Release Date: Apr 28, 2009
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Even without "Neon Jesus" -- the single that garnered Crocodiles quite a bit of web attention just before this release -- Summer of Hate stands strong as a tremendous debut: one that pays heavy tribute to its influences while never seeming overly derivative. Crocodiles' band name, which references Echo & the Bunnymen's 1980 album, is a telling clue that Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez are well-versed in neo-psychedelia, British post-punk, and noise pop. The crunchy guitars bring to mind Spacemen 3, the tremolo keyboards and drum machines show reflections of Suicide, and the production style of cavernous vocals masked by sheets of white noise comes straight out of the Jesus and Mary Chain handbook.
I bet Crocodiles wish their buddies No Age never mentioned their name in a Stereogum piece about the best songs of 2008. The drone-punk two-piece christened the Crocodiles song “Neon Jesus” as their personal fave and instantly, albeit temporarily, catapulted the group into this exalted status of the next band to watch. And all this happened before the release of their debut, Summer of Hate, in April when the backlash machine was already in full-swing.
It's hard to understand Crocodiles' artistic intent behind a song like "I Wanna Kill". A sufficiently catchy rock number that's found the San Diego-based duo some internet love, the song blatantly steals from, among other classic pop tunes, the Jesus and Mary Chain's 1989 semi-hit "Head On". And I don't mean that bandmembers Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez were just influenced or inspired by the JAMC track, but that they've actually photocopied its melody and plopped it into their own song.
Lately lo-fi has become the equivalent of distressed jeans. Where once it was an artifact of things like poverty, unfamiliarity with recording equipment and the mental instability that comes with not getting out much, now it’s just another fashion statement. It’s a signifier, an extra layer and, all too often, a way to hide substandard songs. There are probably textile workers in Guatemala who will run your CD-R through an acid bath for a couple of dollars, and it’ll sound just like Wavves.
CIARA“Fantasy Ride”(LaFace/Zomba) There’s nothing solid about Ciara, the sinewy Atlanta R&B singer whose whisper has floated above and dripped onto some of the most crooked soul music of the last five years. Invariably, though, those songs were more emphatic than Ciara is. Like liquid — or better, gas — she merely fit her singing to the container provided.