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01-10-2000 19-05-2002 4 4
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Jack Drag owes its life to John Dragonetti's early school days. With his father working in Cairo and Dubai, John attended an American school in the United Arab Emirates. There he was introduced to Lynyrd Skynyrd by his Texan classmates. In the evenings he played with the English kids who introduced him to punk and new wave. All around him, though, were the sounds of traditional middle-eastern music. When he finally returned to the States, John started making his own music, influenced by all that he had heard. The results were, needless to say, eclectic. From his first, lo-fi 7" single, 'Velour', on Summerville Records in 1996, the Jack Drag sound has been constantly evolving and mutating. Two independent albums, 'Jack Drag' and 'Unisex Headwave', developed through a convoluted path that passed by everything from The Beatles to Stereolab and Guided By Voices. Sometime members Jason Sutter and Joe Klompus joined John when he was signed by A&M Records in 1998. Initially attracted by his gentle but unsettling songwriting style, A&M released 'Dope Box' (produced by Chris Shaw who had worked with Public Enemy and Jewel) in the same year. Very soon, though, it was obvious that the band really didn't fit in with the major label's conservative roster and when the Univeral/Seagram merger happened the band once more moved on. 'Soft Songs LP: Aviating', released on Sugar Free in America (home too to Beulah and Wheat) and Shifty Disco in Europe. It was Jack Drag's first full UK release, it was recorded in two weeks in John's bedroom. It is an album of highly-crafted songs that toy with the listener's expectations of American alternative rock, taking in psychedelic pop, hip hop, New Wave and folk music. It is an album created with a lo-fi bedroom single-mindedness but an imagination that stretches to the horizon. 'The Sun Inside', Jack Drag's second album release on Shifty Disco. This album has a bigger sound than 'Aviating' but still holds that intimate atmosphere. The original intention was to make the album a collaboration between Jack Drag and Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura but due to busy schedules they only managed to finish the one song 'FM Royalty' which is featured on the album. This album manipulates sounds from Indian films and other secret sources to create a 'pop' song with a touch of the dark side. Reviews in both the UK and American press over the past couple of years have been unanimously positive but none has managed to pin down Jack Drag to a particular style. "Where Paul Simon meets Moby" ran one ecstatic review. "The most universally appealing album since Beck's `Odelay'" ran another. "A pretty spiffy slice of homemade boombox chorale... like Beck covering the theme to Magic Roundabout. No really that good" said the NME. Jack Drag's desire and ability to fuse disparate styles has been the key to their appeal and it is this that has drawn comparisons to fellow musical innovators, from Beck to Robert Pollard to Lou Barlow, although John Dragonetti has always worked in isolation from such artists and such comparisons tend to have more to do with the approach to music making than any direct resemblance. Read more on Last.fm.

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