Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – ‘Welcome To The Roman Empire’ CS
Ed Schrader has been a creative fixture in Baltimore for several years now. But before his live talk show, the Ed Schrader Show, was first taped in a chilly warehouse, and before he joined forces with bassist Devlin Rice in his unholy duo, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, he was conducting extensive home taping experiments in various locations in upstate New York. To compile Welcome to the Roman Empire, Fan Death Records has dug through several hours worth of Ed’s archives spanning from handheld tape recordings and projects for a broadcasting class at SUNY Brockport dating back to 2003, to rhythmic quasi-industrial tracks that made it to his 2009 vinyl debut The Choir Inside. The tape also includes some spoken interludes of Schrader’s remarkable comedic talent. While his releases as Ed Schrader’s Music Beat show him further refining his skill at “banging the hell out of a floor tom” (Baltimore City Paper) into a pop context, this tape is as much Raw Schrader as you’ll find anywhere.
Roomrunner – ‘Roomrunner’ CS
Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Roomrunner is the newest project from Double Dagger’s (R.I.P.) Denny Bowen. Anyone who has taken note of Bowen’s drum style can easily see he came from the School of Grohl, with his hard hitting drum style and bash your brain fills. Instead of just pulling from the Buzz Bin songbook, Bowen throws in his unique sound of bendy guitars and odd stop-starts that make this debut cassette something to behold. Songs like “Shed” and “Upside Down” combine bendy pop guitars with the push and pull that would make US Maple jealous. “Spinning” bounces back and forth with such solid guitar work and catchy vocals, you’d think Bowen worked on perfecting these songs for years. While every blogger/message board geek is trying to be the first in line to label a band with some new genre name that will last as long as a Longmont Potion Castle Orange Julius phone call, we’ll make it simple for ya: This is a “Rock” release from start to finish, and a jaw dropping one at that.
Überchriist – ‘Überchriist’ CS
As winter approaches, Fan Death Records is pleased to present the first offering by Atlanta black metal trio, Überchriist. On their debut cassette, singer/guitarist Colin Mee, bassist Greg Knap and drummer Shane Patrick offer an idiosyncratic take on old-school black metal, supplying aggression, melody, and atmosphere in equal measure. Memorable musical motifs emerge through efficient structures and few-frills execution. Themes of destruction, domination, ritual, conjuration of the primordial state of man, and the transformation of consciousness are expressed through pulverizing blastbeats, riffing, and harsh vocals as well as more reflective, downtempo instrumental passages. Ultimately a careful balance is struck between all-outrage and thoughtful mysticism, all without taking itself too seriously.
Woollen Kits – ‘Live 22/09/11’ CS
After they caught our ear with a killer two-song 7” on Sydney’s excellent R.I.P. Society label, Melbourne’s Woollen Kits have prepared this tape in advance of their February tour of the full U.S. Recorded live in the studio on September 22, 2011, Live 22/09/11 (see what they did there?) captures a moment of WK that will hopefully whet the appetites of fans of laconic guitar jangle, as played by early 90s slackers in the Pacific Northwest, New Zealand, and Rust Belt Ohio. This tape features several so far-unreleased tracks off of their upcoming LP, as well as a cover of “Round & Around” by fellow Victorians Lower Plenty. After they finish that cover, someone in the crowd yells out “Great song,” and we’d have to agree about all eight tracks on this tape.
Leather – ‘Wretch’ 7″
Philadelphia’s Leather are wasting no time in whetting the appetite of their ravenous fanbase by releasing one of the most anticipated punk records of the year. Hot on the heels of their Sterile 7″ (Jade Tree), their latest four-songer,Wretch, is a testament to their unpredictability. While both sides start out with pounding, ferocious hardcore clang, the second track on each side marks exciting detours for the band. The A-side’s “Idolator” puts singer Alex Agran’s vocals front and center while the band careens behind him like the bastard children of Poison Idea and SST-era Soundgarden. The B-side’s “Moyamensing Killers,” on the other hand, is their current set closer and shortest track to date, topping out at barely over one minute of sharp guitar noise and an infectious vocal chant. After a couple spins of this record, anything you play after will sound as limp as a Big Mac left on the dashboard of a Toyota Tercel.