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DRGN King





New Music Video: "Wild Night" - DRGN King

DRGN King premiered a new music video for the track "Wild Night" yesterday via Paper Magazine, which featured (obviously) a wild night roaming around beneath the Christmas lights in South Philly, devouring of turkey legs chased with Natty Bo and PBR, a milky green-ish concoction, and some of the local music community having a damn good time. It was directed by Dan King. If you happen to be down in Austin, you can catch DRGN King performing at our Deli showcase sponsored by Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie on Friday, March 15 at the West 6th Street Block Party.

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Photo Recap: DRGN King Record Release Show w/Dangerous Ponies, Walking Shapes & Idle Idols at PhilaMOCA

This past Saturday, it was a full house at PhilaMOCA for DRGN King’s Record Release Show. You had a chance to hear the five-piece’s genre-hopping tunes come to life as the band prepares to hit the road in support of their debut album Paragraph Nights, which includes the rite of passage trek to SXSW where they’ll be performing at one of the Deli showcases, and we’re sure others as well. The evening also found Dangerous Ponies bringing the crowd and their fans into the usual joyous frenzy, NYC’s Walking Shapes showed off why they’ll be a great fit with DRGN King as the bands get ready for their tour together, and Idle Idols proved to be another young, local band to keep your eye on. We have some photos from the fun night that you can view HERE. (Photo by Brandi Lukas)

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Photo Recap: DRGN King Record Release Show w/Dangerous Ponies, Walking Shapes & Idle Idols at PhilaMOCA 

- by Brandi Lukas


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DRGN King Record Release Show at PhilaMOCA Feb. 2

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. This actually means there will be a release show for DRGN King’s Paragraph Nights (which is our February Album of the Month and you can read our review HERE) at PhilaMOCA this evening - better than six more weeks of winter, right? DRGN King’s ever-growing member-count is a big part of what makes this new album special, and it is said by vox Dominic Angelella that “there are many stylistic shifts.” With that be told, there is going to be a lot of musical variation in one set, making it a release show that you won’t want to miss. Leading up to the reveal of Paragraph Nights will be performances by the über-dancey Dangerous Ponies, NYC’s Walking Shapes, and pumped-up Philly youngsters Idle Idols. PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St., 8pm, $7 - $10, All Ages - Brandi Lukas

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The Deli Philly’s February Album of the Month: Paragraph Nights - DRGN King

Somewhere between the first and last tracks on DRGN King's Paragraph Nights (Bar None), the album’s spiritual grounding reveals itself with startling clarity. After nearly an album’s worth of psychedelic, maximalist indie-pop, with all the attendant touches of pleasure-loving and Altamont Sunrise-watching you could hope to hear, “Warriors” finds frontman Dominic Angelella asking “We heard about the house you built - did you find your way back home?” This is not the carefree euphoria of teenagers. Rather, Angelella and his bandmates are channeling a more mature, collectively-oriented freedom, one that’s shared by other adults who know what it’s like to create, struggle, triumph and grow through supporting one another. At a time when pop music is so often aggressively self-involved, it feels almost revolutionary to invoke such familial comforts. This is undoubtedly the most emotionally affecting line of his on Paragraph Nights, the question held aloft on a soft background chorus of triumphant whoops and yelps, as if offering the emotional support of a whole gang. Have you made your house a home? Are you at peace? If not, Angelella wants you to know, here we are for you.

As with Angelella’s other projects, DRGN King’s overture is engineered with exceptional confidence and talent, even throughout its spacey interludes and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink tendencies. The sound is so dense that it can seem like DRGN King have always been a full band, with each member contributing a monolith of effects from the get-go. Not so; DRGN King was born a two-piece. Angelella’s songwriting duties often ride sidecar to the encyclopedia of effects, phasers, synths, and atmospherics offered by producer Brent “Ritz” Reynolds and the myriad of performers recruited to asseble this debut.

“Warriors” is a leisurely, beat-inflected strut, and one of the most radio-ready songs on the album. It’s a standout for the band as a whole, and when broken down, for individual members. Its bassline is a thing of sheer delight, and Ritz, who cut his production teeth on the Roots and Peedi Crakk, uses his designation as the hip-hop mind of the group for one of the most exciting parts of Paragraph Nights. “I got a bad, bad feeling they’re gonna take it all away....Warriors, out to play, and no one stay inside/The beautiful, the young, the brave.” Rather than a lament, Angelella’s exhortating people to level with themselves before it’s too late in life.

The moss-covered piano intro gives way to “Wild Night,” childlike wonder personified. After this bit of luminous electro-pop, Angelella slows things down for couple of sultry garage jaunts. “The Cardy Boys” is full of Mercury Rev-style nostalgia, as well as the same sort of lush production values given to Mercury Rev and Flaming Lips by Dave Fridmann. Tame Impala is another, more contemporary touchstone; their folkloric sonic tapestries and easygoing lyrical persona is instructive if you’re hellbent on finding a comparison who have succeeded in the mainstream.

“Barbarians” is a fittingly primal nightlife anthem. “Down in the trenches with barbarians” - who are these barbarians, specifically? Of any alluded-to group on Paragraph Nights, Angellella makes them sound like the most fun, going by hip-thrusting guitars and space-age synths.

The Santana-like guitar howls on “Caught Down,” the album’s penultimate number, are too prominent - and bizarrely perfect - to ignore. But just when this song is powering down, the drums weaken for a seemingly depleted conclusion, and neatly pivots into “Looking at You,” a funky hand-clapper and tambourine-shaker. It’s a total flouting of typical album structure, as if Angelella was determined to have one last moment of wistfulness before ending the album on an upbeat note. For the capstone to an album that feels like it belongs to a collective, this is an excellent way of corralling everyone for one last pump of the fist. Above all, Paragraph Nights is an album of mastery - whether technical, stylistic, or emotional, Angellella somehow knows where he’s headed from start to finish and how to keep people on board. - Alyssa Greenberg

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