Meredine
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Meredine

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States | INDIE

Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States | INDIE
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Meridene, who find comparisons to Ra Ra Riot quite frequently, are set to release their sophomore album Something Like Blood on September 28. - Heave media


You’ll find that the group has a lot of nostalgic indie references, but you’ll also notice that nothing feels antiquated, as their sound is entirely fresh. - Austin Town Hall


Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based indie quartet Meridene will release its sophomore full-length, Something Like Blood, on September 28 via Amble Down. The album was recorded over four days at April Base, the home studio of songwriter Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), with producer Brian Moen of Peter Wolf Crier at the helm. - CMJ.com


Eventually though, those powerful hooks will hold ears long enough for Ives’ songs of fear and doubt to burrow their way in. Whether he’s sneaking salt into the sugar bowl or trying to sweeten up the sour notes, the band has found a good balance that lasts throughout the new album. - The Onion AV Club (Madison)


And because Meridene knows what they’re about, the songs they write come off with a confident swagger that draws listeners magnetically toward the songs. Meridene’s not-unfamiliar sound falls directly between the four-on-the-floor guitar anthems of Jimmy Eat World and the perky, quirky indie-pop of Ra Ra Riot. Despite not picking a niche genre (chillwave? witch house? we are making this up as we go, apparently), their precise musicianship, inescapable melodies and near-perfect pacing make their sophomore album Something Like Blood into a must-listen set of songs. - Independentclauses.com


Of course, a central theme and well-written lyrics without good music is better off a book of poems, but the nine songs that make up Something are undeniably Meridene’s best. It’s a dynamic display from a rock band that has perfected a sensibility for multiple brands of pop music. - Volume One


A sense of community is important to any blossoming music scene. From front men singing on each other's records, to sharing demo CDs and high fives at hometown shows, no independent band, or music scene, can
succeed without a little help from their friends.

Chicago bands saw reciprocal success several years ago when "Fall Out Boy" led the city's pop-punk outpouring, and likewise, Minneapolis has an incredibly tight knit hip-hop community.

Such is the case today, in Eau Claire's independent music scene. A familiar but diverse lineup of bands can be seen playing together most weekends in the city's handful of theaters and bars. Catapulted by "Bon Iver's" recent critical and commercial success, the Eau Claire music community is poised to receive more national attention than ever. "Meridene's" most recent contribution, You're Not Pretty, You're Worse is no exception to the rule.

Trevor Ives has painted a pastoral landscape on You're Not Pretty, You're Worse, setting his span of emotions to the changing Wisconsin seasons. It's a departure from the band's last EP of alt-country, but the new "Meridene" is stronger and more confident.

Drawing on the technical facilities of Jazz Ensemble I musicians, Paul Brandt, Shane McLaughlin and Dave Power, "Kill the Memory" rips open with dissonant piano sweeps and bursts of trombone for added intensity.

"Trouble On The Line," a tale of a bank robbery with an overdose of "woo hoos," starts off a bit hokey, but dissolves into a gorgeous guitar coda, providing a perfect conclusion to turn the song around.

"Meridene" never sound like they're taking themselves too seriously, which plays to the album's advantage. On "Don't Try," Ives sings, "It's not gonna be alright," with elated energy to suggest otherwise, and "Stay Alive" employs a chorus of hand claps that adds to the laid back feel of the songs.

That is not to say there are no somber or contemplative moments on You're Not Pretty, You're Worse. "Love, Complete" is a convincing love story full of heartbreak and vivid imagery.

At first listen, I wanted to write off You're Not Pretty, You're Worse as another mediocre indie-rock record. I mistakenly thought "Meridene" lacked a certain spark to set it apart from the endless sea of bands that can be found at first click on your favorite music blog.

Maybe we expect too much from albums today - wanting instant gratification, but lasting power, and originality that remains familiar.

The prospect of an album having a vision that may not be instantly identifiable seems unattractive to us, but with each additional listen of You're Not Pretty, You're Worse, more of its simple song writing is revealed. Performed with such great musicianship, it's hard to do anything but revisit it over and over again.

- David Taintor - The Spectator - UWEC


The word "catchy" came up quite a bit in the interviews with Meridene. It turns out that “catchy” can mean a lot of things. When a centerfielder is catchy, we all get pumped and start buying ill-fitting baseball shirts. When a flu is catchy, we run like crazy and take super gross vitamin C tablets. Fortunately for us, local power-poppers, Meridene is most certainly in the former category, and not in the latter.

“To me, Meridene songs are still exactly the same as they’ve always been – catchy,” said keyboardist Paul Brandt in a recent interview.

To say that Meridene has been in a bit of a flux since its last article in V1 is a bit of an understatement. Since then, the band has gotten rid of a banjo, replaced their bass and piano players (twice), wooed a recording phenom to join in on guitar, and added a drummer that actually makes me scared for my life. Yes, quite literally.

They’ve taken a year to record a new album, played to large-ish crowds in other cities, dropped the country twang and added a little bit of mouth-punch to their set. This is all fine and good, but it doesn’t answer this burning question; do they rock?

Fortunately for the city of Eau Claire, the answer is a resounding yes. Meridene’s new album, You’re Not Pretty, You’re Worse finds the band awash in dirty guitar squalls and keyboard flourishes. Where the first Meridene album was a simple, almost Sufjan-esque approach to songwriting, this one relishes in the decadent. Track after track drives, heaves, and pleads over pounding drums and rollicking bass lines. This is an album without middle ground, a collection of songs that wears its heart on its sleeve. Let’s just put it this way, there are trombones on this album. Lots of trombones.

“I think that songwriting-wise, this band really opened me up. I always leaned towards The New Pornographers brand of indie rock, but playing in this setting just brought that out even more,” said lead singer and primary songwriter, Trevor Ives. The band is fleshed out by a number of other ultra-capable musicians, Brandt on keyboards, Eric Rykal (of The Gentle Guest) on guitar, Shane Mclaughlin on bass, and David Power on the drums.

Meridene also has the distinction of being one of the first bands signed to Amble Down Records, a local label that has gained some national recognition for putting out quality record after quality record. Many Amble Down bands are featured on the website, Virb.com, perhaps most known for featuring another local act, Bon Iver. The decision to stick with Amble Down was a no-brainer.

“I mean, we were pretty sure from the outset that we were going to release it with Kyle (Frenette, Amble Down’s owner and manager),” said Ives, “Amble Down has just grown so much in terms of knowing how to promote and how to get a record publicity.”

The future does indeed look bright for Meridene. Immediate plans for the band include a modest, Midwest tour in January followed by a heavy promotion of the new album. It’s something that Ives has looked forward to since Meridene’s inception almost three years ago.

“I mean, in a dream world I could quit my day job and have music be my life,” said Ives with a sideways smile, “But I’d be content to release another album and just have more people give us a listen, a chance.” If You’re Not Pretty, You’re Worse is any indication of the future, Meridene’s biggest problem may be in deciding what Blu-Ray player they should put in its tour van. - Volume One


Discography

Something Like Blood (09.28.10)
You're Not Pretty, You're Worse (11.25.08)
A Very Strange Bear EP (5.22.07)

Photos

Bio

Meridene didn't set out to write an album about the pressures and paranoia Americans face during economic and cultural turmoil in the early stages of the 21st Century. Instead, they focused on writing an album to build upon their 2008 debut, You're Not Pretty, You're Worse which featured the punchy rock anthems and hard-hitting hooks that earned Meridene praise from college radio stations across the country. Their sophomore full-length album titled, Something Like Blood solidifies the Eau Claire, WI four-piece as a dual threat by embodying both lyrically focused themes of fear and doubt, and a band realizing its full potential.

Something Like Blood was recorded over four intense days at the home-studio of Bon Iver, April Base, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Meridene also found support from fellow local musicians. The album was produced and mixed by Brian Moen (Peter Wolf Crier) with T.W. Walsh (formerly of Pedro The Lion and The Soft Drugs) mastering.

At their highest level of energy, the songs found on Something Like Blood attack with layers of charging guitars, sprawling keys and high-intensity percussion, while front man Trevor Ive’s voice soars over it all with warnings about trust and inevitable loss on tracks like “Written Like Mad Sonnets” and “Gone, Baby Gone”. Although the band has brandished a tight pop-rock sound on this album, the songs that make up Something Like Blood aren't all sprints. The title track "Something Like Blood" and "Bible Belt" find their stride at slower speeds and impress with well-developed songwriting and organization. Their success is a sound somewhere between the pop-formula of The Shins and the intelligence of Cursive with traces of Death Cab For Cutie.

If it wasn't already, Meridene is certainly working on all cylinders now. Equal parts intelligent and variable songwriting, as well as socially conscious inspired lyrics and themes, Something Like Blood serves as a true example of a band coming into its own in the best way possible.

Amble Down Records (The Daredevil Christopher Wright) will release Something Like Blood on September 28.