|Ed Schrader’s Music Beat — Riddles (March 2, 2018)|
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat — Riddles (March 2, 2018) •★• Garage punk duo fronted by vocalist/songwriter Ed Schrader, a longtime member of Baltimore’s Wham City collective.
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Recording Location: Headfort Hall, Tempo House Studio
Genre: Noise Rock, Post Punk, Lo~Fi
Album release: March 2, 2018
Record Label: Carpark Records
01. Dunce 3:54
02. Seagull 5:18
03. Riddles 4:38
04. Dizzy Devil 5:12
05. Wave to the Water 2:24
06. Rust 2:27
07. Kid Radium 3:26
08. Humbucker Blues 2:32
09. Tom 4:04
10. Culebra 5:27
★ Robert Beatty Artwork, Design
★ Andrew Bernstein Sax (Alto)
★ Craig Bowen Drum Engineering
★ Dan Deacon Arr., Composer, Mixing, Producer, Programming, Sequencing, Synthesizer
★ Ruby Fulton Violin
★ Owen Gardner Cello
★ Jeremy Hyman Drums
★ Dave Jacober Drums
★ Heba Kadry Mastering
★ Mike Lowry Drums
★ Jared Paolini Drum Engineering
★ Devlin Rice Bass, Composer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals (Background)
★ Ed Schrader Composer, Vocals
•★• Ed Schrader’s Music Beat needed to make this record. 19 tours in the U.S. since the Baltimore~based duo’s formation in 2010, from headlining underground spaces to opening massive venues for Future Islands, had left vocalist Ed and bassist Devlin Rice exhausted — and hungry to take their music to the next level. Ed and Devlin dreamed of a fuller sound — layered, breathing arrangements their early rapid~fire compositions always seemed to imply, without yet having the tools to realize.
•★• On “Riddles,” their first release for Carpark, the Music Beat begins their new life. In search of a fresh direction, Ed and Devlin invited their close friend, electronic~pop maestro Dan Deacon, to expand their sound and experiment with them as the album’s producer, arranger, and co~writer. Working steadily in Dan’s studio for two years in total collaboration, three evolving musicians pushed through an intense period of personal tumult and found purpose in the sounds they were committing to record. The result: a polished and passionate masterpiece of nuanced alt~rock. From driving opening track “Dunce” and the soaring single “Riddles” to the disarmingly gorgeous closer “Culebra,” Ed and Devlin unapologetically channel a personal pantheon of pop and rock gods while growing into the band — and people — they’d previously kept caged inside.
•★• Dan, Ed, and Devlin all poured emotions produced by major life changes into these sessions. While in Puerto Rico on a rare vacation, Ed learned of the death of his stepfather, a charismatic but abusive figure who’d cast a dominant shadow on his formative years (feelings explored on the elegant “Tom,” and crucial to the flow of the album). Devlin sat at the bedside of his brother, who’d long lived with a terminal illness, as he saw through his choice to die with dignity. And Dan’s longest relationship, which had stretched across his entire career as a musician thus far, came to an end. “I looked forward to these sessions when everything else in life was a shit~show,” recalls Devlin, who began the record commuting from Providence to Baltimore, but moved into Dan’s studio as it neared completion.
•★• “For me, the album parallels feelings of confronting the past, resolving it, facing the music, and blasting out of it,” says Ed. “It’s the album our hearts wanted us to make.” “Riddles” is a full~length collaboration between Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and Dan Deacon. All three people invested their souls into this record for two full years, and it shows.
BOB BOILEN, March 2, 201812:24 PM ET
•★• Riddles, the third album by Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, is a fascinating piece of work that is both ugly and beautiful, often at the same time. The beauty of this music is in the trance~inducing pulse that drives it; a chaos of pulsing, incessant rhythms.The sound is reminiscent of two bands that captured my musical world around 1978 — the aggressively minimalist electronics~and~poetry duo Suicide and the dark, futuristic sounds of Pere Ubu’s Dub Housing.
•★• To make matters even foggier, the duo that is Ed Schrader’s Music Beat is, at least for this record, a trio, with their friend (and ours) Dan Deacon, as producer, recording engineer and co~writer. Simply stated, Ed Schrader is the lyricist and singer and Devlin Rice the bass player. But, of course, it's more complicated than that.
•★• To provide some clarity and shed some light on their shadows, Ed, Devlin and Dan were kind enough to walk us through their creative process, introduce us to their muse, explain their motivations and explore the happy accidents that gave birth to this odd and captivating piece of work.
Ed Schrader: With “Dunce,” I was really trying to capture the essence of Arthur Seaton, the main character of “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” — a great piece of kitchen sink fiction I recently read where our man, Arthur, is constantly at odds with his vices, brought on by post~trauma and repressed rage at having to comply with factory life. He becomes numb and lashes out on the weekends in an alcohol~soaked spending spree, which always finds him in a damp laundry pile of regret Monday morning.
•★• I feel like we all get sucked in that quicksand one way or another — but it’s also about being tough and savvy even when someone is belittling you. Keep your eye on the prize!
Dan Deacon: Despite all of us being close friends for years, this song, being the first we dove into, was a way for each of us to learn our methods and approaches in this new dynamic as co~writers and collaborators. I really love Ed as a lyricist and the mantras he creates fascinate me. I wanted to make sure we utilized his lyrical style in shaping the song form as much as possible. When the band came to me, they had a collection of demos in their former stripped~down style, most of them around 90 seconds long. The guys had stated before we started how song form and development were something they wanted to experiment with. With that in mind, Ed’s lyrics became the focus of the form and development. For example, the looping vocal phrase that enters at 0:18 that runs throughout became the ostinato grounding that everything else built off [of], and the synth lead line that comes in around 2:06 is actually Ed’s processed voice. Using his voice in this way acted as a way to expand the sound, and allowed us to experiment with expanding the sound, while working with the original elements of the minimal band.
•★• Of course, that brings us to the bass guitar and its massive role in all this. Growing up, I really loved bass guitar~centric bands, like Morphine and the Violent Femmes, so I was especially excited to work with Devlin, who had developed a very amazing minimalist/maximalist approach in his writing. He really knows how to fill out an entire song with just his bass in a way that has always impressed me; leaving so much room for Ed’s vocals, but filling in every other space without being busy or showy.
Ed Schrader: For me, this song is a mid~life crisis in stereo. It’s about vacillating between acting like an eighteen year old for eternity, or “joining the human race,” as Steely Dan puts it in “Kid Charlemagne.” Though, unlike Steely Dan’s main character, my character’s not running from the law after hocking designer drugs for years — he’s a burnt~out DJ who’s been haunting the same clubs for years and can’t find it in himself to tell the person he’s in love with their true feelings. He’s successful enough to hang around, but will never see his name on a poster.
Devlin Rice: Despite what Ed might say about this, I think it has to do with — at least in title — the time we ate a seagull in Prague. We wanted to have a truly traditional Czech food experience and asked our Czech tour manager for his recommendation. Tomas took us to a real nice restaurant and picked our meals out. Tomas had larded beef, I was chosen to have pig knee, and Ed was to have “the bird.” The pork came out on its own roasting tray, as well as “the bird,” with all sorts of wonderful horseradish and pickles, etc. We are both thoroughly enjoying some of the best food we have ever eaten when Ed asks what is the name of “the bird.” Upon the revelation [that it was seagull], Ed — who at the time was really enjoying it — threw down his utensils, hands in the air, announces “I’m done!” I ended up finishing it for him. Gulls have a lot of dark meat and are very tasty. (Excerpt) •★• https://www.npr.org/
Param Anand Singh, Jan 11 2018, 9:58am
|Ed Schrader’s Music Beat — Riddles (March 2, 2018)|