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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Relief is full of what one might describe as “Bali Hai” moments.
The album is Philadelphia dream pop band Vacationer’s sophomore release, out today via Downtown Records. Though it features modern technology – electric guitars, vibraphone flourishes and Logic-produced beats – Relief echoes the score of 1949 Rogers and Hammerstein musical “South Pacific.” In the show, Bali Hai is the name of the magical, mysterious island that is seen as an exotic paradise to the main characters. The native Tonkinese people invite American troops fighting during World War II to visit the island, and it becomes a tropical haven for the soldiers to forget about the fighting and killing that surrounds them. Every time that Bali Hai is mentioned or seen off in the distance, the show’s score elicits waves of brass, strings and a chorus of voices that bolster the island’s enchanting qualities.
The musical motif that starts Relief feels like an invitation from Vacationer to join the band on its own version of Bali Hai. Voices swell and fifes sound as the album launches into the first track, “Stay,” and frontman Kenny Vasoli sings, “Want you to taste summer winds as they’re gusting around/ I want you shaking those habits just in time, worth it if you look around.”
On Vacationer’s enchanted musical island, there are definitely no signs of the war, racism or other hardships that thicken the plot of “South Pacific.” But Relief also isn’t all chill waves, summer sun and good vibes like its predecessor, 2012’s Gone. Continue reading →