Band To Know: Tom Schraeder And His Ego
Download: Tom Schraeder - "Which Excludes You"
Download: Tom Schraeder - "The Whiskey Song"
Chances are very good that you've heard of Tom Schraeder And His Ego before, even if you haven't heard a single not of his music. This is because Tom Schraeder is not only a genuine phenom on the internet, but has created fantastically crafted songs at a young age (barely 23) and has built a strong buzz in his hometown of Chicago.
With only a few songs posted on his MySpace Page (songs that have been included in the proper release of his band's debut EP, The Door, The Gutter, And The Grave) the Chicago singer-songwriter has played Lollapalooza (and a rave review from the Chicago Sun-Times), been called an "Act To Watch" by the Chicago AV Club and sold out numerous shows in the greater Chicagoland area.
With that kind of praise, one might be skeptical about the quality of Schraeder's music. That's true in the sense that Schraeder's voice (shades of Paul Westerberg) and sound (Folk-Rock) are in no way re-inventing the wheel. What's praiseworthy about Scraeder is that his particular brand of Americana is familiar, but also thrillingly uplifting, even when he's singing about himself, his friends, and the low places they've all been.
On songs like the bitterly funny "Which Excludes You", Schneider writes like Ryan Adams woke up one day and forgot to tell everyone how big of screw-up he is; as a result, finally got his shit together and wrote a song with the orchestral grandeur of The Beatles. That said, Schneider does have a track called "The Whiskey Song" in which he, yup, you bet, describes how fucked he is (in terms of his personal life and his intoxication).
But even that song has the winning charm and spirit of inclusiveness that every great drinking song has, and that in turn forgives any woe-is-me, alcoholicliches in which Schraeder may indulge. While Schraeder may not be innovative, he writes incredible music with the kind of vibe which make repeated listens not only inevitable, but also enjoyable.
This is the one Ego that actually deserves to be inflated.
*The Door, The Gutter, And The Grave was released this past Friday, but can only be bought at shows. Update: an anonymous commenter said that you can also purchase Schrader's record here. Should Tom Schraeder be coming to your town, I'd suggest you go.