Release Date: Mar 20, 2012
Record label: Load Records
Genre(s): Jazz, Pop/Rock
The collaboration between Ed Schrader himself, on vocals and percussion, and bassist Devlin Rice, grows out of the kind of "back to basics" assumption that aims at minimalism as art -- a comparison to the White Stripes may by default be tired, granted, but it was that similar focus which was said band's secret weapon in the end, and Schrader and Rice apply their take on it brilliantly throughout Jazz Mind, via a different set of goals and reference points. It helps that there's much more than simply one mode throughout the album -- the opening "Sermon," all blunt riff/clutter beat/higher-pitched rant singing concluding "this is my sermon!" again and again, seems like it could set the tone throughout, and other numbers like "Rats" and "When I'm in a Car" very much fit in that vein. But those songs make the repetitive low bass part and softer crooning of "Gem Asylum" an unexpected twist early on, showing this album is not one note in sound even when it feels that way in terms of overarching focus.
Calling Ed Schrader's Music Beat "confident," as the Load Records website does, is probably an understatement. Its two members--Baltimore native Ed Schrader and Devlin Rice, on drum/vocals and bass respectively--seem so comfortable in their weirdness that describing them as a "duo slinging snot at your windshield in a most original manner" is fair commentary. We first heard "When I'm In a Car," the lead single off Jazz Mind, at the end of February.
Wham City veteran Ed Schrader has teamed up with bass player Devlin Rice to produce one of the oddest albums to land on my desk this year. Jazz Mind, their 11-song, barely 20-minute debut, swings wildly between the apocalyptic rhythms of a stripped-down Swans and a kind of minimalist, new age psychedelia. The first two tracks pretty much stake out the poles that the rest of the album drifts between: the plodding, Pentecostal fury of “Sermon” and the sparse, watery psych of “Gem Asylum.” Schrader’s delivery in each of these modes is so different that I initially thought that the two members must have shared vocal duties.
The new full-length from minimalist post-punk duo Ed Schrader's Music Beat possesses a heavy, sombre sound that pounds urgent bass and drum strokes into your brain one minute and then lulls you into a state of hypnosis with slow, drone-like beats the next. Jazz Mind draws its strength from taking a powerful sound and stripping it down to its bare minimum. Basic time signatures and minimal instrumentation (drum and bass) are pushed to their lowest frequencies.