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Giant Drag - Hearts and Unicorns Review

by Eric Bodrero

Orange County seems to be a total hotbed for great music, especially lately, and thanks in part to the OC, in which I don't claim to watch. Add another hot band to the essential list of "bands to watch": Giant Drag. Having been compared to such bands as My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies, Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey, the Breeders, the Beach Boys and Nirvana, Giant Drag have a perfect blend of indie rock, pop, punk, and lo-fi fuzz rock bundled up in a tight little package and kept fresh for your convenience with Hearts and Unicorns.

The album starts off with a garbled little jaunt by female vocalist Annie Hardy in "Kevin Is Gay" that sounds like something Frank Black would pull off. Guitars come exploding in with a chorus bed of "Ooooo, oooo, ooooos", and then Hardy's sexy, feminine voice takes control (complete with a mini chorus of "meow, meow meows"). The rest of the album is at times untamed and out of control, at other times subdued and beautiful.

There is an unusual and surprising amount of synth on a record of such lo-fi greatness as well, as is evidenced in "This Isn't It", a track that also boasts solid songwriting and a wonderfully charming melody. Throw in a high-pitched, scratchy, Malkmus-like guitar solo just for s***sngiggles and you have most of what makes Giant Drag a band to keep your ears peeled and your head banging to.

Not letting the fact that Giant Drag essentially started as a band by playing a cover of "Who's Crying Now" by Journey coerce you into shrugging them off, you should take into consideration that this two-piece outfit has been around since 2001, playing free shows, recording tons of material, and winning fans over gig after gig. Giant Drag have something special here, and here's to hoping they continue this explosive journey they're on. Plus, Annie's kind of cute. Is there anything better in a rock band?

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