As the academic year comes to an end, Drexel University’s MAD Dragon Music Group is readying many releases for upcoming Fridays. MAD Dragon Music Group is Drexel’s student record label, and its roster consists of Drexel students, local Philadelphia-based artists and other artists working to define their brand.
The label started the month with a release from stella, singer/songwriter Daniel Francis Fernandez. The project is an EP through which he chose to explore his relationship to loneliness. Normally, Fernandez is the bandleader of the funk and groove oriented Francis Aud.
The songs that fill the “Amalfi” EP, released May 3, are much more organic than those released under the Francis Aud moniker. The focus is on the lyrical content, which vulnerably explores loss. This release is for people who enjoy folk-oriented music and fans of Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley and The Avett Brothers.
This week, MAD Dragon releases local artist Scarlet Cimillo‘s new EP “Fiorella.” Scarlet Cimillo is an R&B artist originally from Dallas. Her first single, “What U Need,” released in 2018, was featured on the podcast “Guys We F—ed” and hit over 79,000 streams last week.
“Fiorella” is Scarlet Cimillo’s sophomore EP. The title was coined from her given middle name and the trademark of her mother’s small business. “Fiorella” is a tale of growing pains as Cimill navigates being an independent artist and empowered female songwriter. These catchy tunes reflect Cimillo’s feelings of being small and filled with crippling self-doubt. It is a confessional piece of work that will hit home for those working on growing into themselves.
The last full release from MAD Dragon is from Line Leader. Their new album “Houses of Water” drops June 7. Line Leader began in 2014 as the personal project of guitarist and vocalist Sean Clark. It has since morphed into a quintet, with Branden Bauer and Adam Mikhail alternating on drums and guitar, additional guitar from John Wylie and Ty Miller on bass. “Houses of Water” is an experimental rock journey with twelve tracks, including the single “Year of the Rocket” dropping May 24.
In addition to these releases, MAD Dragon Music Group will be releasing singles from more artists including Jacqueline Harvey, Nematode, Hannah Krupa and Cold Soul.
Mad Dragon Music Group is staffed by students in the business concentration of the music industry program who take three or more terms of the MAD Dragon Music Group class. The practicum course is structured to model the operations of an indie record label. The label offers artists and musicians a great home to cultivate and grow their art, providing many services including the various recording studios on campus and a distribution agreement with CD Baby.
The label recently partnered with Resevoir Media and Vinyl Me, Please to release Nat Turner Rebellion’s “Laugh to Keep from Crying.” The album was unearthed in the Sigma Sounds Archives, housed here on campus, and released for the first time 50 years after the recording began. The project has received coverage from Rolling Stone, NPR and Afropunk.