is that of hard work, determination, unbending artistic vision, heartbreak and being screwed over by their record label big time. But most of all, the story of The Wrens is that of rock and roll, it is the story of their unwavering dedication to their art. The conception of The Wrens started when Greg Whelan, who was seven years older than his brother Kevin, came back from law school disheartened with the prospect of being a lawyer. They started playing gigs at Kevin's college where they would take requests from the audiences. It was like karaoke. With their new companions Charles Bissell and and Jerry MacDonald the band was complete and alltogether they move into a house in Secaucus, New Jersey. They sent a demo to Grass Records. They were signed almost immediately after the A & R people heard it. The Wrens became an underground sensation and were on the brink of monster success with two critically acclaimed LP's "Silver" and "Secaucus". They came to attention of millionaire and music industry neophyte, Alan Melzter. Melzter bought the Grass Records, to acquire The Wrens who were by now the label's flagship band. Things were indeed looking up for The Wrens who were mid-tour supporting their "Secaucus" album when Melzter, wanting their music to be more radio friendly, delivered an ultimatur. Sign with him for 1 million dollars or else all support will be pulled. The band frowning upon such strong arm tactics and reluctant to sell out their artistic vision declined the offer. Melzter commenced layoffs of involved record company personnel and vowed that "the next band to walk in through that door will be made famous - at any cost." Creed becomes famous at any cost. The band continued having hilarious courtship rituals with various other labels and in the meantime took low paying office jobs in Manhattan to support themselves. This was especially hard for Greg who said that "I'd passed the bar, worked as a lawyer, and now I was back answering phones and making photocopies." The Wrens would trudge back from work every night, come home and work on their music. Though all the hardship, heartbreak, trials and tribulations, The Wrens have encapsulated their experiences into their new album, "The Meadowlands", their defining magnum opus. It is a poignant, brutally truthfull look into the rich story that is their (un)rock and roll lives. And from what the critics say it may be one of the most beautiful and honest indie albums to come out this decade. The importance of The Wrens is succinctly captured in a feature by the hugely influential American online magazine Pitchfork, who said recently: "In retrospect, the return of The Wrens seems a triumph not merely in the context of underground music, but in the archetypical spirit of rock'n'roll itself; they are a band of quiet, mythical stature, and their story - their belief in their music, their perseverance in the face of disappointment, and the road they've followed in the pursuit of their vision - have since found ascension to the status of indie rock folklore."