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Unlocked: How well do you know the members of DRGN KING?

photo courtesy of DRGN KING
photo courtesy of DRGN KING

DRGN KING core members Dominic Angelella, Brent “Ritz” Reynolds, Steve Montenegro and Joe Baldacci have been established as a band for four years, but each individual has had a presence as a mainstay on the Philly music scene for years. So this leaves us with the question—when were YOU listening to one of DRGN KING’s boys without realizing it? With the help of friends involved in other projects, each musician has been able to stake roles as MVP’s on the 215 music map. Test your knowledge on other places you may have heard Reynolds’ flawless production or seen “the red-haired Jesus” shredding in the background.

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Unlocked: Watch Dom Angelella play a stripped-down version of “St. Tom’s”

Photo courtesy of RootDownInTheShadow |http://www.rootdownintheshadow.com/
Photo courtesy of RootDownInTheShadow | http://www.rootdownintheshadow.com/

In our review of DRGN King’s Baltimore Crush yesterday, we referenced the heavier nods to surf sounds on this record, which is definitely prevalent on the sure-to-be crowd pleaser “St. Tom’s.” Well, way back in February Dom Angelella did a Cover Club session at Nomad Recording Studio featuring a cover of The Dead Milkmen’s “Punk Rock Girl,” which you can read about here. What we didn’t highlight before was this super-stripped down version of “St. Tom’s,” the second track from the singer’s hometown-focused record. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: The Key’s Review of DRGN King’s Baltimore Crush

Baltimore Crush artwork by Perry Shall | http://www.perryshall.com/
DRGN King’s Baltimore Crush | artwork by Perry Shall | http://www.perryshall.com/

“Do you remember we would go to church and play the pool shark?” trills Dom Angelella on “St. Tom’s,” the second track from DRGN King’s Baltimore Crush. This line is just one example of many that invites listeners into this fuzzy world of basement-moshers-with-guitars on the album, a follow-up to 2013’s Paragraph Nights.

Baltimore Crush isn’t just a shift from their debut LP; it’s a progression into a different branch of rock. Sure, the ten-track album still has touches of DRGN King’s signature electronic influences, but the driving forces on this effort come from thrash-worthy guitar solos counteracted by relaxed surf vibes, which in itself could be a description of the people the album’s written for; coasting along but screwing up big time in an attempt to mask unreached potential.

The percussion on “Solo Harp,” which the band played at the 2013 XPoNential Music Festival, has this intensity that personifies how important the rest of the album is, making it an interesting yet appropriate choice as the last track on the record. It hearkens back more familiarly to earlier work from DRGN King, but the song’s themes provide a fitting conclusion for this new album as well. Baltimore Crush is a spectacular collection of feelings about the common overwhelming pressure to break out and do something huge and what it’s like to watch people flounder along as they fail to meet those expectations.

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Unlocked: Download “Undertow” and get pulled into DRGN KING’s Baltimore Crush

photo courtesy of DRGN KING
photo courtesy of DRGN KING

Listening to DRGN KING’s Baltimore Crush is a bit like remembering what you might have written in your journal when you were seventeen. Well, not even a journal, because that would indicate you strived for consistency. Who had time to be consistent at seventeen? It’s like finding a “really important” piece of looseleaf on which you frantically mapped your ten-year-plan during a study hall, convinced that following this agenda, of course, was key to Making It Big.

Because in ten years, you were supposed to have it All Figured Out.

If you followed all these things and nothing happened, If you didn’t follow this list, If you didn’t make it by then, you weren’t doing it right.

But growing up and realizing happiness lies in finding something worthwhile, something you care about, is one of those things you don’t really believe until you realize your own happiness. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Read the Young Statues guide to what’s good (and familiar) about Athens

YoungStatuesPromo
Carmen Cirignano of Young Statues | Photo via runforcoverrecords.com

For the final installment of Young Statues’ Unlocked spotlight, frontman Carmen Cirignano shares some of his favorite places in Athens, Georgia where the band recorded its new album, The Flatlands Are Your Friend. He also describes why and how his favorite spots remind him of home in Philly.

I spent six weeks away from Philadelphia recording this record. Luckily I got to do it in a place that is now starting to feel like a second home: Athens, Georgia.

Athens, like Philadelphia, is an amazing city with a rich cultural history. Naturally, there were a lot of similarities. Here are a few of my favorite places that reminded me of home while in Athens. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Why Jersey’s Young Statues took measures to make “Flatlands” feel like a home away from home

Young Statues _Shervin Lainez (LoRes_WEB)
Young Statues | Photo by Shervin Lainez

Carmen Cirignano hopes putting on his band’s new record can provide a very certain kind of feeling.

He relates it to taking a trip to his grandmother’s house. Whenever he visited her, he’d feel a certain way and have very distinct memories. It’s an idea of being somewhere familiar that’s not exactly home.

“I wanted a cohesive, kind of flowing record that made sense from the beginning to the end and felt like a tangible thing, in a way,” Cirignano says. “I wanted people, when they listened to it or put it on, to be able to go somewhere, go to a place, wherever that place is to whoever listens to it. It could be different for everybody. I wanted it to have that feeling, like it was something as a whole rather than just a collection of songs.”

Cirignano, frontman for Young Statues, is sitting at an outside table at Old City’s Ole Café, having just driven downtown from his home in Prospect Park. He’s joined by bassist Tom Ryan, who has just driven in from across the bridge in New Jersey. They’re both joined by Ryan’s sister’s small dog, who remains mostly quiet as the two discuss the past and present history of the band. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Follow Young Statues into the studio in a new documentary (PREMIERE)

Matt Weber and Tom Ryan of Young Statues in the studio | via Instagram
Producer Drew Vandenberg and Tom Ryan of Young Statues in the studio | via Instagram

To the non-musician, the process a band goes through to make an album may not seem like hard work.

Those unfamiliar recording may think that the songs are always fully realized before the band enters the studio — that musicians can just go in, nail their various parts in a few takes, then move onto the next song. It seems like making an album should come easily and naturally.

But talk to any musician about recording for more than a few minutes, and you’ll know this isn’t the case in the least bit. You’ll hear stories about spending a whole day recording one guitar solo or drum fill, or singers scribbling down lyrics just minutes before the song they’re writing is to be recorded.

Making music isn’t easy. That’s why Young Statues knew that, to record their sophomore LP The Flatlands Are Your Friends, they wanted to travel somewhere to both limit distractions and feel more inspired. So the band spent three weeks recording in Athens, Georgia at Chase Park Transduction Studios, where frontman Carmen Cirignano had also retreated to years prior and wrote Young Statues’ debut album. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: The Key’s review of Young Statues’ The Flatlands are Your Friend

tfayf-cover
Young Statues’ The Flatlands are Your Friend

It’s almost fitting that the release date of Young Statues’ sophomore LP, The Flatlands Are Your Friend, would fall around Halloween.

Whereas the South Jersey-based band’s self-titled debut could be categorized as indie pop, and its 2013 EP Age Isn’t Ours bordered on pop punk, Flatlands is something total different — an eerily haunting, rock-driven release.

We’re obviously not talking “Monster Mash” here. It’s edgy and emotional in the vein of “Gimme Shelter,” and a far cry from anything the band has ever done in the past.

Young Statues has always stuck out because they’ve never really fit in where they were. Punk and hardcore bands dominate the band’s label, Run For Cover Records. This has informed the tours Young Statues been on and the fan base they have developed. But you’d be mistaken to lump them in with many of their label mates or this “emo revival” everyone keeps talking about. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Download “Got The Knife” from Young Statues’ new The Flatlands are Your Friend

Young Statues | Photo via facebook.com/youngstatues
Young Statues | Photo via facebook.com/youngstatues

Young Statues’ 2011 self-titled debut album wasn’t exactly unintentional, but it was somewhat unplanned.

The South-Jersey based indie rock band was born from the collection of songs written by frontman Carmen Cirignano on a prolonged trip to Athens, Georgia. He had just left another band behind and was encouraged by people there and then upon returning home to turn what he thought would be solo material into a new project.

That collection of catchy, intricate indie pop tunes won over fans for a reason. Continue reading →

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Unlocked: Despite frequent “Trips,” watch Vacationer cater to hometown audience

 

Vacationer | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com
Vacationer | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Vacationer does exactly what their name would suggest.

The Philadelphia-based band has toured and traveled all over the world. They’ve shot videos in Hawaii and Costa Rica. They’ve played festivals in Iceland, and toured all over the U.S. alongside bands like Bombay Bicycle Club, Tennis, Hellogoodbye and The Naked and Famous.

But the Vacationer hasn’t always taken their party on the road. They’ve also played Philly enough times since 2012 to make it hard to keep track of. The band has brought its chill-wave sounds to venues like Union Transfer, the Theater of the Living Arts and the Dock Street Brewing Company, as well as outdoor festivals like 2nd Street Festival in Northern Liberties and the Fishtown River City Festival. Their home-away-from-tour, however, seems to be Underground Arts, where Vacationer has played a handful of shows including the two installments of the “Nude Beach” concert series the band started.

To celebrate tonight’s release show and the band’s first time performing at Johnny Brenda’s, we’re recapping a few of Vacationer’s most memorable hometown shows in the live videos below. You can also catch them playing the first day of the Made in America festival on August 30th, Vacationer being the only local band announced on the bill so far. Continue reading →