Beat the Devil
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Beat the Devil

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Band Alternative Rock

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Listening to Beat the Devil is like taking your first punch in the face. - Spin


Shilpa Ray—let's call her what she is, New York City's best frontperson—has added theremin to her harmonium playing, and her vocals remain a killing weapon, a portal to generations of blues singers howling from beyond the grave. - Time Out NY


You wanna get there right as a Beat-the-Devil set begins, because half the fun in seeing this volatile NYC jazz-folk-blues-punk outfit lies in watching the unfamiliar react the first time lead singer Shilpa Ray opens her mouth. Typical reaction: shock and awe. She looks tiny and jovial (especially surrounded by her menacing, dudely bandmates), but goddamn can she ever shriek, alternating jazzy, evocative moans (she's inspired Billie Holiday comparisons, and for once they don't sound totally ridiculous) with a nuclear-grade, paint-evaporating, continent-shifting howl loaded with more volume, rage, and pathos than the entire Ozzfest lineup combined. After she fiercely blasts through her song about Coney Island, you'll never look at chili dogs or Ferris wheels the same way again. That Ray is nonchalantly playing a harmonium (a hand-pumped organ of the bagpipean persuasion) the whole time only adds to the terrifying visual appeal. It's not always clear exactly what her surrealist lyrics mean ("Where there are dancing bears/Drinking grape-flavored Kool-Aid/Touching large-breasted women/Touching large-breasted men/Oh I'm in love with myself"), but there's no doubt she means it, and means to let you—and everyone in the next county over too—know about it. - The Village Voice


Discography

Beat the Devil (self-titled, self-released EP)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Beat the Devil formed in the fall of 2004 when Shilpa Ray, a tired, tiny 5ft 2 Soho shop girl, stumbled into the Sidewalk Café Anti-Hootenanny to sing an a cappella version of her song “Idiot’s Guide.” Lach, the Anti-folk overlord, was so impressed by her fearless performance that he told her if she could find an instrument and write some more songs, he’d give her a show. Unable to learn how to play guitar, she strapped her first instrument, a large harmonium, in a case shaped like a baby’s coffin and rolled it over the Williamsburg Bridge with a hand truck. This trafficking of songs and harmonium, through rain, sleet, snow and general world devastations occurred for several months until she met a drummer and a bassist, nearly-defeated indie-outlaw giant, the 6ft. 5 Mishka Shubaly. He responded to her Craig’s List ad thinking she was a man; after a few phone calls, meetings, and rehearsals, he figured out that she wasn’t. He brought a much-needed muscularity to Ray’s songs as well as a nearly-defeated van to help her carry her stuff. They added drummer Mitchell King and for the next year, Beat the Devil has brought their throbbing, ass-shaking, guitar-less voodoo howl to NYC clubs such as Pianos, Mercury Lounge, and the Knitting Factory. In October '06 they released a self-titled EP and continue to write and perform in the city and on the road.