Archive for Crocodiles

Haunted Hearts’ “Initiation” Is Literally The Marriage Of Crocodiles And The Dum Dum Girls

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by johnbuckley100

In their separate realms, Kristin Welchez and her husband Brandon Welchez are responsible for two of the strongest albums of the past year.  Under the name Dee Dee Penny, Kristin is the leader of the Dum Dum Girls, whose album Too True helped get us through a long, cold winter.  Brandon Welchez’ band Crocodiles released Crimes Of Passion last summer, and it claimed the #5 spot on the 2014 Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List (c), and honestly, if we were to retrofit that list to the number of times since that we’ve played the record, it woulda/coulda/shoulda scored a higher slot.

Crimes Of Passion was a brilliant melding of garage rock and post-Bowie ’80s pop, and Welchez proved himself to be something like the ideal caddy, knowing precisely when to wield that 9 iron (horns), or the sand wedge (Farfisa.)  For another band, Crimes of Passion could be a Greatest Hits album, as the entire core of the record was like one radio hit after another.

Too True was also the best Dum Dum Girls album, one of those records that — like the Iggy Pop classic from which Kristin Welchez took her band’s name — probably sounds better on a cheap stereo than an audiophile’s rig.  If you take just one song, “Rimbaud Eyes,” you can immediately get a GPS reading on Welchez’ ambitions: she is somewhere in between Patti Smith (the Rimbaud reference) and Debby Harry (the early ’80s pop sound.)

So naturally it makes sense for two married artists producing such a high level of compatible work to put out an album together, and in Haunted Hearts’ Initiation we have about what you’d expect to emanate from pillow talk about fuzztones and pedals.  It’s a little bit more of a Dum Dum Girls album than a Crocodiles record, for those keeping score.  Which is to say that it lands in the category of mid-’80s MTV pop, catchy as a summer cold, a synth-driven studio record with some of the best features pulled out of each artist’s bag o’ tricks: the two singers’ pleasant voices, Brandon Welchez’s bass-driven pop chops, Kristen’s melodic sense.

We thought of this in the context of those early MTV bands, but there’s another pop reference point easily invoked here: a song like “Johnny Jupiter,” which is the strongest of the eight songs on this short, fun record, could easily have been featured on an iPod ad back in the day when Apple and their ad agency TBW\Chiat\Day were breaking synth-pop bands like Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

Haunted Hearts are not better than the sum of their separate bands’ parts, but Initiation is a fun record.  We anxiously await Crocodiles’ follow up to Crimes of Passion, but for now we’re happy to bask in the Welchez’ musical honeymoon.

 

The #5 Album On The Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™ Is Crocodiles’ “Crimes Of Passion”

Posted in Music with tags , , , on December 8, 2013 by johnbuckley100

We hadn’t actually heard the earlier Crocodiles albums, which meant we listened to Crimes Of Passion without the bias of some reviewers who had to establish their dissatisfaction with Crocodiles’ intense love of The Jesus and Mary Chain before they could admit how much fun this was.  Our reaction to the rock critters’ dismissal was, first, JAMC is not such a bad band to worship.  Second, on the magnificent Crimes Of Passion,  Crocodiles were amazingly heterodox, quoting everything from mid-Sixties’ Stones to the best contempo garage bands.  We have listened to this album weekly for months; it is absolutely great.

Or as we said then:

“Crimes Of Passion is so everlasting yummy we are willing to put it up on our current roster of California Hall of Famers including Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, and Mikal Cronin.  We can understand why there have been comparisons to the Jesus and Mary Chain, but while such references usually refer to a band fuzzing up a Velvets’n’Beach Boys sound, this reference is different: singer Brandon Welchez sounds a fair bit like Jim Reid, and in context, it does harken to JAMC at their most tuneful.

On Crimes of Passion, Crocodiles throw the Jesus and Mary Chain, Between The Buttons-era Stones, and the garage rock of the Fleshtones into a blender and the result is a Big Gulp smoothee of the best rock’n’roll of the year.  If you’re keeping score at home, this is a band to put money on, as the odds are great you’re going to be hearing about them again when the Tulip Frenzy jury goes into deliberations for our 2013 Top Ten List.  They’re that good.  And between Crimes of Passion and Capsula’s Solar Secrets, we’re reaching for our headphones and the SPF 50, hoping to extend the summer for a few more weeks.”

 

Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™ Shortlist Announced

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2013 by johnbuckley100

So we promised Magic Trick that we would wait for River Of Souls, out Tuesday, before locking the ballot box on the Tulip Frenzy 2013 Top Ten List ™.  We  will save them a spot on the shortlist, okay?  Below, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER are the bands in consideration.

At Tulip Frenzy World HQ, the horse trading, lobbying, and outright bribery are in full force.  We’ve cast a sideways glance at our competitors, and let us just say that this was one of the rare years in which we did not automatically scoff at the Uncut Top 50 list, and they did settle one thing for us:  yes, the Parquet Courts album is to be considered this year, even though it actually was released last November.  But no one listened to it until January 1, when we were all suddenly forced to grapple with a) 2013, and b) the Parquet Courts’ greatness.  But mbv as the Album of The Year?  Please, nice to have Kevin Shields back but it’s not really that good.  Still, could have been worse.

We should note that we are NOT considering the Bob Dylan 1969 Isle of Wight release, even though it finally came out this year, and even though it is simply amazing.  Why is it ruled out by the judges? Because we don’t think that’s right to knock a band in their prime out of consideration just because another incredible album fought its way out of the Dylan archives.  But here’s a pretty great set of bands/artists who will be considered:

Houndstooth

David Bowie

Kurt Vile

Phosphorescent

Crocodiles

Robyn Hitchcock

Parquet Courts

Thee Oh Sees

Kelley Stoltz

Magic Trick

Neko Case

Capsula

Deathfix

Secret Colours

Kevin Morby

Wire

First Communion Afterparty

Mikal Cronin

In consideration: 18 artists.  It’s going to be a long few days of wrangling in these here parts. Stay tuned.

 

Two New Albums By Capsula and Crocodiles Each Extend The Late Summer Rock’n’Roll Party

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2013 by johnbuckley100

We hadn’t been paying close enough attention to the happenings of one of our favorite bands, Capsula, to have gotten the word that Tony Visconti was producing their new album, Solar Secrets, which came out earlier this week.  What a great pairing!  Visconti, of course, is the producer of several of Bowie’s best albums, including this year’s The Next Day, and Capsula are such Bowie fans, last year they put out a note-perfect replica of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.  Now, unfortunately, we viewed that homage to Bowie as something of a misstep, an unfortunate career detour, but happily, with the excellent Solar Secrets, they are back on the strong form exhibited in 2011’s In The Land Of The Silver Souls, which we ranked as the #4 best album of the year, and which caused us to ask whether Capsula is the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.  Based on Solar Secrets, they are still in contention for such an honor, even if it is not as spectacular as 2006’s Songs & Circuits, which we consider perhaps the finest punk rock album of the Aughts.

If you don’t know Capsula, drink deep from this nutshell: An Argentine band that played animalistic punk rock while scratching at the tree of South American psychedelica, they moved to Bilbao a decade ago, viewing Europe as a better staging point for world domination.  Since then, they’ve only put out three of the most thrilling records of our age, which given the albums they put out in Buenos Aires prior to emigration, gives them, by our count, eight excellent long-players.  They’ve gone from singing in Spanish to singing in English, though on Solar Secrets, Visconti has them singing in Spanglish.  But even if you’re bilingual, you don’t listen to Capsula for the words — you listen to hear a band that sounds like the finest Cali punks from the ’80s occasionally dial up the rocket boosters to propel listeners into deep space.  This is not their very best album, but it is a great place to begin, if you’ve yet to get hip to their cross-Atlantic trip.

We’d missed the earlier records by the San Diego band Crocodiles, but oh brother, Crimes Of Passion is so everlasting yummy we are willing to put it up on our current roster of California Hall of Famers including Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, and Mikal Cronin.  We can understand why there have been comparisons to the Jesus and Mary Chain, but while such references usually refer to a band fuzzing up a Velvets’n’Beach Boys sound, this reference is different: singer Brandon Welchez sounds a fair bit like Jim Reid, and in context, it does harken to JAMC at their most tuneful.

On Crimes of Passion, Crocodiles throw the Jesus and Mary Chain, Between The Buttons-era Stones, and the garage rock of the Fleshtones into a blender and the result is a Big Gulp smoothee of the best rock’n’roll of the year.  If you’re keeping score at home, this is a band to put money on, as the odds are great you’re going to be hearing about them again when the Tulip Frenzy jury goes into deliberations for our 2013 Top Ten List.  They’re that good.  And between Crimes of Passion and Capsula’s Solar Secrets, we’re reaching for our headphones and the SPF 50, hoping to extend the summer for a few more weeks.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: