Category Archives: WRENS WATCH

Wrens Watch, Oct. 19, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Mickey Rooney.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—39 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 36 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pagesThirty-one weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Thirty weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 29 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 24 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 22 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 21 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Twenty weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 19 and 18 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Seventeen weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails 16 weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Fifteen weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you 14 weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Thirteen weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly 12 weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Eleven weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens, but he didn’t. Ten weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. Nine weeks agoeight weeks ago and seven weeks ago, we got nothing. Six weeks ago, we did find out that the Wrens have shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., scheduled for December 3 and 4, but we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Five weeks ago, Bissell emailed us a number of times, but he didn’t answer any Wrens-related questions. We did find out that he is playing a solo benefit show in Brooklyn on October 28 with They Might Be Giants and Nada Surf (they should call it Nerd Aid), but again, we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Four weeks ago, when asked what was new with the Wrens, Bissell responded, “Nothing. No things. At all. No recording, no new songs, no get-togethers.” Three weeks ago, we learned that the first Maxwell’s show will feature a setlist voted on by fans via the Wrens website (we requested “Brand New Apartment”), while the second will be comprised of as many news songs the band can play. You get the feeling the first show will probably be much longer than the second one. Two weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say the Wrens have added a third Maxwell’s show (December 4 at 7:30 p.m.), for which they’ll play The Meadowlands from start to finish. When we told him that Greg mentioned to us that the band has been working on 120 new songs, Bissell replied, “You know how it is, applying the uncertainty principle, both are true. Until you try to confirm either one. So yeah, remember, Kevin’s been demoing the last year or two for the first time? He’s now got more than 100 songs, some totally fleshed out, some just sketches, many really good. And he and Greg have been going over them a couple nights a week. So yeah, from one perspective, the record’s almost done. Nevertheless, we have not recorded a note, so the record is both well under way and yet not even begun.” Uh, that clears things up. Last week, all we found out was that the Wrens have a Washington, D.C., show scheduled for November 20 at the Black Cat. This week, when we asked if there would be other shows that weekend, Bissell responded, “No, not this time. You know us. It’s like the Army Reserve: one weekend a month and just two weeks a year. Without the ‘two weeks a year’ part.”

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Wrens Watch, Oct. 12, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Gandhi.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—38 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 35 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pagesThirty weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-nine weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 28 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 23 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 21 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 20 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Nineteen weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 18 and 17 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Sixteen weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails 15 weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Fourteen weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you 13 weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Twelve weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly 11 weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Ten weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens, but he didn’t. Nine weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. Eight weeks agoseven weeks ago and six weeks ago, we got nothing. Five weeks ago, we did find out that the Wrens have shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., scheduled for December 3 and 4, but we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Four weeks ago, Bissell emailed us a number of times, but he didn’t answer any Wrens-related questions. We did find out that he is playing a solo benefit show in Brooklyn on October 28 with They Might Be Giants and Nada Surf (they should call it Nerd Aid), but again, we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Three weeks ago, when asked what was new with the Wrens, Bissell responded, “Nothing. No things. At all. No recording, no new songs, no get-togethers.” Two weeks ago, we learned that the first Maxwell’s show will feature a setlist voted on by fans via the Wrens website (we requested “Brand New Apartment”), while the second will be comprised of as many news songs the band can play. You get the feeling the first show will probably be much longer than the second one. Last week, Bissell emailed us to say the Wrens have added a third Maxwell’s show (December 4 at 7:30 p.m.), for which they’ll play The Meadowlands from start to finish. When we told him that Greg mentioned to us that the band has been working on 120 new songs, Bissell replied, “You know how it is, applying the uncertainty principle, both are true. Until you try to confirm either one. So yeah, remember, Kevin’s been demoing the last year or two for the first time? He’s now got more than 100 songs, some totally fleshed out, some just sketches, many really good. And he and Greg have been going over them a couple nights a week. So yeah, from one perspective, the record’s almost done. Nevertheless, we have not recorded a note, so the record is both well under way and yet not even begun.” Uh, that clears things up. This week, all we found out was that the Wrens have a Washington, D.C., show scheduled for November 20 at the Black Cat.

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Wrens Watch, Oct. 5, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Roman Polanski.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—37 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 34 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pages. Twenty-nine weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-eight weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 27 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 22 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 20 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 19 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Eighteen weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 17 and 16 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Fifteen weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails 14 weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Thirteen weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you 12 weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Eleven weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly 10 weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Nine weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens, but he didn’t. Eight weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. Seven weeks agosix weeks ago and five weeks ago, we got nothing. Four weeks ago, we did find out that the Wrens have shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., scheduled for December 3 and 4, but we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Three weeks ago, Bissell emailed us a number of times, but he didn’t answer any Wrens-related questions. We did find out that he is playing a solo benefit show in Brooklyn on October 28 with They Might Be Giants and Nada Surf (they should call it Nerd Aid), but again, we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Two weeks ago, when asked what was new with the Wrens, Bissell responded, “Nothing. No things. At all. No recording, no new songs, no get-togethers.” Last week, we learned that the first Maxwell’s show will feature a setlist voted on by fans via the Wrens website (we requested “Brand New Apartment”), while the second will be comprised of as many news songs the band can play. You get the feeling the first show will probably be much longer than the second one. This week, Bissell emailed us to say the Wrens have added a third Maxwell’s show (December 4 at 7:30 p.m.), for which they’ll play The Meadowlands from start to finish. When we told him that Greg mentioned to us that the band has been working on 120 new songs, Bissell replied, “You know how it is, applying the uncertainty principle, both are true. Until you try to confirm either one. So yeah, remember, Kevin’s been demoing the last year or two for the first time? He’s now got more than 100 songs, some totally fleshed out, some just sketches, many really good. And he and Greg have been going over them a couple nights a week. So yeah, from one perspective, the record’s almost done. Nevertheless, we have not recorded a note, so the record is both well under way and yet not even begun.” Uh, that clears things up.

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Wrens Watch, Sept. 28, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Sebastian Saraceno.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—36 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 33 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pages. Twenty-eight weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-seven weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 26 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 21 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 19 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 18 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Seventeen weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 16 and 15 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Fourteen weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails 13 weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Twelve weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you 11 weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Ten weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly nine weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Eight weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens, but he didn’t. Seven weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. Six weeks agofive weeks ago and four weeks ago, we got nothing. Three weeks ago, we did find out that the Wrens have shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., scheduled for December 3 and 4, but we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Two weeks ago, Bissell emailed us a number of times, but he didn’t answer any Wrens-related questions. We did find out that he is playing a solo benefit show in Brooklyn on October 28 with They Might Be Giants and Nada Surf (they should call it Nerd Aid), but again, we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Last week, when asked what was new with the Wrens, Bissell responded, “Nothing. No things. At all. No recording, no new songs, no get-togethers.” This week, we learned that the first Maxwell’s show will feature a setlist voted on by fans via the Wrens website (we requested “Brand New Apartment”), while the second will be comprised of as many news songs the band can play. You get the feeling the first show will probably be much longer than the second one.

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Wrens Watch, Sept. 21, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Rusty Goffe.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—35 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 32 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pages. Twenty-seven weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-six weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 25 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 20 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 18 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 17 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Sixteen weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 15 and 14 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Thirteen weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails 12 weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Eleven weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you 10 weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Nine weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly eight weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Seven weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens, but he didn’t. Six weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. Five weeks agofour weeks ago and three weeks ago, we got nothing. Two weeks ago, we did find out that the Wrens have shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., scheduled for December 3 and 4, but we didn’t learn this from Bissell. Last week, Bissell emailed us a number of times, but he didn’t answer any Wrens-related questions. We did find out that he is playing a solo benefit show in Brooklyn on October 28 with They Might Be Giants and Nada Surf (they should call it Nerd Aid), but again, we didn’t learn this from Bissell. This week, when asked what was new with the Wrens, Bissell responded, “Nothing. No things. At all. No recording, no new songs, no get-togethers.” So there you have it.

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Wrens Watch, Sept. 14, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Willie Shoemaker.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—34 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 31 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pages. Twenty-six weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-five weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 24 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 19 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 17 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 16 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Fifteen weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 14 and 13 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Twelve weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails 11 weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Ten weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you nine weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Eight weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly seven weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Six weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens, but he didn’t. Five weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. Four weeks agothree weeks ago and two weeks ago, we got nothing. Last week, we did find out that the Wrens have shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., scheduled for December 3 and 4, but we didn’t learn this from Bissell. This week, Bissell emailed us a number of times, but he didn’t answer any Wrens-related questions. We did find out that he is playing a solo benefit show in Brooklyn on October 28 with They Might Be Giants and Nada Surf (they should call it Nerd Aid), but again, we didn’t learn this from Bissell.

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Wrens Watch, Sept. 7, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Billy Curtis.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—33 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 30 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pages. Twenty-five weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-four weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 23 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 18 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 16 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 15 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Fourteen weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 13 and 12 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Eleven weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails 10 weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Nine weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you eight weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Seven weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly six weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Five weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens (those guys must be old), but he didn’t. Four weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. This week—like three weeks agotwo weeks ago and last week—we got nothing. (We did find out that the Wrens have shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., scheduled for December 3 and 4, but we didn’t learn this from Bissell.)

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Wrens Watch, Aug. 31, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Prince.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—32 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 29 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pagesTwenty-four weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-three weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 22 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 17 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 15 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 14 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Thirteen weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 12 and 11 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Ten weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails nine weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Eight weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you seven weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Six weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly five weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Four weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens (those guys must be old), but he didn’t. Three weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. This week—like two weeks ago and last week—we got nothing.

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Wrens Watch, Aug. 24, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Yasser Arafat.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—31 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 28 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pagesTwenty-three weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-two weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 21 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 16 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 14 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 13 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Twelve weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 11 and 10 weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Nine weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails eight weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Seven weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you six weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Five weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly four weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Three weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens (those guys must be old), but he didn’t. Two weeks ago, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. This week—like last week—we got nothing.

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Wrens Watch, Aug. 17, 2009

wrenswatchWe’ve been fans of New Jersey’s finest since even before their first album came out back in 1994, so let’s just say we’re used to sitting around waiting for them to take their sweet-ass time putting out new music. (Three albums in more than 14 years makes the Wrens about as prolific as Boston, which is kind of like being as tall as Dudley Moore.) As reported in a Wrens Watch Special Report, January 9 marked a huge milestone for the guys: guitarists Charles Bissell and Greg Whelan, bassist Kevin Whelan and drummer Jerry MacDonald. They issued “Pulled Fences,” their first new (well, sort of new) song since 2003’s The Meadowlands. Perhaps motivated by finally releasing something, the band convened—not in a real studio, but in Kevin’s basement—30 weeks ago to begin work on its new album. And not only that, the Wrens recorded an actual song (which you can download for free here). When we checked in with Bissell 27 weeks ago, he took exception with our good-natured sarcasm and quickly ended the interview. After ignoring us for a while, Bissell finally gave us a progress report; it seems that while other bands get together and record, the Wrens stay apart and talk to each other on the phone. Or they do nothing at all. Or they update their Facebook pages. Twenty-two weeks ago, Bissell informed us he was “too busy” to respond to our questions, but he did promise us some exclusive Wrens mp3s in the near future. Twenty-one weeks ago, he didn’t even bother responding to our emails, prompting us to call him an unprolific Ryan Adams. That got Bissell’s attention, who 20 weeks ago apologized (profanely) and promised us an exclusive Wrens mp3 for the April 6 Wrens Watch. After not delivering, he said he’d come through the next week, but he didn’t. When Bissell ignored us again (Wrens Watch, April 20 and April 27), we speculated the Wrens were actually recording. Or maybe Bissell was just being a jerk. But then he told us 15 weeks ago he’d have a new Wrens mp3 for us. And guess what? The man finally came through. Download a demo of “Z,” which was written and performed by Kevin. We emailed Bissell numerous times to thank him for “Z” and ask him how the new record is progressing, but like we told you 13 weeks ago, he was unresponsive. He did email us a photo for 12 weeks ago, though, so we had that going for us. Which was nice. Eleven weeks ago, we got an email from Bissell saying, “Headed to bed but might have something for you.” As reported 10 and nine weeks ago, other than a strange email from him referencing Fat Albert, we hadn’t heard from him since. Eight weeks ago, we told you that Bissell, apparently on vacation, said he would have a new song for us “as soon as I get home on Saturday,” but he never came through. Bissell returned our emails seven weeks ago, but he didn’t send any new Wrens music. He did, however, send a truly tasteless Michael Jackson joke, and since it was actually funny enough for us to tell it to others, we gave Bissell a pass. Six weeks ago, Bissell—on vacation yet again—emailed to say, “Maybe I can actually send a song to you after I get home Sunday.” Then guess what? He emailed us his first new Wrens demo, and like we told you five weeks ago, it’s a really good song. Four weeks ago, Bissell emailed us to say he recorded another new demo, but he’s keeping that one for himself. He also said, “Smellmineitsucks,” whatever that means. Though we emailed Bissell repeatedly three weeks ago, we didn’t even get so much as a “Smellmineitsucks.” Two weeks ago, Bissell sent this missive: “We gonna see ballgame this summer? And I don’t mean a view of you working your pockets on a street corner.” (We think Bissell just might have a shot at a cameo in the next Judd Apatow movie, Unfunny People.) Anyway, Bissell was supposed to respond to us with his thoughts on the recent 20th anniversary of the first live show by the band that eventually came to be known as the Wrens (those guys must be old), but he didn’t. Last week, we did get an email saying he didn’t have enough free time to “justify replying to explanatory spam from MAGNET,” so maybe Bissell is a (mildly) funny person after all. This week, we got nothing.

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