Benjamin Wesley / Press

“A few days before he releases his brand-new album, Think/Thoughts, next weekend Houston musician Benjamin Wesley will sit in with the renowned and shadowy Jandek at Big Star Bar. No small shakes for any Houston artist, considering the myths that have surrounded the internationally adored Jandek for nearly the past four decades. Wesley is already a veteran of the local music scene with bands like Tha Fucking Transmissions, Basses Loaded and an early incarnation of American Sharks. He released his first solo disc, Geschichte, in early 2009, and quickly made a name for himself as the guy playing three or four instruments at once at parties, clubs and charity gigs. His songs are tender, bitter and quirky expanses that bring to mind Animal Collective jamming with a highly caffeinated Bob Dylan. Funny enough, Wesley is in the caffeine business himself: He's a manager at the Washington Avenue location of Catalina Coffee.”

“Hearing — or watching, for that matter — Benjamin Wesley craft his music is somewhat akin to watching a sculptor work in reverse. He adds layer upon layer upon layer, building up rather than carving away, with sounds being introduced and stacked atop one another until what started out fairly simple (minimal, even) becomes a dense, multi-layered slab of sound. It’s insanely complex, with levels and levels and levels all right there to listen to if you can pick them out….”

“The multi-instrumentalist behind some of Houston’s best-known underground bands, Wesley is no stranger to creating unique, original music. On his solo debut, the musician creates a wildly inventive set of songs that implements beats with acoustic guitar, keyboards, and other instruments–all by his lonesome, and often all at once. Musically, Wesley does his best to capture the essence of his live sets. However, what separates Geschichte from the live experience is his lyrics–it’s much easier to focus on what he’s singing about when you’re not standing in awe of what’s happening onstage. “Have You Ever Died?,” a strangely tribal, danceable romp that ends in a singalong, and “Beat Bloody Battles Axes”–two of Geschichte’s highlights–both display Wesley’s talent as musician and astute lyricist... It’s this combination of apocalyptic heartbreak and hopefulness, along with Wesley’s musicianship, that makes Geschichte–and Benjamin Wesley–one of a kind.”

“The driving force behind disbanded, fuzzed-out four-string symphony Basses Loaded and low-end minder for rap-rock rude boys Tha Fucking Transmissions, Benjamin Wesley is one of the most gifted, eclectically-minded musical catalysts in town. So when he turns his considerable talents toward his own compositions, the results are suitably impressive....Geschichte is as arresting and engaging a solo work as Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, which, as anyone who's heard Jeff Mangum's 1997 Elephant 6 landmark should know, is not a compliment to be taken (or given) lightly at all.”

“Wesley nonchalantly plays bass, guitar, keys, and harmonica all at the same freaking time. He just stands there like a kicked-back, wise-beyond-words sage who knows exactly what the fuck it is he's doing, even if you don't, and serenely plays, shifting effortlessly from one instrument to another or using multiple instruments at once...The lyrics veer from the sublime to the silly, confessional and personal but not too intimate, the ramblings of one hell of a talented coffeehouse poet...the album's a weird, wonderful grab-bag mess of sound, diving headlong into lonesome country harmonica one second, shiny-bright Afrobeat guitar the next. Coming from that one guy standing up there on the stage with the guitar and bass both hanging from his neck, idly noodling on the keyboards while he fingers chords, dances languidly in place, and croons to the microphone like it's the only thing in the room”