CROCODILES. Sebright Arms. 29th August 2013.

30 08 2013

 

 

Last September I saw Crocodiles live for the first time. I’d been a fan since 2009, and I had been waiting many years to see then live. Seeing them in a record store playing for just over 20 minutes wasn’t how I imagined it to be, but it was better than what I had previously- which was nothing. Go forward to just under a year and I finally get to see them in an environment I feel comfortable with.

Earlier in the day I briefly hung out with Brandon and Charlie in an alley for an interview. I’ll type it up later if my dictaphone picked anything up. I bought it off Amazon from a dodgy seller. I never learn.

Sebright Arms is a wonderful pub that was just made to have bands like Crocodiles perform. A small, dark room with enough space for you to move your body round in any way you wish. I sure as hell did. They opened with Sunday (Psychic Conversations #9.) Immediately they launched the crowd into a frenzy. 150 sweaty bodies had been waiting for this. I think secretly my girlfriend who came with me, had been waiting for this too.

When I saw them last year it was a little after their record, Endless Flowers had come out but they still played older songs such as I Wanna Kill and All My Hate And Hexes Are For You (personal favourite.) These songs weren’t played last night, but to be honest, I didn’t care. I just wanted to see them play as a full set. Was my mind blown? Hell yes. I was stood right by a speaker so my eardrums are fucked too. I can’t really hear anything properly yet. Everything sounds a bit fuzzy; the remains of the night before are stuck. I’ll cling until 2nd October where it will happen all over again.

Each member of Crocodiles leaves you wonderfully hypnotised. I was stood directly in front of Marco, and when he plays bass you cannot help but fall into a similar trance. His eyes are shut, as if he is another world. You don’t know if you are meant to follow him or to slightly veer into your own way. You’ll probably meet midway anyway. Maybe at the encore. Lose your shit kids. It’s the best way to have a good time. Then we have Robin on keys who pretty much lures you in as soon as she plays. Rocking back and forth, harmonising with Brandon. You can see the enthusiasm so clearly when she plays. I cannot stress enough just how inspiring they are to watch. Robert unleashes unruly fury on the drums; I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t have abrasions after playing. He may be the newest member, but the family unity they have is still as pure as it ever was. Charlie is without a doubt the best guitarist I’ve ever seen live. He does something truly mind-blowing on that stage. You cannot help but stare. From the way he flung some beer around as he was playing the guitar to his jolting movements whilst he annihilates the guitar. The force he plays with seems so effortless; he makes you wish you could play the guitar and created your own creepy sound. Brandon’s vocals are just perfect. His yelps during Sunday to the way he sings “R-E-F-U-S-E” on the song Refuse Angels just leaves you in awe. He throttles the mic stand with frustrated force. You can tell that for him, and the others that music is everything to them. And that’s why their music means everything to their fans.

What I loved about this show was the sheer diversity in the crowd. From old guys coming to the show on their own to the lost kids finally finding a home (like myself)- this show was one of my highlights of the year. They played a solid mixture of all four records. I sang my heart out to every song, I swayed and my hearing is  less than good right now. I had the best time ever. I’m not sure how to write a typical live review; all I can do is write about how the show made me feel and what I saw. I like to think I’ve sort of done that.

There were leaflets advertising their next London date which is on the 2nd October at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Tickets are only £10 and you can get them here: https://parallellines.ticketabc.com/events/crocodiles-2/ I cannot wait to feel this way again in October.

I’d also like to mention that Virals were incredible last night. They played for a little under half an hour I think, but it was enough for the crowd to know that Virals are a brutal talent. And you know what? My girlfriend who likes Michael Buble (I know..I know, but I see past it) turned to me and said she enjoyed Virals. She’s a good one, I know.

In short, Crocodiles blew my mind (and eardrums) last night. To see your favourite band live is beyond words; it reinforced a lot of things for me. Things that caused me to love them the first time round. Crocs are for sure, the best live band you’ll see. They put their all into it, and you return the favour by losing your mind.

Groove is in the heart kids, let it all out!





Crocodiles-Endless Flowers.

4 06 2012

“..and they have fallen in love with you.”

You don’t understand how much I have been wanting this record. You just don’t. If you did, I’d probably want us to be best friends so we can bond over this. Seriously, I feel like the wait for this record has gone on for what seems FOREVER. Although, forever doesn’t exist. It is just an illusion we present to others in order to give them hope or comfort. Truth be told, we are going to be left behind and we will all do the leaving at some point too. Cheerful mood tonight! (I’m not really in a shit mood, but I would like to go to  sleep right about now.)

Crocodiles are one of my favourite bands. You know it, they know it. I seriously cannot put into words how much I smiled (and most likely swore) when I saw Brandon had read what I wrote a few weeks ago. His kind words mean so much to me, and I carry them with me. When you can tell a band how much you love them, and they are so kind to you- that’s when you fully know your love for them goes beyond. I discovered Crocodiles in a heartbreaking haze and my desperate days were dragging. I listened to them, and all hope came back. No desperation, no longing for all that was metaphorically dead and gone. I found romanticism in the shit feelings I was carrying around. How I immediately felt towards Crocodiles is how I imagine many felt when they first heard The Jesus And Mary Chain. All the reverb and distortion that was soothing my ears and healing my heart made me kick my frustrations and love based hurt to the curb and move on. Always thank the ones who metaphorically break you- because you turn into a better person.

Summer Of Hate and Sleep Forever are two fantastic records that I hold with such high regard. Not just for the emotional attachment I have, but for how bloody brilliant they are. Are Brandon and Charles geniuses?! I think so. I bloody well think so. So, with two phenomenal records to their name- what on earth can they achieve with Endless Flowers?

Endless Flowers is surprise surprise, PERFECT. I’d never write a bad review. I don’t have it in me to do so. If it is bad, I leave it alone and never acknowledge. I love writing about something that is so passionate, dark yet hopeful. I love music that makes you feel like you are not here. I love music that just makes you come alive. I love music that makes you connect with it in a way that makes you want to have some kind of outburst and tell everyone about it. My thoughts on this record aren’t as important as some hipster twats perspective…obviously. They probably dig Crocodiles because they want to seem cool. I love the band because they truly saved me from hitting lower than rock bottom. But hey- this kind of love is never taken on board. It’s all about the ratings and what it sounds like. I’m not like that. I won’t compare the record, nor will I give it marks out of ten. All I’m going to do is attempt to write how amazing Endless Flowers is.

The album should be held up as one of the finest records of the year. It is perfectly perfect from start to finish. We live in a world where we seem to be content with anything that is half-arsed and made to just kill time, fill some space. Music is heading that way too. It breaks my heart, but it is happening. I guess this is why I adore bands like Crocodiles because they make brutal music that just makes you come alive. It mixes everything I love about music. There’s the big drums (similar to 60s girl groups), you have the  fuzzy guitars that just make your head so fucked up you cannot help but flail your limbs about. Then you have Brandon’s vocals which, as awfully clichéd as it sounds- his vocals on this record sound so powerful and so much stronger. His vocals aren’t as gritty as they were, but he still posses that raw vibe that caused me to fall in love with Crocodiles back in the summer of 2009.

My Surfing Lucifer makes you feel RIGHT. I think if Lester Bangs was alive, he’d really love this song. I believe he’d love Crocodiles. The song is so strange, and utterly wonderful. Much like the whole record. I think personally, my favourite track so far has to be No Black Clouds For Dee Dee. It is so beautiful, romantic and passionate. Every word is so delicately sung. It is like Brandon caresses every single word he sings. I also have fallen deeply in love with Dark Alleys. These two are joint favourites.

What I love about Crocodiles is that, they have this brilliant way of making you feel as if you are watching them rehearse. They have such a personal feel to their sound, as if it was only meant for you. That you are there witnessing them craft these sounds. A true basement band vibe going on. As much as I adore Summer Of Hate and Sleep Forever, with Endless Flowers- it just sounds like a huge leap. It sounds NOTHING like the first two, which is what I love in a band. To keep making music that sounds nothing like what they have done before. It is why I love bands like The Horrors, The Kills, Beach House etc. Every record just sounds entirely different, but at the same time reminds you why you fell in love with them. You fall in love with them a bit more when you hear something new. It is almost like it reaffirms your love for them.

The dark feel is alive and well in this record, but if you listen carefully you will hear some of the most beautiful lyrics you’ll hear in a long time. It is as intense as ever and so fucking raw. The bold but vulnerable songs just make you connect so much. Maybe you’ve just had your heart torn out and Crocodiles are your new discovery. If that’s the case, then I understand. I can only hope they do to you, what they do to me. It is just a perfect record from start to finish, I honestly cannot praise it enough. Fight the fury, and immerse yourself in something truly stunning.





Crocodiles.

15 05 2012

“I’m a stranger in the holy land,
But I keep my strangeness close at hand.”

 

I compare most (music based) things to how I felt the first time I ever heard Garbage, The Cure, The Smiths and The Jesus And Mary Chain. If I don’t feel slightly corrupted, violated or thrown into some kind of trance- then I hold no hope of ever being a fan. I need to feel something so strange, brutal and beautiful all at once when listening to a band, especially with music. I’d say I know what this makes me, but I really don’t. Aside from being weird, that’s all I can take from this. Then again, we cannot define “normal” because it is just a social ideal that doesn’t exist. It is there to make most of us hate ourselves. If you hate yourself a bit, then it’s okay. You know why? Because there’s probably more us that carry a touch of self-hate around than there are of us that actually like, let alone love ourselves. Feel the fury, feel the frustration. Maybe one day I’ll write a book. I won’t. That’s just another thing I’ll never do. So with this stale introduction to a band that are the opposite, I’m going to try put into words as to why I am in love with Crocodiles and have been for the past 3 and a half years.

It all started with feeling low. It started with feeling so low whilst in a shop that sold albums, and stuff. I was going through anything. Everything. To find an album that could possibly get rid of this feeling. You know the feeling, the “love of your life” ends things with you for the final time and you get summoned back to your mother’s because she thinks you’ll go off the rails. Thing is, as fucked up as I felt inside- I did pretty damn well. I turned to music, and let it do the healing. I bought two records that day. One by Cold Cave, the other by Crocodiles. I’d heard of both bands before- and the artwork to both records drew me in. Simply powerful. I went home and played them. Whatever took me over that day made me feel better than anything else possibly could. They say you don’t forget your first love. I say in time, you forget certain things. Or you do the wise thing and don’t ever think about it because clinging onto the past will harm you in so many ways. I don’t understand people who cling onto the past you know? You get your heart broken, you get on with life. I managed to do that when I bought these two records. Both records allowed me to free myself from this cloud of misery I thought would stay with me forever. Basically, I grew up.

 

I found something in Crocodiles that I reckon those who were around when The Jesus And Mary Chain first started found. That feeling of, being sucked into something so dark and sinister- it gives you comfort. As person, you are told to never feel anything dark. Hell, most would rid us of emotions if they could. With Crocodiles (and TJAMC) they just sucked me into this world of all things dark. I wanted to do nothing but listen to them all the time. I’d walk to work, play Crocodiles. I’d go to the gym, play Crocodiles. Read, play Crocodiles. They weren’t just part of a healing process I had to drag myself through, but they showed me a world I could create that no one could ever touch. They opened a part of me up that was so fucking reserved and miserable They killed that part of me, and helped me become the person I probably should’ve been much sooner. Things take time.

I’m fully aware that I’ve gone disgustingly personal with this, but you’ll never meet me probably. Anyone who knows me will never read this. You’ve already made up your mind. If you think I’m an ass, you may be right. You may be wrong. We all have good days, we all have bad days. I may dress in all black and look like a moody bitch. Truth is, I laugh at most things. Mainly myself though. Pay people no mind. What’s the point. Through being a fan of Crocodiles, I learnt to stop caring what a person thinks about me. I learnt that I have to do things my way. Music sets parts of you free that people try to restrain. I’m not one for actually listening to what I’m told to do. I rarely ask for advice. If I’m going to fuck up, I’m doing it on my own. I am not taking anyone down with me.

Summer Of Hate gave me this confidence and belief to carry on. I’d just finished Uni and, I had no idea what to do with my life. I graduated 3 years ago, and I think I’m sure of what I want to do. It’s just making it happen, which is proving to be a pain in every part of me. I’m tougher than I think, so I won’t give up. Move on a year later, and Sleep Forever comes out. The exact same feelings hit me again. Creepy vibes and sinister trances. I think it was obvious by this point that Crocodiles were becoming more than just a band to me. The romanticism in their music gives me hope. They talk about life and love the way not many of us see it. Which is why I love them so much; they say everything I feel without me having to open my mouth. I only open my mouth to sing along. I remember hearing Mirrors, and even now it still gives me such a euphoric feeling. That feeling of knowing, you can amount to something. That what you’re doing is right- so fuck anything and anyone who tries to tell you no, and that you ain’t worth shit. Girl In Black is one of my favourite love songs ever. I’m going to put it right next to Lovesong by The Cure. It is THAT heartfelt and honest. The longing in Brandon’s voice is so beautiful. You also hear a wonderful sense of poetry that is greeted with so much sensitivity in the song, Sleep Forever : “I will love you til the sky above you. Shatters over you and me. And lays us down to sleep forever.” That is what REAL and unconditional love is. We should never fear feeling it or giving it out.

 

Writing this is easy, which is probably why it may not read so well. I’m putting most of what I have right now into this. I’m not sure why. Sleep Forever is much darker than Summer Of Hate. The lyrical content is quite ghoulish. The music compliments the desperation in Brandon’s voice so beautifully. You feel traumatised, you feel as if you are about to tip over the edge- and for some, this is a daunting thing to feel. The best thing you can do when you are faced with any fear, is to just kick it right in the face. Face it head on, and make it your bitch. Simple. Although, it can be easier said than done.

Real soon, their third record is going to come out- Endless Flowers. I honestly cannot tell you how excited I am for this. I am ready for what they have to offer. You see, Crocodiles are another sacred band of mine. I don’t have any friends that listen to them at all. I don’t know if I could listen to them with anyone, I’d probably be a bit hurt if they didn’t connect to them like I do. You cannot please everyone, and I stopped trying a long time ago to do so. Crocodiles are one of the very few bands that helped me toughen up a bit. I should probably feel like an idiot for being this open. Whatever. Crocodiles are worth it. Oh, and they fully fuel (and justify) my love for bands from California.

There are so many things that drew me in to Crocodiles. They have this amazing 60s girl group feel in their production. Then you have this wonderful merge of something reverby and psychedelic going. They just combine everything I love about music, and make something that blows my mind with every single listen. I’d call it soulful too. What Crocodiles mean to me is exactly what Dum Dum Girls mean to me, what The Kills mean to me and what Warpaint mean to me. All have created sounds that make you so glad to be alive. Sure the music can get dark, but through the dark you always find hope. And when you find hope, you MUST..you MUST hold onto it.

Give the people hell, and smile.