Live Review of Draag in Seattle

The Neptune Theatre  Seattle, WA 

Contact: [email protected] 

Web: draagband.com

Players: Adrian Acosta, guitar, vocals, synth, drum machine, samples; Jessica Huang, synth, vocals, samples; Ray Montes, guitar; Nick Kelley, bass, noise, modular analog percussion synthesizer; Eric Fabbro, drums

Material: Based in the shadows of Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Mountains, Draag is a doomwave band that injects bits of industrial rock and black metalized beats into luxuriant glo-fi soundscapes. Their melodies channel the subversive musings of My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep” and Slowdive’s “Star Roving.” At the same time, their spacey instrumentals gravitate toward the soaring atmospherics found in Sigur Ros’ “Rembihnutur” and Boards of Canada’s “Dayvan Cowboy.” Throbbing Gristle-like snippets—including recordings of obscure voices, hums, buzzes, and other sonic abnormalities—appear throughout the band’s waved-out harmonies, while eerie lyrics recollect surviving childhood religious trauma, the darker sides of spirituality, and feelings of isolation. 

Musicianship: Draag steadies their swells of sound with solid musicianship. The intertwined voices of co-leads Acosta (a trained mariachi singer) and Huang effortlessly slip under swathes of echo-flanged guitars and stunning synths in songs like “the day has come,” but also soar above as separate entities in “Mitsuwa.” 

Performance: Opening for the indie country-gaze band Wednesday, Draag started their sweetly aggressive set with two songs that aptly showcased their dissonant musical stylings: the swirling sonics of “Midnight Paradise,” followed by the fast-paced avant-garde distortion of “Demonbird.” The L.A. Valley quintuplet soon transitioned into songs that emphasized their capacity to embrace more industrialized tones exemplified in “Recharge,” complete with blips and samples reminiscent of NIN’s remix intro to “Where is Everybody?”  

Summary: Draag is a captivatingly dark and dreamy band. The quintet crafts haunting lyrics that complement their fusion of dark-meets-coldwave soundscapes. The band shines best when they readily push their creativity by pursuing adjacent genres such as industrial goth and electrocore, and if streamlined, could forge a distinctive sound for all to admire. Make sure to check out Draag opening for Wednesday and their recent releases, 2023’s Dark Fire Heresy and 2024’s Actually, the quiet is nice.