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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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Local drummer Ricardo Lagomasino joins DC rockers Deleted Scenes

Lagomasino with his Deleted Scenes bandmates | photo courtesy of the artist
Lagomasino with his Deleted Scenes bandmates | photo courtesy of the artist

The first thing that greets visitors to Ricardo Lagomasino’s website at the moment is a video of the Philly-based drummer unleashing a blistering solo against the endless, empty expanse of Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. The five-minute clip begins with howling wind before Lagomasino’s percussive explosions begin, and the whole experience conveys something of a post-apocalyptic, last-drum-solo-on-Earth vibe.

“I had wanted to visit the Salt Flats for a long time and to hear what drums sounded like in a vast, totally flat space,” Lagomasino says. “There was nothing for the sound to bounce off of, so it sounded pure. It sounded like what a drum would sound like not being in any space at all. It was crazy. I’ve never heard my kit sound like that before. It was a windy day, but I think the interaction between the drums and the wind actually works really well. It’s one of my favorite parts about it.”

The backdrop may be more picturesque than most of the settings in which Lagomasino finds himself playing, but the idea of taking his drums into unusual contexts is nothing new. At home in Philly, he’s best known these days as the drummer for the intense, ferocious prog-jazz-punk power trio Many Arms, but recently he joined the eccentric D.C. indie rock band Deleted Scenes, which will end the east coast leg of its latest tour on Friday, May 23rd at Boot & Saddle.

There was almost no Deleted Scenes for Lagomasino to be part of. As frontman Dan Scheuerman has detailed in interviews, the band had reached a low point just as Park the Van Records came calling. Continue reading →

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John Pfeffer (of Capillary Action) released new track “Bodega”, co-starring a wide variety of fellow Philly artists

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John Pfeffer of Capillary Action is a unique songwriter. Having dabbled in free-form avant-rock in the past with his band - which, as he acknowledges, has been more like a name he uses for whatever music he’s currently working on – he just released a new, very avant-garde track  under his own name called “Bodega.” It features collaborations he’s done with a handful of fellow Philly artists, including Ricardo Lagomasino of Many Arms, Eric Slick of Dr. Dog, YIKES the ZERO, Lushlife, and Jeff Zeigler of Arc In Round. The  track is wildly experimental, and largely instrumental until around the 7 minute mark (it’s 10 minutes in total). Check it out for yourself below, via Soundcloud.