Once Tom Schraeder performed at Chicago’s House of Blues as a teen, there was no turning back. On his self-released demo back in 2007, ‘The Door, The Gutter, The Grave’ his skills as a versatile vocalist and sensitive songwriter shone through, but when he caught up with Eddie Vedder two years later, his vision truly crystalized. His single, ‘Patbaby’ landed on ‘Once Lace Now Cotton’ (Township Records, 2010) and garnered accolades from ‘The Deli’ magazine, but Schraeder always finds time to expand his circle. To that end, the band also worked with Chicago hip-hop group Natureal.
Schraeder has been a frequent tour de force at Austin’s SXSW and Lollapalooza. When debuting new material in Chicago, he had the pleasure of joining forces with Mars Williams and Kate Adams. Tom Schraeder and His Ego’s new album ‘Gush’ is a great canvas for his songwriting acumen, gentle vocals and reflective lyrics.
‘Duct Tape Ladder’ boasts industrial ambience; swirling, caustic sound bytes and expressive phrasing. The bittersweetness conjures up thoughts of Badfinger and McCartney, but it goes beyond that—it’s a remarkable confluence of style and sentimentality. It would be an epic even without the standout electric guitar solo.
‘Jungle Gym Jock’ is more than simply alliteration. It’s a rollicking character study. Tom’s vocal range is spot on and the percussion is dynamic.
‘Thrown Back Hair’ is a gorgeous excuse for supreme electric guitar effects, but so is ‘Silence Will Follow’ for that matter. The former ballad is heart tugging and speaks of old-school romance. Think early Rufus Wainwright.
‘Regret in Another Tense’ has an undulating melody and is hauntingly executed. Yet it’s the lyrical content of “Tomorrow We’ll Never Know” which cuts deeply and unapologetically: “Home, I can’t go home alone/We laughed, we sang and danced/Now, a broken marionette/ I never had a chance.”
Don’t let the wistful and enigmatic lyrics of ‘When You Were Young’ distract you from the bright harmonies. ‘Prison of Air’ begins in such a plaintive manner, but builds and builds on the keys. The theme “We’re here to set each other free” is replicated in the unleashed instrumentals.
‘Young Not Rotten’ certainly doesn’t skimp on lush guitar but the closer ‘Chicago, I Love You’ is the real surprise - one of the few songs written about the windy city that’s more a ‘Golden Slumbers’ type lullaby than blues anthem or clichéd show tune. It’s novel and authentic. This is a fine album from a band that shows great promise. ‘Gush’ is precisely what you'll do when you hear it.
Excited to be headed down to play at SXSW again! 2014 was filled with a lot of studio work, demos for our upcoming record, songs for film, and even some covers just for fun. So I'm really looking forward to getting out and playing live again, especially in Austin, TX. In the meantime, I've compiled some of those tracks into a EP titled "Hip Jean Roamers." Give it a listen and check back for SXSW details! Spread love friends...
With aging comes the remembrance of who you were and what you'd like to become. Looking back on this record, amongst others, I've been able to see a subconscious narrative through-out my last 16 years of recording. Lying Through Dinner is a record that embodies, my alcohol and drug fueled state at that time, as well as my sense for discovery, yet trapped within mid twenties pride. At that time, I had about a few hundred dollars to my name and it was my second trip to SXSW; this time I was playing quite a few shows. While arriving on my birthday to Austin, Tx, Danny Malone, a friend of a friend picked me up at ATX, we proceeded to go back to his place, smoke a joint, song trade mid-afternoon, and proceed to party all night at Sidebar before all of the SXSW madness kicked in. SXSW came and went, like the blur it so frequently becomes and my time in Austin wasn't up. I began writing a lot, and Danny offered to produce an EP of mine at his all analog studio with business partner/engineer Matt Smith.
In 2007, I had just played Lollapalooza, CMJ, SXSW and garnered quite a bit of critical praise for it, a lot of it was due to my bandmates at that time. We were a 9 piece band at the core, ranging from singing saws to cello's amongst a full rock line-up. With the band in Chicago - my efforts were to make a minimal EP and originally title it "La da da." After a title change, 6 week recording session with incredible gear, the record was completed with the help of many Austin musicians contributing to it. Almost 8 years later and looking back, I'm most proud of the fact that such am important time of my life was captured; I followed my instinct, left for a new town, created with strangers, and made many life long friends amongst all of it.
So friends, embrace your past, the good, the bad, and dream relentlessly. You never know what an uncertain pursuit of following instinct may bring you.
After years of working on our latest full length, Gush - the band and I have received great news that we're unable to share at this moment; but this results in us post-poning Gush LP until 2015. However, we are very excited to be releasing a special edition *gush EP in Chicago on October 10 at Schubas Tavern to all pre-ordered ticket purchasers. Celebrating the release with us, our friends The Kuhls and songwriter/His Ego guitarist Ryan Joseph Anderson amongst many more surprises.
"Tomorrow We'll Know Why" is the second track off of "Gush" that I'm happy to finally release in preparation for our October 10th release date. This song has had many incarnations, yet I feel as though we may have gotten it right this time...well, much closer at least. Email me if you'd like a download of the track at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh oh...Our first review of "Gush"has been put into the universe; thanks to Jim Kopeny, aka "Tankboy" - the band and I are humbled by his words. Give it a read: Chicagoist saying, "'Gush!' Is An Epic Stunner!"