Mondo Drag

Describing the evolving musical philosophy of Mondo Drag, keyboardist/singer John Gamino said the band is learning patience: "Letting parts breathe. Kind of letting the listener ease into something. ... Letting things develop. Not rushing them along too much."

Patience has also been required in other ways for the Oakland-based psychedelic/prog band that got its start in the Quad Cities and will return on July 9 for a show at RIBCO. (Three of the band's five members hail from the QCs: Gamino and guitarists Nolan Girard and Jake Sheley.)

In 2011, the year after Mondo Drag's New Rituals debut was released, the rhythm section left. The follow-up album was recorded and co-produced by Pat Stolley in the Quad Cities in late 2011 and early 2012 with Zack Anderson and Cory Berry (both of Radio Moscow), who then moved to Sweden as members of Blues Pills.

"So we didn't have a band, essentially," Gamino said. "We didn't have a rhythm section. We couldn't promote the album on tour." And the record didn't have a label, either. He added that the group had difficulty finding compatible musicians in the Midwest, so in April 2013 Mondo Drag set out for California.

Sophomore album Mondo Drag was finally released this year (on RidingEasy Records in the States) - three years after it was finished.

Mondo Drag

When Mondo Drag drummer/singer Johnnie Cluney says that "we're kind of bringing in more of a pop element" to the band's new songs, take that with a giant rock of salt.

The Quad Cities-based band released its full-length debut, New Rituals, on the Alive Naturalsounds Records label last month, and it's a hazy, sludgy affair - bluesy psychedelia borrowing heavily from the 1960s and recalling the contemporary sounds of Dead Meadow.

Yet there are indeed hints of accessible melody in the massive riffs and thick keyboards. "Love Me" hides on its downslope a compelling ascending chorus with heavy vocal emphasis on the downbeat. Calling it poppy is a stretch, but it opens the door to the remainder of the song. "True Visions" has a similar late revelation, with moaning layers of keyboards and guitars as its extended coda.

The quintet - celebrating the release of New Rituals on Saturday at the River Music Experience's Performance Hall - has begun to build a national profile. The band had its session released last week, and even though that Web site is based in the Quad Cities, it certainly doesn't play favorites with hometown bands.