Ed Schrader's Music Beat, “Beautiful Transvestite”

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Seeing Ed Schrader's Music Beat perform live is always a voyage to another time and place. The Baltimore pair is half Ed Schrader on a single standing tom drum, usually with a bulb inside that shines up under his chin, campground flashlight style. The other half is Devlin Rice, who is playing the bass. They both sing, and they look like they could be strange brothers, or that their association is abnormal in some way. A recent tour shirt, depicting the two as Beavis & Butthead, was a little bit too visually accurate. However, Ed and Devlin are quick talkers in that way-too-smart-for-their-own-good Wham City way, and whatever creepiness is instilled by their stage-show is quickly dispelled by their on-stage wit.

Often, the pair's songs walk a very strange tightrope. The simplicity of the music – it's only their voices, bass and a big, resounding tom, remember – keeps the stage clear for the lyrics to really stand out. And Ed and Devlin's brains are full of weird stuff, strange situations. (For instance: Ed is also currently doing a series of ridiculous audio impersonations of Rush Limbaugh, and this episode of fellow Charm City resident Erin Gleeson's podcast where he explains how he created a fake set of audio recordings about the inner life of a family he knew is required listening.) In this song, the B side of the second Famous Class/Less Artists More Condos benefit 7-inches (the A-side is Future Islands, a frequent touring partner – buy it!), Ed talks about sexual love in a way that I don't think any songwriter ever has before.