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Jack Drag

Jack Drag has been around for half a decade, during which time the band has honed an idiosyncratic, damaged, glossy pop sound. The band's name is an alias for mastermind John Dragonetti and occasional friends. Dragonetti, also a member of the quirky guitar-pop group Junior Communist Club, is sort of like a musical cross between Matthew Sweet and Bill Doss (of The Olivia Tremor Control). He's got streaks of the work boot-wearing Middle America power-popper and the pinwheel-eyed reclusive pop experimentalist in equal parts. He winds up with disjointed lo-fi pop full of heavily layered and distorted guitar parts and weird incongruous urban beats that don't quite go but make for interesting juxtapositions.

Jack Drag brushed up against modern rock success when, after releasing a pair of mid-'90s albums on the Hep-Cat label, Dragonetti inked a deal with A&M and released a big studio album, Dope Box, in 1998 (Jack Drag was actually a trio for this recording, featuring bassist Joe Klompus and drummer Fred Elteringham). Despite its winning combination of juicy AM radio hooks and swirling pop psychedelia, the album reached few ears, and Jack Drag (as the story so often goes) was unceremoniously let go. So Dragonetti dropped his other band members, dropped the big studio production, and went solo into his own Boston home studio to record another weird, lo-fi pop album, his Soft Songs LP: Aviating, an eerily pretty and pretty peculiar effort which features "Crazy," an unsettling little beats- and samples-driven lullaby.