When: Mon., March 5, 9:30 p.m. 2012
I'm not sure what the scene is like in Iowa City, but I'm guessing that Wet Hair cofounders Shawn Reed and Ryan Garbes aren't missing out on much action by using their spare time to construct hazy synth clouds. The band is now a trio—Matt Fenner came aboard in late 2010, adding bass and more synth—and on last year's In Vogue Spirit (especially the hypnotic opener, "Echo Lady"), it combines motorik grooves and Krautrock-y sweeps of buzz. The album has a loose, quasi-improvised vibe that allows the songs to float into different quadrants of out-there, and Reed coats his flat, pitchy vocals in an echo that adds an element of trippiness. All that said, In Vogue Spirit is tighter and "poppier" than anything Wet Hair has done—the band keeps each tangent on a leash, albeit a really long one. Due in May, Spill Into the Atmosphere (De Stijl) heads even further in this direction. The production sounds louder and clearer—it's easier to tell the instruments apart—and the synths play melodic lines instead of melting into an ominous background drone. If you're loyal to the Wet Hair sound of yore, though, don't freak too much—the slow burner "Jane, You Don't Decide" tops eight minutes and wanders all over the damn place. —Kevin Warwick
Baltimore singer-songwriter Ed Schrader operates on the fringes of an underground scene known for cultivating fringe artists—not just relative celebrities like Dan Deacon but also, say, Lexie Mountain Boys, Nuclear Power Pants, and DJ Dog Dick. He used to play short, quirky antifolk tunes, singing in a cartoonish, distorted croak and banging out sparse, off-kilter rhythms on a single floor tom. But when he teamed up with bassist Devlin Rice to form Ed Schrader's Music Beat, he ditched some of that raggedy, almost childlike sound and added a welcome dose of thundering power. The two of them make expert use of that expanded palette on their forthcoming full-length debut, Jazz Mind (Load), which alternates between two distinct styles: harsh, thrashing punk, where Schrader screeches and howls, and minimalist beat poetry, where he chants in a sometimes sleepy monotone. And in both, the whimsical spirit of Schrader's earlier work lives on. —Leor Galil Wet Hair headlines; Psychedelic Horseshit and Ed Schrader's Music Beat open.