by Elisabeth Fuchsia
I had an unusually slow burn realization about how much I loved Wren Kitz's music. I'd kind of known he had a solo project going on, but mostly I'd seen him play as part of Burlington stalwarts Paper Castles. He'd played a "solo" set (backed by a rotating band) at The Thing in the Spring in 2015, but I was working and entertaining friends from out of town, neither of which are conducive to having any idea what's actually going on during someone's set. Then, when my band finally played a show with him a couple years ago, he'd taken us swimming earlier in the day. I'd jumped off a cliff that was a little too high and gotten an earful of water, a stupid but surprisingly painful injury. I spent the entire show wondering if I'd popped an eardrum, googling whether they even do anything for a broken eardrum if you go to the emergency room, and trying to look like I wasn't about to puke. I had a vague idea that I didn't dislike what he was doing, but that was as deep an understanding as I was able to cobble together from those experiences.
When his record For Evelyn came out last February, I bought it on the basis of curiosity and friendship, and was unprepared for how great it was. I find most people to be tolerable at best, and tend to operate at just-manageable levels of anxiety, but in my experience, Kitz is an incredibly easy person to be around, and a genuinely calming presence. Both of these descriptors apply to his music as well, even at its noisiest, sharpest points. For Evelyn was one of my favorites last year. It feels as if it's wrapped in cozy layers of fuzzy pastel gauze, with sweet tape samples, dreamy guitars, and a wide-ranging host of other well-placed sounds backing his expressive voice. I've bought multiple copies, pushed it into the hands of confused friends, repeat-listened on drives, flights, at work, etc.. He has a tape coming out this year on NNA Tapes; the only other 2017 releases about which I'm as excited are the new albums from Rick Rude and Pile.
Paper Castles played at The Thing in the Spring in 2016, opening for The Huntress and Holder of Hands, and I'd thought about asking them if they were interested in doing a song with us, but the timing didn't seem feasible. I'm not sure why the idea to shoot Kitz solo didn't occur to me until during their set, but that's how it happened, so I pulled him aside after they played to see if he was up for it last minute. Luckily, he was, on the condition that we find him an acoustic guitar to use. So on Sunday morning, we pulled a couple dusty options out of a closet at the Toadstool Bookshop, he tried them out, and we shot this video behind the shop with the one he liked best.