Corey Dargel - OK It's Not OK

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Release Date: January 27, 2015

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New Amsterdam Records is proud to announce OK It's Not OK, the fourth studio album from "baroquely unclassifiable" (The New Yorker) composer and "prince of postclassical song" (Time Out New York) Corey Dargel. The record has been lauded as a "landmark in its very own way" (Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review), "some of the most interesting music being made today" (Quirks & Quiddities), and was praised by Rhapsody for evoking "the buoyant quality of unexpected joy."

OK It's Not OK is the follow-up to 2010's lauded double album of chamber pop songs Someone Will Take Care of Me and finds Dargel returning to the world of skittering and buoyant electronics that colored his 2008 release, Other People's Love Songs. On OK It's Not OK, Dargel plays the roles of producer, songwriter, singer and composer, demonstrating his mastery of all aspects of the creative process and injecting his songs with a diverse spectrum of sounds.  The instrumentation on OK It's Not OK embraces classical, rock, and pop idioms equally – with violin, piano, and pure-tone vocals appearing alongside electric guitar, drum machines, and synthesizers.

Fans of Dargel will immediately recognize his idiosyncratic style – a combination of Steve Reich's devious grooves, Morrissey's literary wit, and Xiu Xiu's emotional directness – and newcomers will be drawn in by Dargel's indelible and contagious melodies.

Dargel’s lyrics are as carefully crafted as his music. Multiple layers of word games, unexpected rhymes, and double entendres merge with quirky rhythms and complex grooves that mimic natural speech patterns. Thematically, the album is primarily concerned with the intertwining subjects of depression and composure, yet Dargel's winking delivery and clever arrangements bring a sense of levity to these heavier topics. Unpredictable melodic twists and turns seamlessly blend with Dargel’s earnest, conversational disposition, belying the sometimes-dark lyrical content which, in less careful hands, could take a turn for the morose but, in Dargel's hands, feels light and even playful.

Throughout the album, the distinction between depression and composure is evasive.  Beginning with the first song — “It’s not a disguise / My vacant stare / Look into my eyes / There’s nothing there” — a gentle suspicion of composure carries the album to its penultimate song, in which a grief-stricken singer protests that “My smile shall remain / Upside down.”  The final song, inspired by one of Lydia Davis’s short stories, is an untempered elegy: “If I gathered everything you created / Every little gift that survives you / Put them all in the same place and waited / Wouldn’t that be enough to revive you / Whatever it was that killed you / Surely I can rebuild you.”

The album features contributions from violinist Cornelius Dufallo, guitarist James Moore, bassist Eleonore Oppenheim, and keyboardist Wil Smith. Artist Doug Fitch created the cover art and the music video.

Press and News:

Seth Colter Walls: 50 Records from 2015 - #7

Ted Gioia: 100 Best Albums of 2015 - #70

Exystence: "an engaging...set of art-pop from a singer-songwriter whose work is both unusual and distinctive."

San Francisco Classical Voice: "urbane and deceptively straightforward, with arch lyrics built of unusual observations, and on rhymes that seem both unusual and inevitable, all set to easygoing melodies with a distinctive musical thumbprint"

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review: "Dargel gives us some breakthrough music that you definitely need to hear. A landmark in its very own way."

Quirks & Quiddities: "some of the most interesting music being made today"

Rhapsody: "Dargel's complex-yet-poppy writing for strings, synths, percussion and his own voice is more than catchy...the album evokes the buoyant quality of unexpected joy."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "NYC-based singer, composer and producer follows his 2010 double album "Someone Will Take Care of Me" with highly tuneful, highly thoughtful songs set at acute and obtuse angles to familiarity." 

OUT Magazine: Interview - Singer Corey Dargel: It's OK to Be Gay and Not OK

PopMatters: "There's Nothing There" Video Premiere - "The sophisticated and catchy experimental pop of "There's Nothing There" is an intriguing preview of his new record, OK It's Not OK."

I Care If You Listen: Track Preview, "There's Nothing There" - "Dargel’s chamber pop strikes again with its elaborate instrumentation, straight-tone vocals, and dense lyrics"

Fingers on Blast: "Corey Dargel is amazing on his new song that is beautiful, chilled out, folk/indie rock with delightful echoing vocals and engaging guitar playing."