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MP3 The Wind-Up Merchants - Sprain Pkwy

"Buzzy, chord chopping guitar assault (but most politely) with a gentle acoustic-driven base that is hard to pin down... blends pretty and unusual chords and harmonies that are grounded in an awareness of never playing it safe." - Not Lame Records

12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, POP: Power Pop

“A beguiling mix of engaging sounds, TWUM blend a buzzy, chord chopping guitar assault (but most politely) with a gentle acoustic-driven base that is hard to pin down. This is such a mix of cool styles that it sounds like a bill that features early Sugar playing with Hootie and the Blowfish (dump the singer, come on, they were tolerable, admit it) and Shoes/Spinning Jennies. … the Spinning Jennies…share the driving, concise song structures and sweetly aggressive guitar sounds and busy rhythm sections. It''s a smorgasbord of pretty and unusual chords and harmonies that (are) grounded in an awareness of never playing it safe. It''s a band finding its own sound and the sound on this debut is one that crops the ears up for closer listens. Recommended!”
- Not Lame Records

“Subtlety is the quality that escapes a lot of post-punk bands. They bury sincere emotions and legitimate observations under suffocation layers of noise. Fortunately, Denver''s Wind-Up Merchants has little interest in following the typical emo path, preferring to incorporate melody in its sonic pursuits. To that end, the Merchants can comfortably inhabit crunchers like “Rick James” and “Prone,” and then back off the volume and urn up the pop intensity on “Better Fuel,” the acoustic rumination of “To: Ben” and the banjo-tinged “Unfulfilled”. The Wind-Up Merchants greatest strength is in understanding the power of its varied elements and knowing how to arrange them to the best effect.”
- Amplifier Magazine

“The Wind-Up Merchants peddle an eclectic bill of goods on Sprain Pkwy, their debut full-length. The trio moves from bombastic, ‘60''s era blasts (“I Won''t Go”) to jazzy ballads (“Better Fuel”) and plain old oddities: The opening song is a quizzical tribute to Rick James (“Every day I fight demon stuff/Gotta keep my hands un(hand)cuffed”) Wind-Up Merchants are at their most intriguing when they chuck a lot of things into the fire – trumpets, violins - and fuse elements that don''t normally wind up together. “Unfulfilled,” for example, features a psychedelic guitar alongside a bubbly banjo and a from-the-other-room-sounding piano noise. Elsewhere, simplicity suits the band just fine: “Let It Fall” is a pretty straightforward, strummy number that most recalls guitarist/vocalist Josh Schachterle''s semi-acoustic solo side project. This ambitious and creative attempt often hits its mark.”
- Laura Bond, Westword

“This CD may surprise you. The Wind-Up Merchants are a trio, with the standard line-up of bass/drums/guitar, but the sound is bigger than you''d think. This new release, Sprain Pkwy, has unexpected depth and variety within its emo rock walls. Fans of Kansas City''s Shiner and Season to Risk will be glad to have a Denver connection.
The first three songs rely on heavy rhythm guitar to push a steady indie-rock flavor. “I Won'' Go” in particular sounds like a great old B-side from some Brit-rock influenced metal long-hair form the 1970''s. The effects are few, the guitar is loud, and John Peterson drives the band ferociously on the drums. Then, all of sudden, “Let It Fall” begins with an acoustic guitar and before you can say, “Goo Goo Dolls????” lead singer Josh Schachterle''s pained and dryly dramatic voice asks the familiar question, “Who''s the fuck-up/You or she?” Great tune.
Schachterle mixes it up again for “Better Fuel”, by getting soft on us, adding piano, vibes, and a swing, yes a swing rhythm replete with ride cymbal shuffle and a trumpet. Who knew? “Your Drug” rocks again, tight and dark. “To: Ben” is a mellow and moody ode to an unborn child which starts, “Note to my unborn child/Don''t see yourself in me.” Ouch. “thinker” could be the strongest on the record overall as it closes out the CD.
Normally, this type of all-over-the-place mix of styles and song arrangements lead critics to cringe and wait for the next, more “mature” record. But as it was stated earlier: this record might surprise you.”
- Judy B., Go-Go Magazine

“Caught somewhere between Jason Falkner and … King''s X, Denver''s own the Wind-Up Merchants can and should be every bit as successful and influential as local-scene graduates Apples in Stereo. The trio''s debut album “Sprain Pkwy” is a broad and bold sampling of tunes…
Tracks like “Rick James,” “Thinker” and “Better Fuel” validate the Wind-Up Merchants'' songwriting skills and prove the group can deliver inspiring instrumentation and catchy chords progressions.”
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Danny Huber – bass/vocals
John Peterson – drums/vocals
Josh Schachterle – guitar/vocals

Around September of 2001, the newly complete rock combo, known as the Wind-Up Merchants, decided that it was time to buckle down and get to work on their first “real” recording. Why the qualifying “real”? Well, guitarist/vocalist Josh Schachterle and drummer John Peterson had decided to make a demo of their music back when they had started in 2000, not least in order to find a bass player to round out the sound. Using a digital eight-track machine and woefully insufficient technical knowledge, they had managed to make a decent document (but only decent, mind you) of their songs. With this, they had gone to clubs and, more importantly, to bas players around Denver. Fortunately, fate had stepped in and Danny Huber, a friend of a friend of Josh''s, had gotten hold of the demo, had like the songs, and had proceeded to blow the other two lonely members away with his grasp of the tunes and incredible playing.

Returning to the more recent past, after a few confidence-building club dates with this lineup, they stepped into the studio. Okay, it was a friend''s basement. Discussing which songs and what direction, if any, the band should follow on this inaugural release, the discovered common ground in hating bands that follow a direction. In other words, the wanted to be able to play music as ferocious as the Stooges, as affecting as any emo band, or as beautiful as any orch-pop, and have all of it scream Wind-Up Merchants! Not a new idea, to be sure, The Beatles and countless others had done exactly that for years. But in these days of narrow, genre-specific radio formats and such, no bands want to step out of their particular hole. One might call the Wind-Up Merchants a Power Pop band in that they play pop with, well, power. That''s rock ‘n roll folks.

The songs on this album thus range from the feral punk (“Rick James,” “Your Drug”) to the beautifully sublime (“Better Fuel,” “To: Ben”). There''s a little new wave pop (“TV Life”), some indie-rock-meets-Burt Bacharach (“Thinker”), some mellow psych-pop, a smorgasbord of sounds, all sounding like the unique experience which is the Wind-Up Merchants. Enjoy!

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