• The Wrens in 2005

    The Wrens' 'The Meadowlands' Turned Indie Rock Into Dad Rock, 10 Years Ago Today

    "Boys, you won't remember from the minute you walk into the room," Wrens guitarist Kevin Whelan once sang. But the boys remember. Seems like that's all they do on The Meadowlands — ruing wasted years, grasping at what-ifs, pouring one out for all those failed romances, then smashing the bottle. The third record from these rambunctious Jersey guitar-slingers rips opens old wounds one by one; they could've called it Let It Bleed and Bleed and Bleed.It was released on September 9, 2003. Used to be the big story was how long the run-up took, spurred on by the messy divorce between the Wrens and Grass Records (which opted to become Wind-Up Records and take over the world via Scott Stapp’s sumptuously oiled barrel chest) and the attendant feeling that they’d missed their shot.

  • Fat Tony / Photo by Jessica Lehrman

    Fat Tony, 'Smart Ass Black Boy' (Young One)

    Exactly what kind of Smart Ass rapper is Fat Tony? Judging from his new LP's title track, he's the kind who reps Pythagoras, Buster Keaton, and longtime supporter Bun B in the same stanza. The sort who's indifferent about his male fanbase, but imagines the ladies appreciating his style with a hearty "Holy cow, wow!" The type whose amiable troublemaking is undercut by the lingering melancholia of true-life travails, like an unexpected pregnancy. An MC who, ever since he and producer Tom Cruz dropped 2012's stupidly clever, ponderously goofy, totally charming, slightly overstuffed treasure trove Double Dragon, is now "double swaggin'." Or perhaps the Houston hometown hero should speak for himself: "My status is comparable to the honorable uncles and fathers before us who kept order."Hear, hear.

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