Writing about a band that no longer exists and that made a fairly negligible impact on the local music scene may seem like an exercise in wasted effort, but certainly not more so than said band taking the time and expense to record their debut several years after officially calling it a day. I bring this up now only to highlight the circumstances both myself and the subject of this find ourselves in, and while none of it may fall within the normal spectrum of logic that usually guides these sorts of decisions, let me just say this: I’m here now, sharing my thoughts about the “new” single from former Atlanta trio Schroeder because, well, it’s damn good stuff that’s damn well worth listening to.
More specifically their music serves as a tractor beam of nostalgic contentment I neither want nor need to break from. Inspired by ‘90s math rock and Midwest emo acts like Braid, Cursive, and Hum, Schroeder understood the power of angular guitars and barked anthems, of gnarled tension and fleeting moments of catharsis. Unfortunately, however, few people had ever managed to hear the group outside of a handful of live performances. Comprised of Alex Wharton on guitar, Steven Abadin on bass, and Jake Cook (Seal Pup, Jacket) on drums, the threesome were only active for about a year between 2012-2013 and never got around to recording any of their songs. Only recently, five years after their original inception, would Schroeder finally make it into the studio, although this time, only as a duo with Abdadin declining to participate in the sessions for personal reasons.
Recorded at Broad Street Visitors Center with Dan Carey Bailey (Faun and a Pan Flute, Visitors, Carey) at the helm, Schroeder’s self-titled debut is a raw and loose affair that somehow manages to capture the band’s compelling mix of anxious energy and taut but nimble songwriting. It’s an eight-song effort full of tiny wonders and small surprises with songs that rarely sit still or move in the direction you think they will. There are some duds, as you might expect, but also a welcome number of standouts, including lead track “Cultured Silk,” which we’re excited to premiere for you today. With a running time of just 1:41, the song arrives and disappears in a hurry, but not before scrawling a despairing message that sheds some light on the band’s short but turbulent history.
“‘Cultured Silk’ is a song about wanting to get your shit together and fucking it up, cyclically, ad infinitum,” says Wharton. “The reason we never recorded before is because I was struggling with addiction, and anxiety about whether or not any of it was good. Eventually I concluded that I had a deep connection to these songs, and since all of us hated each other’s creative agenda, and lost touch, it was up to me to find a way to record it anyways. Like, fuck everything and everyone. These songs are a part of me.”
Schroeder’s self-titled debut is available now for stream or download via Bandcamp.