The Wrens’ Charles Bissell has released the three-track debut single of his new solo project Car Colors. The single, “Old Death,” comes with two B-sides: “I’ll Bear” and an alternate take of “It’s All Guns and Arrows.” Stream “Old Death” and both B-sides below.
The lyrics of “Old Death” are annotated with parenthetical dating to cite the sources of various memories that Bissell references “[2003 & 2016:] cancer bit you(/me) into halves,” reads one lyric, likely in part referencing his 2016 battle with multiple myeloma. “[1982, 2003, 2020, 2021 & prior & future:] Old Death enters from the left / the crowd screams in approval,” reads another section. Check out the accompanying video, directed by Kyle Garrett, below.
“‘Old Death’ is, like the rest of the album, sort of a sequel to The Meadowlands before it and like that one, is about time, how one chooses to spend it, what those choices cost,” Bissell said in a press release. He added that the forthcoming Car Colors album is “about death, maybe obviously, but it’s really about my dumb life.” Reflecting on parallels between his life and Homer’s The Odyssey, Bissell used the narrative framework of The Odyssey to construct the stream-of-consciousness record.
Marking Bissell’s first new music in 20 years, the three songs serve as a preview of Car Colors’ forthcoming debut project, which will feature the album version of “It’s All Guns and Arrows.” The currently untitled record is set for release in early 2024.
Bissell was a member of the New Jersey indie rock outfit The Wrens, who haven’t released any music since their 2003 album, The Meadowlands. While announcing the songs last month, Bissell signaled that The Wrens were no more.
However, his former bandmates, who formed a new group called Aeon Station in 2021, pushed back against the idea in a statement: “Though Charles has decided to leave the band, it does not mean that the band has broken up. The Wrens continue to work together writing, recording music, and playing shows as Aeon Station.”
In addition to all streaming platforms, “Old Death” is available for purchase on 12-inch vinyl and digitally via Absolutely Kosher. The single is pressed on silver vinyl, in honor of Absolutely Kosher’s 25-year anniversary.