Written by Lauren Rosier
For the indie-shoegaze quintet, Draag, things started out a little differently. The band began as a solo project of Adrian Acosta, who is a trained mariachi singer by his norteño musician father. Acosta then recruited other members – Jessica Huang, Nick Kelley, Ray Montes, and Shane Graham – who came from various genres and aspects of the music industry including underground punk, no wave, experimental jazz, and classical music training.
Draag has always been known for wearing different musical hats. They’ve been named a “cult” favorite throughout the L.A. underground scene to “ambient-shoegaze-industrial rock” to “ambient-psychedelic rock.” They’ve basically been an underground favorite since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2014.
Now the five-piece has readied their second EP, Clara Luz, following their Nontoxic Process EP. The indie-shoegaze quintet is thrilled for the release of their new EP. Clara Luz is about processing trauma, how it can be absolutely terrifying and lonely, but also in a way, empowering.
The 6-song set starts with the track, “Cee”. It opens with a strong buildup of drums and intense guitars. The instrumentation sounds absolutely phenomenal, but with that classic indie, lo-fi vibe, it sounds even more understated.
“Ghost Leak” has this melancholy sadness, yet in an understated way. The track opens with a great drum beat and immediately breaks into vocals. Throughout the song, it shows off the band’s mesmerizing, melodic rhythms and synths. It was the band’s first single and music video from the EP.
The band’s second single, “Trauma Kit,” opens as simple melodic guitar strumming, then coasts into delicate vocals, soaring synths, and erratic guitar hooks. Punchy synths continue throughout the song as it continues. The song is a very calm, even-keel track that doesn’t seem to have a certain feel or vibe to it.
“Around My Fear” opens with a punchy drum beat layered over melodic keys and Acosta’s dreamy, gentle vocals. The contrast between the gentle vocals and punchy background beat oddly goes well together. The end of the track features heavy guitars and then gentler, ethereal guitars.
If you’re a shoegaze/indie-pop fan, Draag is truly the band for you. They understand the genre well and create music that is a good representation of, not only themselves but also of the genre itself, too. I look forward to seeing what the next release is from Draag.