Ed Schrader's Music Beat
Ed Schrader's Music Beat
"You can keep your hi-hats and white lily gentry. I'd rather stay here with all of the madmen."
So you’re sitting at home, getting ready for that big meeting you’re totally going to knock out of the park and find that you’ve got about a half hour to kill and are TOTALLY in the mood for a musical and emotional roller coaster. Well you are in luck, my new business-savvy friend (I’ll call you Sandy). Party Jail, the newest release from Ed Schrader and his Music Beat will deliver the goods. The album runs through 13 songs in just 25 minutes, which means that no song exceeds three minutes and most don’t even reach two. So, along with being super fun and energizing, the album is also economical.
What began in 2009 as Ed Schrader’s [literally] solo endeavor has now doubled in size and blossomed into a beautiful—and sometimes scary—post-punk duo. The pair consists of Ed Schrader (which the band draws their name from) pounding on the drums and sometimes screaming his heart out and Devlin Rice [also pounding] on a fuzzed-out bass. The group’s second effort feels slightly more refined, yet holds on to the ability to freak you out like their debut, 2012’s Jazz Mind (Spoiler Alert: Not that jazzy).
Ed Schrader’s career emerged from the humblest of beginnings, as he was playing shows on his own as just a man and a drum in support of his only solo album, 2009’s The Choir Inside, which also consists of just Schrader’s voice and a floor tom. Out of necessity, he expanded his sound for bigger shows by adding on bassist Devlin Rice—thus, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat.
And now let’s get to Party Jail (the album, of course—I can only begin to imagine what comes to your heads when you read those words). While stripped down and basic in instrumentation, the album is surprisingly diverse, including noisy post-punk blasts that the band has now perfected, as well as kind of sweet and slightly jazzy tracks like “Laughing” and “Pink Moons” (read on for my gushing review of this gem). Schrader’s lyrics are also worth paying attention to, often imagining surrealistic images that would be right at home in a Salvador Dali painting (see the standout “Radio Eyes”). The album wraps with “Weekend Train,” a noteworthy track about ending up somewhere you never expected, which feels far more personal and somber than the sensationalist attitude of the rest of the album.
But now, Sandy, let’s talk about “Pink Moons” for a second or two. This supercatchy single is a highlight of the album and, dare I say, of the year as a whole. With its simple, yet deep percussion and bass lines, the song calls to mind images of small, whiskey-scented jazz clubs during the Everly Brothers’ heyday. The lyrics, remaining consistent with the rest of the album, are cryptic and entertaining, including lines like “Sadie Hawkins every night,” which sounds like my teenage self’s worst nightmare. The track is easily the most hummable song of the summer so far.
So what are those two dudes up to right now, you ask? Currently the band is touring with fellow Radio K faves, Future Islands (I would recommend catching one of these shows, because Ed Schrader is a pretty interesting dude when you put him in front of a large group of people). Schrader is also the owner of a pretty cool Twitter account, you know, if you’re into that sort of thing. So why watch another episode of that overrated sitcom when you could spend that half hour taking in this great chunk of post-punk glory? And now, thanks to Mr. Schrader, you are totally going to kill it at that meeting.