Absolutely Kosher Records is the current home of indie rock darlings The Wrens. The label released the band's third album, The Meadowlands, back in 2003 and for the past few months, they've been trying to license The Wrens first two albums from Wind-Up Records. Since their attempts to license the records were met with a resounding "no," Absolutely Kosher made the substantial offer of $100,000 to BUY the two albums from Wind-Up. The offer was made just before The Wrens' performance at the Intonation Festival in Chicago a couple weeks back and on Monday, Wind-Up finally gave them an answer - "NO!".
"Even their licensing person seemed surprised that the higher-ups had turned down the offer," said Absolutely Kosher label head Cory Borwn. "She said she would keep me posted if there had been any progress and that we could revisit this in six months. She said that Wind-Up might reissue the albums, but no definite plans had been made or she, at least, hadn't been made privy to them. I told her that as much as it would be great to see these records in print eventually, the time to do so was now and we were the label to do it."
1994's Silver and 1996's Secaucus were released on Grass Records, but when industry giant Allen Meltzer sold the one-stop Alliance Entertainment Corporation and purchased Grass, he transformed it into Wind-Up. Not long thereafter, The Wrens turned down a binding multi-album deal that Wind-Up presented them with and shortly after that, the two releases sunk into the deep abyss known as "out of print". They have been collecting dust in Wind-Up's vaults ever since. These two records are now fetching anywhere from $35 to $160 on e-bay, according to a spokesperson for the label.
Cory Brown is calling on all Wrens fans to write a letter to Wind Up Records asking them to "Free The Wren's Back Catalog". He says:
"The public deserves to be able to buy Silver and Secaucus for a reasonable price and no label is better suited to put them back in print than The Wrens' active label partner, Absolutely Kosher Records. Wind-Up squandered their opportunity with the Wrens years ago and have done absolutely nothing in the two years since The Meadowlands' break-out success. The expectation that they would put the proper time and energy into these re-issues, if they even choose to pursue them at all, is unrealistic. Several commercially generous offers have been made for records which are doing nothing but collecting dust in their vaults and each time they have turned them down with no counter-offer. Perhaps it's vague self-interest, perhaps it's spite. Either way, it borders on criminal both morally (in terms of what's best for the fans and the band) and fiscally (in terms of what's best for the label). We'd like to call on all Wrens fans and people concerned with artists' rights to write a letter to Wind-Up Records urging them to accept Absolutely Kosher's most recent offer and FREE THE WRENS' BACK CATALOGUE."
Whew! you can cut the tension with a knife. We hope for everyone's sake that this little ordeal gets worked out soon.
In case you're a big Wrens fan and you want to get involved. Here's the address (as given by Absolutely Kosher):
RE: FREE THE WRENS' BACK CATALOGUE
72 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10016