Stream & Download Mondo Drag’s “Plumajilla” from Self-Titled LP

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Though the album from which it stems is rife with organically captured progressive wash, “Plumajilla” is a singularly resonant stretch on Mondo Drag‘s self-titled sophomore full-length. Based at the time it was recorded in Iowa and currently in Oakland, California, the trio recorded Mondo Drag (review here) in 2012 as the one-time-only lineup of vocalist/keyboardist John Gamino, guitarists Nolan Girard and Jake Sheley, bassist Zack Anderson and drummer Cory Berry, shortly after the latter two moved home to the Midwest following their departure from Radio Moscow. They’d leave soon for Europe to launch Blues Pills and GaminoGirard and Sheley would make for the coast, where they’d hook up with bassist Andrew O’Neil and drummer Ventura Garcia in the current incarnation of the band, but the recordings for the self-titled remained, and RidingEasy Records has stepped in to release the album on CD and vinyl on May 12.

Which brings us to “Plumajilla.” The centerpiece of the seven-song outing, it gets underway with a straightforward enough organ-laced swing, but soon shifts into psychedelic guitar layering and begins to build to a head as it moves toward the midsection. Now pay attention, because the three-minute mark is where it all turns. Keys take centerstage and set the foundation for a gorgeously melodic progression that, almost in a mirror of the beginning mondo drag mondo dragof the song, start a build of their own, gradually incorporating guitar, bass and drums along a subtle but immersive course. Again, Mondo Drag‘s Mondo Drag isn’t short on krautrock-minded exploration, but “Plumajilla” is one of those songs that lets you know just how special a record actually is. And I won’t take anything away from the swagger of the opening section either just because the second half is so glorious. Later cuts like “Pillars of the Sky” and attitude-heavy closer “Snakeskin” have their own sense of classic heavy proggery, but the marriage of both sides in “Plumajilla” is one that simply begs to be experienced.

And like the record itself, it’s a there-and-gone moment. For Mondo Drag, the album represents a fleeting time in the band’s existence after their 2010 debut, New Rituals (review here), and before whatever they do next, but it’s given a landmark feel for the lineup it boasts and for the material itself. It will reportedly be the first of three Mondo Drag releases through RidingEasy — worth noting Kozmik Artifactz also had a European issue in January — and I’d be hard pressed to think of a better way for the band to kick off a series than with this as their first installment.

Dig into “Plumajilla” below with volume aplenty and an open mind. PR wire info follows:

Mondo Drag recently signed to L.A. label RidingEasy Records to release the band’s sophomore album, a culmination of many journeys: sonic, physical and temporal.

The creatures known as Mondo Drag originally hailed from deep along the banks of the wild Mississippi River where they created ominous, spiritual, savage psychedelic revival sounds. Under the spiritual guidance of the forefathers of heavy psych, prog, and proto-metal, Mondo Drag has created an amalgamation of sounds the likes of which have not been heard for decades. The band’s unique sound, and rare cohesion probably stems from the fact that core members John Gamino (keyboards, vocals), Nolan Girard, (guitar, synth) and Jake Sheley (guitar) grew up together and have been playing music with each other for 15 years.

Their debut, New Rituals was released by Alive Records in 2010 and for the next fourteen months the band hit the road hard, headlining a half a dozen tours in the US and appearing at numerous psych fests along the way. In the Winter of 2011-2012, the band returned to the studio with new rhythm section, Zack Anderson and Cory Berry, also intermittently involved with popular Swedish band Blues Pills. Shortly after the album’s completion, the pair left to pursue Blues Pills, which was taking off in Europe. Mondo Drag soon replaced them with current drummer Ventura Garcia and bassist Andrew O’Neil upon relocating to Oakland.

Now settled in Oakland, CA the ensemble continues to create cosmically proportioned, churning jams evocative of a rainbow of inspirations such as Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Can, Atomic Rooster, Hawkwind, Budgie, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Italian prog, Krautrock in general, and heavy space-outs.

Mondo Drag will be available on LP, CD and download via RidingEasy Records on May 12th, 2015.

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