Stereogum x Amazon MP3 Friendly Deals #2: The Wrens’ The Meadowlands

Today we present the second installment in a series that brings you classic indie rock albums at hugely discounted prices. Every week, Amazon.com is letting us select one album from its MP3 store to go on super sale (up to 75% off normal prices). Hopefully you’ll be able to add these must-own LPs to your library without breaking your budget. Today’s deal: The Wrens’ The Meadowlands.

To know The Meadowlands is to know its associated lore. The Wrens’ previous release, the excellent Secaucus LP, was one of 1996’s most lauded indie rock albums. This gave their label, Grass Records, a springboard to cajole the band into a big money contract aimed at morphing the Wrens into a radio-ready suck-machine. Thankfully the band balked, the label later accomplished their ends by changing their name and unleashing Creed upon us all, and the Wrens were left in music industry purgatory for years. To sit. And to write. And in finally returning with an album that included “13 Months In 6 Minutes,” the New Jersey outfit delivered something exponentially greater: 7 years in 13 songs. Years that had them — by their tracklist’s admission — hopeless, exhausted, dealing with situations unplanned, trying to choose the right sides, ultimately yielding a graceful, diverse, near perfect rock set.

As plaintive and confused as the The Meadowlands-era Wrens were, these tracks are cocksure and spilling over with hooks, veering from power-pop to Pixies rock, sitting gut-wrenching piano-and-accordian ballads next to horizon-busting fuzz-guitar burners. There’s a workman’s edge throughout the album (they are the quintessential Quit Your Day Jobbers), ideas packed into each corner, frustrations in every dejected strum built for corner bars and sorrowful, bottomless beers. The Meadowlands are in Jersey, after all.

For all its depth and jagged finesse, though, the Wrens’ third album is a major work that’s been cast for minor dominion. For the next week, you can pick it up at Amazon MP3 for $1.99, down from the regular price of $7.99.

Help us make great albums available at low prices by suggesting future Friendly Deal selections in the comments.

Tags: The Wrens