This is the best piece of music journalism I’ve read in a loooooooong while. The Wrens are simply the best band. If you ever get a chance to see them live, JEEZ do it.
Really great debate. I think this whole debate is a part of a larger/national conversation about class inequality in this country.
Example, I can think of at least a dozen popular/ well-known indie bands/artists who regularly pop up on Stereogum who are rumored to come from extreme monetary privilege.
If everyone had a billionaire investment banker father who invested in professional music lessons when they were 5, or who could bank-roll rent in NY so that their band could focus on music, I imagine there would be a lot more bands out there.
The problem at this point, is that the climate being what it is, the very ability to BE an artist is overwhelmingly skewed in favor of people with means/money. Maybe it was always skewed that way? (wouldn’t be altogether surprising).
I have to wonder: does all that lessen the meaning of words like “Independent” or “DIY” or “Rock N’ Roll” if the only reason an artist IS able to do it themselves is because they are supported financially by a beneficiary?
I sincerely don’t understand why Fold Your Hand Child gets such a bad rap. It’s enjoyable as hell. I fought In a war? The Model? Women’s Realm? There’s Too much love? I’d rank those songs up there with B&S’s BEST.
It’s UNQUESTIONABLY better than Storytelling, which barely even felt like an album and lacked a single memorable song.
Furthermore Dear Catastrophe Waitress was an interesting change in direction and had some good songs on it, but it is definitely a transitional record. And I don’t think they full realized that change until Life Pursuit, which feels A LOT more organic…even though for my money, B&S still hasn’t really felt quite right with BIG production
Furthermore neither of those records are better than CLASSIC Era B&S (and I would put Fold Your Hands and everything that came before it, in that category). I’m also generally flabbergasted/annoyed by the number of people who LOVE Catastrophe or Life Pursuit… but haven’t actually heard Sinister or Tigermilk. Boggles my mind. They’re basically two different bands.
Also: Does anyone remember that infamous Pitchfork review where they gave Arab Strap a 0.0 or a 1.0 or something? What was up with that?
For my money:
4. Fold your hands
5. Arab Strap
6. Life Pursuit
8. Write about Love
2. Fables (SO ridiculously underrated)
8. New Adventures
11. Out Of Time
13. Accelerate (I’ll be honest, I’m sure this is a good record, I haven’t taken the time with it that I have with other R.E.M. records, but after Around the Sun, I stopped caring entirely)
Lack of Phantogram- Don’t Move and I Break Horses- Winter Beats= bullshit.
Beck & Thom covering The Velvet Underground:
What about The Velvet Underground cover of “I’m Set Free” that Thom and Beck did a few years back?
That thing slays.
Also: Anyone know when exactly the “on the beach” and “Down by the river” are from? Didn’t even know they existed!