Amid a barbed guitar burnout and a slow, deliberate rhythm, the Crownhate Ruin’s Joseph McRedmond shreds a lung screaming the first line to his band’s debut, Until the Eagle Grins: “I’ve had more last days than anyone I know.” The mood is more serene on “In the Four Years to Come,” when McRedmond sings, “I could pull out all my hair, I’ll still be there,” but the implied triumph of the will is every bit as potent—and vaguely fitting.
“I moved here about four years ago with a friend and her brother just because she was going to school down here and I wanted to be near her,” says McRedmond, the Crownhate Ruin’s soft-spoken singer/guitarist. “And within about four months the relationship ended. But I stayed.”
The Pennsylvania native’s decision to make D.C. his permanent home has proved to be artistically fruitful, if not terribly stable. Two years ago, McRedmond and bassist Frederick Erskine started Crownhate when their previous band, Hoover, dissolved. While McRedmond insists that the band is the “main thing” for everyone involved, there have been some infidelities. Most notably, Erskine spends his off time playing with June of 44, the New York–based indie supergroup. McRedmond himself has recently strayed to form Sea Tiger, a band in which he’ll play electric organ. The “main thing” has even suffered a shake-up recently, with the addition of new drummer Jim Batista, a former roadie for the band.
“In a lot of ways [having side projects] adds to this band,” McRedmond explains. “But trying to schedule can be difficult. With people in other bands that travel a lot, to all get together at one time and try to tour for a month is hard as it is.”
The Crownhate Ruin plays the Black Cat July 19 with June of 44 and Hayden.