The sophomore album from DRGN KING,Baltimore Crush, feels personal. As an outsider, you’re immediately invited into this fuzzy psychedelic reality where suddenly there’s places and people who feel important. You know their behaviors, dreams, flaws and fears. That’s personal. This world comes from the strength of songwriting from frontman Dom Angelella, whose upbringing among the Baltimore DIY crowd comes out in this love letter of sorts to the scene. As a place where his self-discovery started to take shape, listeners gain a very real picture of what this scene means to those who were, are, and will be influencing/influenced by such a hotbed of creativity. This album thrashes in that convergence of ideas. I hung out with Dom recently to ask him about the album, and he shared some insight into Moments Where Things Changed for him as well as fears and goals cultivated from the environment around him. Continue reading →
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 →
“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.
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 →
Created to explore the music, past and present, and the storied legacy of the City of Brotherly Love, the 4th Annual Philly Sings Philly event returns to The Fire during the month of November. Across four Tuesdays, local musicians will pay homage to their idols, adding a personal touch to their favorite songs by Philly-born artists. Each week is curated by a different local music organization. Continue reading →
Get excited because we just got word our homies in DRGN KING that their sophomore album, Baltimore Crush, is coming out October 28th via Bar/None Records! It has a rad album cover by Philly artist Perry Shall (check it out above) and comes with a fall tour, which includes a hometown show at Johnny Brenda’s on September 26th, as well as a show at City Hall’s new Dilworth Park on October 18th. Continue reading →
Brit DJ Quantic (aka Will Holland) returns with his latest album Magentica to Union Transfer. Over the years, Holland has led a series of different side projects in a variety of genres including Quantic Soul Orchestra and Quantic Flowering Inferno. Magentica, his first solo album in seven years, mixes multiple genres for an intriguing sound. One of the tracks, “You Will Return”, featuring Alice Russell, was released as a part of Record Store Day earlier this year. Listen to “You Will Return” below. Get more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calender.
Up the Chain stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session. The laidback five-piece tossed three new songs into the set list, along with tracks taken from last year’s Seeds and Thorns. The session is a showcase of the band’s chameleon-like sound, moving from rockabilly to rootsy pop and even including a song you could tango to. Take a listen to “Seasick Sailors” below and get the full set here. Up the Chain play The Ardmore Music Hall on April 26th; tickets and information can be found here.
Philly outfit Roof Doctor released their sophomore effort Mobile Freedom Home this week, posting it on Bandcamp as a name-your-own-price download. As Patricia Madej described in her review, it’s the kind of album “you’ll find yourself humming” as you “notice the small jangly, irresistible details” of each song. Stream and download “Bulldog” below and get the full album here. Roof Doctor plays a record release show at PhilaMOCA tonight; information can be found here.
Folkadelphia brought in Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors for a live session back in October, and fittingly chose the early days of spring to share the resulting outdoorsy recordings. Found via word-of-mouth, the band proved why their fans are so supportive of and excited by the “honest, down-to-earth, and catchy pop & rootsy Americana music” the Tennessee natives create. Stream and download the full session below.
Local favorites DRGN King have returned with a new single called “Solo Harp” this week. Following last year’s Paragraph Nights full-length, the new track moves in a different direction with swirling guitars, a distorted found-audio clip and sun-bathed vocals not unlike Dr. Dog’s mellower tunes. Stream and download the song below and stay tuned for more from the band’s forthcoming second LP. DRGN King play Boot & Saddle on April 20th; tickets and information can be found here.
Recent World Cafe subjects Lake Street Dive performed a version of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 during their session with host David Dye. Featured as a My Morning Download, the song opts for a dimly-lit jazz club vibe with heavy stand-up bass notes accompanied by soulful vocal harmonies and steamy horns. Stream and download the song here. Lake Street Dive returns to Philly on April 2nd for a sold out show at Union Transfer.