My Pet Dragon from Brooklyn, NY could not be fresher off their album release. Yesterday, Mountains and Cities dropped on the web and Friday will be their Record Release Show at the Mercury Lounge in New York City. They recently rocked the crowed at Jillian’s in Albany and recorded a video all nice and local (look for it months’ end). Todd Michaelsen [Lead Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist] said they are proud of the release of this record, and there is very good reason for that pride.
I have truly enjoyed listening to selections from Mountains and Cities over the past few days. My Pet Dragon is an indie rock band, and Todd has a great ear for melody and the rare ability to write pop songs that aren’t fluff. This is not a pop band, but what I mean by the statement is that it’s catchy and somehow familiar. But, it’s still fresh, and you smile, cause you like it. He clearly has an understanding of how music works and what is pleasing to the ear. He also has a great vocal range and a Jeff Buckley quality with a bit of a Killers flavor if no one minds my saying so. He’s supported by Reena Shah (back up vocals, percussion, and dance, which is expressively Indian in nature – she is linked below), Mario Padron (bass), Rajeev Maddela (drums), and Vincent Mascolo (guitar) and the whole thing together fits like it was made to. Todd cites bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead in his influences and I think you will hear that influence and appreciate it. In fact, this band is reminding me a lot of Clouds Make Sounds, another of my indie rock picks of the weekend. They’re both ethereal and ambient but with different approaches, and if you like one I feel you will enjoy the other. Both have great lyrics to accompany the beautiful music and an almost haunting quality, to varying degrees. I hope they meet up!
The best part besides the obvious music we get to hear, is that these guys are already family! Todd’s mother was from Utica and he still has family here. Holidays and family gatherings- Utica. He remembers the Blue Sox and nodded to the Zoo, it’s a genuine article. “I have so many memories of Utica. I love this town…We are definitely looking forward to networking with the community at the Festival: the musicians, the music fans, and the City of Utica. This really is a great opportunity for all artists to come together and support one another. I definitely anticipate new connections being made and it’s great that the Utica Music and Arts Festival is invested in helping this process for all of us involved.”
We know we will have a good experience. That is precisely what we want to do. I’ve known for years about all the fantastic music that comes through Utica year after year. I know Bob Dylan has played the Stanley Theater and my mother used to work there. This place has history. This is a great music town.
They are not an acoustic band, or a duo, but I fell in total love with this clip, so I’m sharing it. Authenticity diffused from pores.
“I want our fans to know that everything we do is genuine and we feel that we have something very special within this band. There is some connection we are starting to make with fans that have come to see us over and over again and we want others to share in that experience. Music should be communal.”
Yes, it should. Come to the compound in the 315, lead by the siren song of My Pet Dragon. Dodge the flames.
And, some stuff Todd and Reena have going on, too