DRGN KING - PARAGRAPH NIGHTS (January 22, 2013)
DRGN KING - BALTIMORE CRUSH (October 27, 2014)
About a decade in to the 21st Century, Dominic Angelella seemed to be in every cool band in Philly, crisscrossing genres from head-thrashing rock to underground hip-hop. Angelella says those weren't bands, just projects. It wasn't until a chance meeting led to a partnership with a young South Philly hip-hop producer named Brent "Ritz" Reynolds that Angelella's catholic passions and talent would come into focus in the band they named Drgn KING. Reynolds, who had cut tracks for the Roots and Mac Miller, provided a wealth of sounds and beats created in the studio, while Angelella brought the rock. "As one might expect from a group formed on such an ad hoc basis, [Drgn King's debut] Paragraph Nights has no easily discernible purpose, shape, or structure," noted SputnikMusic.com. "It exists mainly as a nebulous, non-committal art form, put together seemingly at the behest and for the amusement of its creators." A year later, the duo released Baltimore Crush, a song cycle that trips through time, re-visiting rock 'n' roll ghosts and reliving Angelella's childhood in "The City That Reads." Churning in the undertow of the present and imagining worlds to come, the songs revolve around a community of disenfranchised kids looking for kicks while trying to make a world they can call their own. "The ten-track album still has touches of DRGN King’s signature electronic influences," gushed WXPN's Skye Leppo, "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."
Dominic Angelella: Mark Lipsitz reached out to Drgn KING a few years into our stint as a band, and I was immediately stoked by their back catalog. Not only were they responsible for the first two Of Montreal records and those awesome early Feelies albums, Bar/None had also released Song Poem compilations and Petra Haden covering The Who Sell Out sans instruments? Add in Emperor X's criminally underrated record Erica Western Teleport and I was sold.
There's a sense of community that doesn't exist in other labels. I was able to call up Glenn, Mark and Emmy whenever, or pop into the office unannounced, and was always welcomed. Shout out to Bar/None forever. They're a stronghold of ethics and realness in this bizarre, ever changing world of music.