The other night I caught the tale end of Little Dragon’s performance at the Independent, and needless to say–I’m still annoyed at the doorman. Let’s just say there was a communication problem (doorman can’t read “David Johnson-Igra”)–and I missed seeing the full set of a budding psychedelic funk band that has gained recognition after being featured on the Gorillaz’s latest album and touring with VV Brown, who are rhythmically catchy and sonically transfixing.
Lead singer, Yukimi Nagano, sings in a low key that’s reminiscent of dark characteristics of Fiona Apple and soulfulness of Erykah Badu. Her range hardly shifts but on occasion whimsically verges with higher notes that are typically emphasized by an accompanied wind instrument or piano progression. The effect is a jazzy, funky coolness that squelches the potential freak out from the more psychedelic synthesizer parts. What’s unique about Little Dragon is their ability to combine funky notes with psychedelic and consistently remain grounded in accessible pop rhythms that could easily supplement a good hip hop song. Their set list featured two of my favorite tracks (“Feather” and “Swimming”) and verged from cool, to upbeat, to tripped out, before repeating–making it not only refreshing, but exciting.
“What’s unique about Little Dragon is their ability to combine funky notes with psychedelic moments and consistently remain grounded in accessible pop rhythms that could easily supplement any good hip hop song.”
Towards the end of the set Yukimi Nagano covered her head in a scarf, lifted her arms up and spun in circles, giving the crowd permission to loose themselves in the music. I followed suit. It was brief–and I cursed under my breath the doorman because I wish it would have been longer–but on the bright side I got my taste. Make sure to check out their new album Ritual Union which drops in April/May.