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Haiti Benefit show, January 27th, at the Bell House (Brooklyn)

As mentioned last week, we’re playing as part of a larger benefit show for Haiti, and details (as well as tickets) are available today.

The show is Wednesday, January 27th, at the Bell House in Brooklyn, doors open at 6:00, and 100% of the proceeds will be split between Save the Children and Partners in Health.

All sets are short, stripped-down affairs and we should be on about 9:15 or so. Although with a line-up like this, it’s worth making a full evening of it...
 

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Haiti Earthquake Relief

By now, most of us have seen the heartbreaking scenes of destruction, suffering and death coming from Haiti, following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck there at 4:53pm local time, January 12th, approximately 10 miles from Port-au-Prince. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people are feared dead, as the capital city has been devastated.

To do our small part in helping to raise money for this cause, we’ll be performing at a benefit show here in New York City, along with a handful of other musicians, and we’ll post details on that as they’re finalized in the next day or two.

When disasters of this magnitude occur, sometimes amidst the media coverage and discussion, it can be less clear to know where to go to help or to donate the much-needed money for relief and eventual recovery...

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Q409 Annual Report to Shareholders – pt.3

B-B-B-B…But so where does that leave us?

So although we haven’t started new recording yet (I know, I know, believe me), in a very real way, we’ve never been more ahead or more prepared. Or had more plans or ideas. Weird, I know, but sometimes such are one’s middle years....

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The Me(adowlands) Decade

Again, we don't have a press page and have always been iffy about putting up a whole page of flattering press (also too lazy to go ahead and write that press ourselves). But we were so knocked out that some people had put the Meadowlands on their lists of favorite albums of the decade that that we went ahead and broke our own little convention here and then again here when someone pointed out that we'd hilariously missed Pitchfork...
 

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Q409 Annual Report to Shareholders – pt.2

[approaches dais, clears throat]

"Thank you, shareholders and thank you to our parent company, Berkshire Hathaway. During this last fiscal year…well, you’ve probably read in the trade & industry journals that our cutting-edge R&D team is well under way with new product development and recording and…well, this is Wrens & Co. Inc. LLC and we will mic no drum before its time. So yeah, we both aren’t and we are..."

 

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behold this, our self-tooted horn

One of the stranger (but occasionally cooler) aspects about being a long-lived but less-than-prolific band that makes it to near-2010 (and with a slow-but-working internet connection) is that online, your older albums never die, they just continue to pop up here & there like that person from accounts payable you made out with at last year’s office holiday party. Or say, the undead. Not necessarily out to do harm or even embarrass, but making things kinda weird just by being there.

And people send you links to see it happen...

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20th Anniversary Shirts Now Available

As mentioned as part of our 20th at Maxwell’s, we've also made a 20th Anniversary shirt and it's now swap-able for fifteen of your dollars in our store.

With the design by Phillip Niemeyer of Double Triple in Brooklyn, the first batch was hand-silkscreened by Charles & Phillip at Charles’ house. You can see a photo of their Warhol Silver Factory-style production going down here, (charles is to the right of your screen).

The second larger batch was hand-screened by the band in the basement of Maxwell’s, mere hours beforethe 20th anniversary shows, (so definitely pop those under an iron or in the dryer before you wash ‘em). Pretty sure Radiohead have the same pre-show routine.

As proof that we’re as arguably/dumbly DIY (deep-six it yourself) as we claim, click on the shot below for a few more photos from the Ken Burns’ making-of-the-shirt documentary. They also serve to answer that other riddle of the Sphinx, what walks on eight legs at night in the basement? (A: the wrens in middle age making shirts before shows):

Unintentionally, we’re posed strangely similarly to the inner sleeve of the Tubes’ “Completion Backward Principle”. As we mentioned at the close of our last record…

And while we’re merching our heads off, we’ve also added a black version of the ‘Keeping folks waiting. Since 1989’ shirt. Hard to tell since in the photos, the brown look black and vice versa, but trust me, they’re color-correct and stunning. While still being textually succinct.

You’ll find both of these for sale, along with the rest of this season’s line, in our corner store.

Thanks, as always,
the wrens

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20th Anniversary EP Available

Consider the barrel-bottom scraped

As we’d mentioned, as part of our 20th at Maxwell’s, we compiled this smattering of unreleased
(read: iffy) older songs spanning ’91 – ’97; most never-before-heard, some for good reason.

With one exception, these songs pre-date any of our albums and were all originally recorded in the then-standard media format of stone tablets (as pictured below):

(”wrens, I bought this tablet at your merch table and most of the Commandments came off in the wash. I’ve sent a burning bush to PayPal” - Moses)

(”wrens, I bought this tablet at your merch table and most of the Commandments came off in the wash. I’ve sent a burning bush to PayPal”
- Moses)

Note that these are CD-Rs, folks, though lovingly burnt by us and shipped in a cover by Phillip Niemeyer of Northern-Southern Design in Brooklyn&Austin that slyly unfolds to become a poster:

..and the cover/poster back:

They're a wee labor-intensive since we're folding the posters by hand like master origamists and the run is limited at the moment to 200 (numbered, naturally). So for the time being, even in this post-cd age, we're charging $10.
Once the covers are gone, we'll figure something out.
That also makes it the first poster we’ve ever sold but hopefully now, not the last.

Here’s the track listing (w/ year recorded):

1. The French Song (1991)
2. Soft Castration (1991)
3. Lips of Blue (1992)
4. Don’t Be Shy (1997)
5. Silverware (1992)
6. 6th & Atlantic (1990)
7. 65 (1991)

Makes a great gift for the holidays. Although at this point, given that we mail these ourselves, probably figure on that holiday being Groundhog Day.

They’re available here in our store.

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20th Anniversary Maxwell’s Shows (last minute & final details)

Here are the hastily-assembled details for our 20th Anniversary shows tonight & tomorrow.we’ll be joined by our old friends (literally), 12:01. We played with them exactly 20 years ago when we both just starting out in southern New Jersey.

And per voting consensus, our set list will be some kind of re-ordering of these old chestnuts...

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Show - Washington, D.C. @ the Black Cat

On Fri November 20, 2009 we'll be playing in Washington, D.C. at the Black Cat.

Tickets available here.

More about the show...

The wrens 20th anniversary rolls on and into our nation's capital.

Ok, while not really a part of the official 20th shows at Maxwells, in an effort to get ready for those, there's a pretty good chance we'll be blowing the dust off some some weird back-catalog chestnuts as well as cramming for some new songs.

Hope to see you there,
the wrens

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Third show added for 20th Anniversary (Meadowlands start-to-finish)

Howdy,

Just dropping by our own electronic ghost town to say that we’ve added a third show for our 20th anniversary / mirthday shindig – an early show for Friday, Dec. 4th at 7:30. In keeping with our theme of…um, having themes, this show will be the Meadowlands record, top-to-bottom. We’d tried setting this up last year to put that baby to bed, but it never really came together. This will be the one time you’ll probably ever hear ’13 months in 6 minutes’ or whatever it is and ‘ex-grille confection’, although I think we tried that one live once. Anyway, thanks to the folks that requested this - very flattering.

So that nicely ties up the three anniversary shows in a Ghosts-of-Wrens-Past (old songs request),
-Present (hilariously, the 6-year-old Meadowlands) and -Future (new ones) way that would make Tiny Tim proud. And in show order, no less.
Tickets here and more info on the other two shows here (two posts down).

No County for Old Wrens and their Stories

And if you come by, maybe we’ll pour some sherry and regale you with the story of the time we walked one end of Hoboken to the other, handing out demo tapes to every bar & club in town – including Maxwell’s – in the hopes of securing one of the many lucrative live concert bookings that seemed just a lucky break away in the big city (that’s Hoboken in this story). And how we were surprised to find most of the bars closed.

It turns out both that it was the evening of January 1st – you know, the day after the busiest tavern day of the year – and that we were jackasses.
(It was also New Year’s Day 1990 but that part of the story is more about how old we are, not how dumb we were.) And come to think of it, that pretty much is the story.
Gaston, my son, it’s not much of a story, true, but hey…

Hawaii Four-0

And forgot to mention that if you’ll be attending the Dec. 3rd show, that also happens to be Kev’s special birthday (starts with a ‘four’, rhymes with ‘sporty’). And hilariously or sadly, depending, he’s the baby of the band. Tempted to say BYOCake but if we get it together we’ll have some there.

As always, thanks,

the wrens

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20th Anniversary Show #2 at Maxwell's

On Fri December 04, 2009 we'll be playing in Hoboken, NJ at Maxwell's.
Tickets available here.
More about the show...
The second of our “We’re Twenty Years Young” shows. This night is the All-New-Wrens-Songs show, or at least as many as we can pull off.
Oh yeah, we’ll have some as-yet-to-be confirmed friends’ bands from the days of yore playing as well.
Details here (one post up).

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20th Anniversary Show #1 at Maxwell's

On Thu December 03, 2009 we'll be playing in Hoboken, NJ at Maxwell's.
Tickets available here.
More about the show...
The first of our “We’re Twenty Years Young” shows. This night is build-your-own setlist so email us to tell us what you’d wanna hear. Preferably pre-Meadowlands, just to make it worth the trouble typing.
Oh yeah, we’ll have some as-yet-to-be confirmed friends’ bands from the days of yore playing as well.
Details here (two posts up).

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Our 20th Anniversary Shows

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Our 20th Anniversary Shows

Charles has given new meaning to the old sexist phrase ‘nice knobs’. It now means ‘knees’. He’s also going a little heavy on the “She Blinded Me with Rest-stop Sunglasses and Short-Pants” and looks, not so much further back in the photo, as he does much, much smaller than everyone else.
As if Kevin’s imagining him...

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Polls close county-wide

Howdy,
With many, many thanks to all the folks who wrote in to request songs for the 'make the band do your bidding' portion of our 20th anniversary thing (a few posts down), just officially drawing the curtain on the polling booths. We were really nicely surprised at the high voter turnout and the sweet messages so again, thanks.
the wrens

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Show - Music Hall of Williamsburg

People often think of Williamsburg as full of trust fund hipsters, but the reality is that a significant percentage (about a third) of Community Board 1 is under the poverty level, and there are other major challenges -- displacement due to gentrification, out of control development, no infrastructure to support the influx of new people, environmental and open space issues, just to name a few.

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It was twenty years ago today...

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It was twenty years ago today...


But yeah, according to our best guesses, Kev’s Tawny-Kitaen-A-Day planner, and a hurried but
to-scale rebuild of Stonehenge, we’re able to verify with almost penpoint accuracy that it was exactly twenty years ago today, July 31st 1989, that we played our first show as a band. Sweet holy crap.

Sure, there were a few rehearsals before that and sure, we weren’t called the wrens then, and sure, it was performed on the then-popular lutes with sackbut accompaniment, but it was our first show nonetheless. And it probably sucked.

If you’ve ever perused our bio, (a light bullet-point read with an update pending since 2002),

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