Ed Schrader’s Music Beat are a two-piece band from Baltimore who play elemental, stripped-down postpunk, and who find a surprising amount of variation in that description. Frontman Schrader sings while banging on a rudimentary drum kit — one he plays standing up — and a metronomic rhythmic pulse is just about the only connecting thread running through all the duo’s songs. They can do frothy, feral trashcan screams, demented psychedelic garage, and tunefully sinister indie-pop. Schrader’s voice is a baritone croon, and it serves them well whether they’re sprinting or sidling. Opening for fellow Baltimore band Future Islands at a Charlottesville tea house last fall, they pounded away confidently in front of a crowd that didn’t know anything about them. They carry themselves well.
Jazz Mind, the duo’s debut album, blasts through its 11 songs in 21 minutes, but it finds plenty of colors and moods before ending. The band recorded the album with Twig Harper, of Baltimore noise fixtures Nautical Almanac. And though there’s not exactly an experimental-skree element to what they do, I have to imagine that Harper helped capture the toothy menace that makes the album so compelling. A couple of big collaborators also show up: No Age’s Randy Randall on “When I’m In A Car” and playful dance-music experimenters Matmos on “Right.”
Download “When I’m In A Car” and “Gas Station Attendant” below.
Jazz Mind is out now on Upset The Rhythm.