Ed Schrader’s Music Beat sounds like it could be a kids’ television program, but Ed Schrader unwittingly strips the upbeat title and associations of typical kids fodder from his band’s music pretty naturally; leaving it plenty full of hang-all, punkish outbursts.
Schrader (the namesake) and Devlin Rice create a bunch of racket with just a bass and a floor tom and add a whole lotta cathartic shouting. Infinity Cat Records released their most recent, entitled Party Jail (a great description of the music in of itself) — that music being dark and brooding, but completely fun-spirited in its sinister modes. Schrader’s hollow and languid vocals are the musty breath of a damp basement cell and Rice’s crunched out bass the little kick in the pants that makes everything snap to in a one, two, three punk fashion.
With the new record morphing into a more aggressive sound from their debut, the two are subsequently becoming more wild with their live shows and are planning to whirl into Milwaukee this weekend. WMSE caught up with the Baltimore duo before the stop and Schrader regaled us with tales of invasive species, playing with fellow Baltimore citizens and synth-pop group Future Islands and aping Mike Patton.
What are the pros and cons of being a two-piece group?
It’s all pro, baby. We are exactly where we want to be as a band; if we want to change that, we will. No cons.
What are the pros and cons of being from Baltimore, Maryland?
The cons are huge, sluggish roaches and this recent infestation of some bird (not oriole) that wheezes. The pros are “them O’s” the “Joe DiMaggio’s Pasta” at Terps and the wonderful folks who project brilliance and beauty. I love the whole city, even the sh*tty frat dudes in Fells Point. Oh, wait. Not those guys!
Ed, how did you approach singing/vocals when you first started out? Did you embrace your deeper-pitched vocals right away?
Yeah, I’ve always had an Iggy Pop-meets-velociraptor thing. I sang along to Mike Patton in my room. When I matched the notes, I could feel it! Like a kiss from Mike Patton (oh, behave)!
According to SPIN, you’ve gone from a “genre-bending” first album to straightforward “post-punk”. What spurred the writing transition?
I think we’re just finding our groove. If you wanna call it post-punk, feel free — this album is a band becoming a band, period. I’m not concerned with this or that genre. That’s all bullsh*t. I just do what I do. I think it’s just weird pop, frankly, hahaha.
When you open for/play alongside Future Islands, how do their fans react to your set? Are you more at ease playing with bands like Chain & the Gang?
Depends on the city, man…and the day of the week. Generally, FI fans look at us like Uncle Joey…which of course, you know who [would be] Uncle Jesse. With Chain, I guess there’s more crossover, but we appeal to most mammals! Also, we open 10% of the time, so it’s really of little concern. We’re gonna be going solo from now on. We open for sh*ts and giggles and it was essential for a time, but not anymore at this point (not to put too fine a point on it). We’re an actual band that has to carve their own trail!! ARRRGGHH.
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat plays the Riverwest Public House on Saturday, August 9th with Chain & the Gang, Storm Chaser and the Trusty Knife. 9pm, 21+