Summer of Love, Revisited… Or Not

Written by Ernest Barteldes on . Posted in Posts.

WHEN LISTENING TO electroacoustic folk duo Drug Rug, somehow it sounds as if one’s revisiting the bygone (and honestly, too-much fussed over) era of Woodstock.The exception is that, instead of listening to reheated covers from the likes of Bob Dylan,The Mamas and The Papas or late-1960s Beach Boys, what you hear are completely original songs. The elements from that time, however, are all there: a bass guitar connected to an antique-sounding fuzz box, trippy keyboards, weirdly timed percussion and, of course, acid-tinged lyrics and vocals.


Formed in 2006 after Sarah Kronen and Thomas Allen met at a Cambridge, Mass. watering hole, Drug Rug has since been quite active. “I met Sarah at this place in Cambridge, and we soon started making demos,” Allen explains. “So one day someone came along and asked if we wanted to put it out [as an album], so we had to do a whole record in very little time.”

Allen says that the group’s name—which refers to the Baja-style of hoodie—came from a friend of his. “It doesn’t really fit our band or our sound, but when we were starting out we wanted people to remember it.” Another thing about the band’s creation is the fact that the duo’s musical relationship blossomed around the same time that Kronen and Thomas’ own romance story began.

“We would play guitars together when we hung out,” he recalls. “We’d play each other songs, and then the next time we got together we kind of just fell into it.”

Though Allen acknowledges his group’s psychedelic leanings, he says that it never intentionally set out to write songs in that manner. “We’re not going for anything in particular,” he says. “I’ll be at home with my guitar kind of working on songs, and Sarah maybe pitches in.” And about that ‘60s influence? He says the inspiration came from “a radio station here in Cambridge that plays nothing but ‘60s and ‘70s music.”

On stage, Drug Rug’s music sounds edgier than on the album, thanks to Kronen’s strong vocals and Allen’s guitar chops.

Each has a great live persona, which Thomas describes as simply “being ourselves,” and neither shows the bashfulness that other bands peddling retro-sounding tunes are known for.

Now on their first real East Coast tour to promote sophomore disc Paint The Fence Invisible, it’s not unlikely that Drug Rug will end up defining what the next decade’s music will sound like.

> Drug Rug

Oct. 23, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (betw. Bowery & Chrystie St.), 212-533-2111; 6, $15.