Show Preview: Crocodiles @ Red 7 (10/26)

Date 10/26/12
Location Red 7
Doors 9pm
Tickets $12 @ Frontgate

ATH proudly supports Crocodiles and the beautiful pop tunes they’ve grown famous for creating.  That being said, you had to know that this show at Red 7 we be recommended by the entire crew as your best bet for a Friday night show in town.  Making the show even more enticing is a solid supporting package with Cheap Curls, Gal Pals, and La Migra all joining in on the fun.  We shall see you there purveyors of all things good.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Crocodiles-Sunday-Psychic-Conversation-9.mp3]

Download: Crocodiles – Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) [MP3]

Show Preview: Temper Trap/Crocodiles @ Stubb’s (6/11)

Date Monday, June 11
Location Stubb’s
Doors 700p
Tickets $25 from Frontgate


OK, I know the headliner is Temper Trap, but we here are far more excited to see Crocodiles. I will always love “Sweet Disposition” as one-hit, but Crocodiles killed during Psyche last year putting on a front to back festival set of semi-psyche Jesus and Mary Chain influenced jams, personal favorite being “Sleep Forever”.

Now, they are back with a new album and have an opening spot for a different kind of crowd. Nathan 3.5’ed the latest release, Endless Flowers, which ups the vocal ante and swings away from J&MC and towards POBPAH.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Crocodiles-Sunday-Psychic-Conversation-9.mp3]

Download:Crocodiles – Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) [MP3]

Crocodiles – Endless Flowers

Rating: ★★★½ ·

A few years back, Dan Treacy of Television Personalities used Crocodiles as his backing band, and that’s when I first caught wind of the group.  I trust Dan, so I scoured the net in search of news, only to stumble upon a group that I thought was unfairly being compared to Jesus and the Mary Chain.  Sure, I see the similarities, but as evidenced by Endless Flowers, the group has a lot more in relation to jangling art-pop than JMC.

“Endless Flowers” does utilize some squalling guitar wailing to kick off the whole affair, but vocally, it harkens back to the musical re-imagining of early 00s band such as Longwave; there’s a simple melodic tone that gives listeners that soft-footed shuffle.  “Sunday” again has that atmospheric guitar sound, so everyone’s going to already toss the JMC comparison back onto Crocodiles, but mentally I’m stripping the sound off these tracks, choosing instead to focus on the bright quality of the vocal delivery; it provides a youthful exuberance akin to Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

As Endless Flowers evolves, you begin to see the gentler side of the band, offering a steadier dosage of pop melody as preferred to noise.  “No Black Clouds for Dee Dee” is definitely a heartfelt ballad, considering the band’s relation to Dee Dee (not Ramone).  It’s a standout song, demonstrating that the group’s not always content with upping the noise quotient. Interestingly, as they begin to unleash a lighter side, they also begin to let that element fully collide with their noisier moments.  It leads to some of the longer tracks, such as “My Surfing Lucifer” and “Dark Alleys,” with the latter remaining as one of my favorite tracks on the record.

They break through it all to wrap up the record quite nicely, giving you a rollicking stomp track in “Welcome Trouble.”  The jagged guitar line cutting in the background just builds you to the raucous stomp that ups the ante during the chorus.  It’s got a bit of post-rock swagger to go along with the energetic chorus, and it definitely helps illustrate the group’s progressive direction. Closing out with the quieter “You Are Forgiven” again finds Crocodiles in a steady ballad form that should leave no doubt that the band is capable of affecting songs without having to fill each track with noise.  Admittedly, the chirping of the birds in the background of the recording might make it seem like a B-Side or an afterthought, but the strength of the song itself warrants its inclusion here.

I can see the Internet still hyping up the JMC connection, but perhaps when I listened to Endless Flowers, I was hoping for more, so I forgave its presence and looked closer at the core content in the songs.  If you approach listening to the latest from Crocodiles then I have the feeling that you’ll understand where I am coming from.  Regardless, I’ve had a lot of fun listening to this whole album, especially when you turn it up to 10 (11 is so cliche).

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Crocodiles-Sunday-Psychic-Conversation-9.mp3]

Download:Crocodiles – Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) [MP3]

Stereogum Has the Hits – Violens and Crocodiles

We’re a small site, so we don’t always get the hits as soon as everyone else.  Normally, I wouldn’t post everything, as you can clearly go to Stereogum, but I absolutely am loving these two tracks.  The first one comes from Violens, one of our favorites.  The band’s always writing tracks it seems, and they’ve apparently got True set to see release in May on Slumberland Records.  Then there’s Crocodiles, who’ve refined their sound, bringing about this ridiculously awesome track.  The group will release Endless Flowers on June 4th, and I hope it all sounds like the track below. Check out both these tracks, as they’re worth your time, and tell us which one’s better!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Violens-Unfolding-Black-Wings.mp3]

Download:Violens – Unfolding Black Wings [MP3]

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Crocodiles-Sunday-Psychic-Conversation-9.mp3]

Download:Crocodiles – Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9) [Mp3

New Music From Crocodiles

Crocodiles are band getting hype from all over the place right now and I honestly haven’t paid too much attention to them ’til I heard this sweet jam “Sleep Forever”.  Apparently the track is set to appear on an upcoming 7″ as well as the band’s  follow up to last year’s LP Summer of Hate.  You can now consider me in support of this band.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/05-Sleep-Forever-1.mp3]

Download: Crocodiles – Sleep Forever [MP3]

Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be

Rating: ★★★ · ·

Initially gaining notoriety during the rise of similar bands such as Vivian Girls, it would be easy to lump Dum Dum Girls into the exact same pile, yet something separates those two groups from being perfectly aligned (despite sharing a DDG sharing a former member of VG).  On I Will Be, which is primarily the work of Dee Dee, there remains a large bit of influences, but underlying all that lies a certain sense of darkness.

You can put on “It Only Takes One Night” and immediately feel the edge that runs throughout the album.  Rather than buzz and pop, the guitars seem to ring from a darker place, not ever quite breaking out of that seemingly haunting place.  The vocals, too, have a bit of a dark influence to them, partly due to a bit of a vocal echo effect.  Surely this is the influence of Dee Dee’s friend Mike Sniper (Blank Dogs), who makes similarly haunting tunes.

Even with that sinister tone hiding beneath, the band also have a touch of a softer side to them, one that definitely has its roots in girl groups of the 60s.  You’ll find that style prevalent in songs such as “Bhang Bhang, I’m a Burnout” or “Rest of Our Lives.”  The former uses backing vocals to bring back that nostalgic aesthetic, and it does so effectively.  “Rest of Our Lives” is sort of a late 60s prom dance number.  It’s slow moving, and the rest of the girls in the group, or perhaps just Dee Dee’s overdubs, gently float vocals in the background, as one would expect to see.  These songs are easily enjoyable, though not necessarily pushing any new ground.

However much this band seems to stay in one of two places, they are capable of creating some spectacular songs.  “Jail La La” is every bit as catchy as anything that has come out this year.  This is one of the few songs in the collection that seems to rise above the influences and standout for its individual promise, making it a currently relevant pop track.  Whether its the precision drumming pushing the pace of the song or the vocal quality here, the song wins you over instantly, never letting go. Another winning track is “Blank Girl,” featuring Brandon from Crocodiles trading vocal parts.  The juxtaposed vocal tradeoffs are quite successful, and the psychedelic guitar cuts don’t inhibit this song either.

Adding a touch of kitsch, Dum Dum Girls cover Sonny & Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go” to close out the album.  Personally, this song is a lot more affecting than the original number, as you can’t resist Dee Dee’s warm vocals here.  Everything else seems to stop during this song, and the instruments themselves are just a tool for the female voice. At least you can accept the inclusion of the song for thematic purposes on this record, and for the fact that its a pretty enchanting cover.

As it ends, I Will Be is neither astonishing, nor is it a letdown (not by any means).  You just have to weigh your personal feelings about whether or not this style is fitting for your listening habits. There’s not necessarily an over-abundance of originality, but you can’t let that detract from the fact that Dum Dum Girls have recorded some quality moments of music, such as “Jail La La.” You’ll find more enjoyable moments than not on this record, which is something you can’t say too often nowadays.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/04-Jail-La-La-1.mp3]

Download: Dum Dum Girls – Jail La La [MP3]

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