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"Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame has praise for Sexual Pancakes"

"I opened it. I ripped it. I enjoyed it. Very nice."

Penn Jillette commenting on drexel's latest recording, Sexual Pancakes. - Penn Jillette

"Describing Drexel in a manner that sticks is like trying to pin a corsage on your epileptic girlfriend before the prom"

"At a certain point, you really do have to start wondering what in God's name is in the water in and around Dayton, Ohio. You can dial all the way back to the art damaged punk dissidence of the late and greatly lamented Brainiac, move through the Breeders' brand of Midwest indie rock, spend a couple years contemplating the varied Who translations within the Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard personal library of congress, and consider the scorched earth pop of Swearing at Motorists, and you won't be any closer to an understanding of what makes this region tick creatively. And Drexel isn't going to further your studies either. The duo (vocalist David Sparks, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Brian Pelfrey) has been plying their strange trade for a decade, resulting in a pair of albums, including their 2002 debut, Drexel, Ohio, and their just released River of Chowder. Describing Drexel in a manner that sticks is like trying to pin a corsage on your epileptic girlfriend before the prom. Utilizing Sparks' Fozzie Bear-meets-Chuck-Cleaver voice and Pelfrey's airport lounge electric piano, the pair imagine a world where the first Tom Waits album is produced by Van Dyke Parks, co-written by Laura Nyro and Carole King, hipped up by Burt Bacharach, and draped in the tiny unironic piano dramas of Randy Newman and the sophisticated hillbilly sheen of Jim James without a single self-conscious hesitation. Like caviar, scotch and stamp glue, the first taste might come as a bit of a shock but repeated exposure will surely elicit a grudging appreciation for Drexel's quirky charm."
Brian Baker
Amplifier Magazine
- Amplifier Magazine

"Five Stars for drexel's "river of chowder""

”The music of Dayton's drexel has been described as "derelict Appalachian lounge music," and the duo cites influences from Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart to Sam Cooke and Meatloaf. Confusing? That's nothing compared to actually hearing their blissfully esoteric songs, currently on display on the new CD, River of Chowder, which features the slanted boho swagger and stagger of Tom Waits mixed with a little Ween like LSD Soul. There's R&B, Folk and old timey barroom bawlers in Drexel's sparse, lo-fi music. David Sparks - also the world's premiere "bedpan artist" - croons fascinatingly twisted tales about pot smuggling, toxic summers and both urban and suburban madness over pianist Brian Pelfrey's burly twinkling, sounding like something you'd see in the back corner of a scruffy dive while on a bender in the seediest part of town, only to wake up the next morning wondering if it all was some sort of strange, disturbing dream. And that, my friends, is a good thing.”

Mike Breen
Cincinnati Citybeat Newspaper
- Cincinnati Citybeat Newspaper

"Drexel might end up being a band of retro-formalists, but they're not ironic, which is what allows their music to be good."

“It's probably a little bit of an understatement to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I popped "Practicing Preachers", emailed to me by a member of the band about a week or so ago, into my iTunes, to be greeted with something that sounded like it was casually recorded during a random studio session thirty years ago. The quality of the recording is (I'm assuming purposefully) crackly and overdriven at best, and I'd say shitty at worst (perhaps mimicking the intro-Photoshop grandeur of the album cover), but as is often the case, the nastiness of the fidelity only adds to the charm of the song as a whole. It's of a style that's essentially non-existent in either indie or any other sort of pop music these days---the sort of rollicking, soul-inflected piano and voice number that was really popular in the early 1970s, if only because of the across-the-board amazingness of Carole King's Tapestry. And of course later on, Rickie Lee Jones would attempt a very similar thing, only with more barroom honky-tonk than slick R&B, to a nearly equal level of success. Drexel might end up being a band of retro-formalists, but they're not ironic, which is what allows their music to be good. The lyrics to "Preacher" are bound up in the tried and true lyrical tradition of crooked clergy, sort of like that one verse to Bill Withers' "Harlem" and more songs that I can't remember offhand, and they're delivered with a sincerity of purpose and seeming authenticity (and updated cultural references) that couples with the pounded piano to just make the song completely irresistable on every level.”
- marathonpacks.com

"Can't You Hear Me Going Insane?"

Can't You Hear Me Going Insane?

Drexel "East Dayton Saturday Night" - Feeling at once pleasantly familiar and strangely unique, Drexel play a sort of white trash cabaret music that sounds a bit like Tom Waits after a serious drinking binge. Set to lonely piano chords and vocals which tread a fine line between histrionics and soulfulness, the song describes an average night in economically depressed East Dayton, complete with methheads, crack whores, pregnant teens, and lots and lots of booze. There's a ragged elegance to this music which is quite lovely and evocative; it's really a shame that more people haven't picked up on this band yet. This ought to be a classic. - fluxblog.org

"the strange and wonderful music of drexel"

From She-Devine Publications
Las Palmas (Canary Islands)
Review by Héctor Noble Fernández.
The music: call it soulbilly, white trash soul music, "vandyke park-trash" or any other thing, but whatever you may call it I think only in one thing: try to imagine a bohemian stage in a small wood theatre, and a solitary man sat in front of a piano and singing for an audience of naked dummies, well, that kind of music would be that done by DREXEL, add to it keyboards, horns, harmonica, guitars, bass, drums and "hysterics" and the image will be more exact, theatrical rock (& roll) music, more calmed in the first half of the record and more tumultuous and blurred in the second half, sometimes like a musical, sometimes like a decadent drama; with veiled blues and jazz touches, a little from the sixties and also from the seventies, and occasionally even something like a semi-prog delirium; strange and marginal but lyrical, and I say lyrical specially due to the particular vocal style, more declaimed than sung (although he sometimes seems to sing while he is strangled...). It's probable that often the lights of this theatre are put out, because then you notice a certain lack of light in the music, not darkness but density. And is it a good performance? yes, a good and different stage play is always a pleasure, although with this one sometimes one feels giddy...
Some other data: debut release.
Sound: sometimes it seems as recorded live, with a remote microphone... it does not sound bad, but could sound better...
GLOBAL GRADE: 7.5 out of 10 - She-Devine Magazine, Spain

"The best thing I can say about a band is that they don't sound like anyone else. Drexel don't sound like anyone else"

From Norman Famous, Berkley, CA:
I didn't expect much when I saw Drexel's hand-made 8-song demo, but I listened to the whole damn thing straight through. They are certainly interesting. Funny, annoying, bombastic and at times completely over the top, but interesting. Their website is www.drexellent.com. The best thing I can say about a band is that they don't sound like anyone else. Drexel don't sound like anyone else. - Norman Famous

"Cincinnati Citybeat previews drexel at the Midpoint Music Festival"

"If you're searching for the feel-good hit of the summer, don't look here. But if unbearable showers of truth delivered via a keyboard and stream-of-semi-consciousness sermons that rival Zappa's best impromptu monologues are your thing, then come witness Drexel and buy a copy of River of Chowder. And maybe a bedpan, too.
Dig It: Ween, a very drunk Trans Am fronted by an even drunker Mojo Nixon." - Cincinnati Citybeat Newspaper

"Great American Music Hour Radio Show/Podcast Reviews drexel's River of Chowder"

"I do a weekly independent music podcast called The Great American Music Hour (available on iTunes) and have recently discovered Drexel (not to be confused with that other band on the same name). These guys remind me of Tom Waits, only weirder, if that's possible! They call it pop, and that's probably as close a description as you'll get without hearing it for yourself (which you definately should, so check it out). In any case, it's definately
Great American Music." - Jerry Jodice, Great American Music Hour

"Blender Magazine Senior Critic Robert Christgau includes drexel in his music consumer guide"

River of Chowder [Dayton, Ohio, 2008]
One guy you never heard of's bereft, derelict, falsetto tales of southern Ohio over another's rolling piano and whatever else comes to hand ("Big John's House," "Practicing Preachers"). **

http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?id=5939&name=Drexel - Robert Christgau


Sexual Pancakes - 2009
river of chowder - 2007
drexel, ohio - 2002

Sexual Pancakes, drexel's third recording, is nearing release.

River of chowder was released and has been received rave reviews, and enthusiastic radio and podcasting play. Go to:


for a list of drexel on podcasts and radio.



"Formed in the early '90s, the duo known as drexel slowly transformed from a '70s rock cover band (with a penchant for Todd Rundgren and Professor Longhair) into beer-swilling pioneers of redneck chic. Countrifried guitar and a mystic lounge delivery (Screamin' Jay Hawkins-style) easily identify the group from the rest of the underground rockabilly pack. Made up of singer, comedian, artist, and labor union leader David Sparks along with multi-instrumentalist Brian Pelfrey, the two quite literally began playing cover shows of Roosevelt Sykes and other influences before mutating into the act they became before releasing drexel, Ohio, their first album. Also known for their unusual stage show (clown makeup, strange costumes, etc.), the band carved out a distinctive place in Ohio's indie rock scene."
Bradley Torreano
All Music Guide

David Sparks and Brian Pelfrey met in high school, and have cultivated a life-long friendship into a cutting edge and critically acclaimed music act that has entertained fans at music clubs, music and art festivals, and house parties alike.

In addition to his duties with drexel, Sparks is also the world's only "bedpan artist", and a labor union activist in Dayton, Ohio. The band often performs surrounded by his artwork.