HIT & MISS
by Helena Cohen

Maxwell's 6/24/06

Saturday night found me paying a visit to the best damn club in Jersey-- Maxwell's. I have no other reason for ever visiting Hoboken. You never know who you might see having dinner at the bar, or even just standing in the audience. On this particular evening, I was on a mission to see Charles Bissell. Anyone who knows me will testify that I can't get enough of all things Wren-related. So, to see the band's producer, guitarist, vocalist, co-songwriter deconstruct their usual forcefulness for a small audience was a must see. As if that wasn't enough, Marc Maurizi (the brains behind Cropduster) was also slated to perform.

HIT

CHARLES BISSELL:
Make no mistake about it: the genius behind "The Meadowlands" is neither a fluke nor the result of any happy accidents.  Charles Bissell knows exactly what he's doing.  His ideas are well calculated, even if he is figuring it out as he goes along.  His grasp of abstract, unique arrangements is nothing short of brilliant.  On his own, Bissell's performance didn't overshadow the songs the way his band as a whole sometimes can.  His solo formula often begins with unpleasant noise- looped into an unrecognizable rhythmic pattern- taking shape as his melodies unfold, and build as he loops multiple parts over top of each other. Bissell is truly a one man band, in a way that proves more interesting than you can possibly know without seeing him for yourself.

For Fans Of:  Sonic Youth AND The Kinks  

MISS

MARK MAURIZI: A few years ago, Marc Maurizi's songs were in heavy rotation around my house. Cropduster was one of those bands I'll never tire of. However, his performance at Maxwell's left me a little disappointed. Accompanied by another guitarist and a keyboard, his songwriting didn't seem to translate as well without the enthusiasm that Cropduster had. Maybe it was just radically different than what I'd expected, or maybe I'm just too big of a fan to be objective. But I'll take Marc Maurizi rocking out over the new, mellow Marc Maurizi any day.

For Fans Of: singer/songwriter crossovers
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http://www.wrens.com
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