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On Little Dragon

If I had to choose, I suppose I would list Little Dragon as my favorite band. In fact, I spent the entire weekend listening to the quartet’s second album, Machine Dreams perhaps in a little subconscious preparation for the release of their new album, Ritual Union next week. Normally, I leave the music posts to Dallas, but a few words about the quartet from Gothenberg, Sweden: THEY ARE FANTASTIC. I have to credit an ex for turning me on the Little Dragon several years ago.  She had an assistant who slipped her a Little Dragon CD and upon hearing the opening notes of “Twice,” she caught the Holy Ghost and started playing it on the radio. I, of course, benefited from this hand-to-hand exchange, and was also instantaneously converted into a fan, especially once I realized that the lead singer of Little Dragon, Yukimi Nagano, had been the voice on all those Koop songs I dug.  I’m usually mad late to the game, but I’m glad to say I entered the Little Dragon building on the ground floor, and have been more or less glad to see their following swell. Perhaps this is why I feel so, I dunno, invested in them. And as a selfish fan, this latest increase in their popularity concerns me.  Yukimi seems to be everywhere: magazine spreads, on songs with Big Boi, on songs that are later “remixed” with a Drake verse. With my “Little Dragon” Google alert on fire lately, I worry that my beloved Little Dragon will soon go the way of Janelle Monae: awesome as a below the radar artist, but thoroughly and obnoxiously pretentious and intolerable once the masses start paying attention. The first time I saw LD in Chicago, I went alone.  I was standing by the bar waiting for my drink, and Yukimi Nagano walked by only to return moments later, standing close enough for me to tap her on her shoulder and say something dumb like, “Hey, next to those fish and Ikea, you guys are like the greatest Swedish export ever,” but I was way too shook to say anything to her. Instead I was too shook, and opted to text my friends about how I was close enough to spill a drink of Little Dragon’s lead singer. Next time they blow through the City of Wind, I doubt such intimacy will exist. Although my track record of all-time favorite artists–Res, Esthero, Van Hunt, Lauryn Hill, to name a few–allows my narcissistic mind to logically conclude that the last thing a musician wants is me as a superfan, in actuality, I worry less about or even them releasing my personal jam as a single, and more about the way that notoriety seemingly destroys artistry. It’s the curse of becoming a trend, I suppose. First you’re a group of backpackers begging to for someone to listen to your demo.  A decision or two later and you’re the half-time entertainment at the Super Bowl. The capitalistic aspects of fame suck like that. Dear white Jesus, please don’t let Little Dragon become the next Black Eyed Peas. Yukimi’s voice is so unique, though, it can’t be long before everyone–including Pepsi or somebody–will start paying attention. I suppose those of us hard core Little Dragon stans can hope the group either a.) resist the temptation of being the soundtrack to Apple’s latest ad, or b.) somehow find a way to be the same inspiring, quirky, creative, and ever-evolving band and super popular. Cross your fingers.


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