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 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.
“Listening to Beat the Devil is like taking your first punch in the face.” – Spin