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Indie rock outfit Crocodiles return, fusing vintage rock and post-punk elements in their latest album, Upside Down In Heaven. Accompanying the album announcement is a televangelist-inspired music video for the title track, showcasing the band’s light-hearted embracing of the light of the lord — or the lord of darkness.
Sounding like a combination of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Stiv Bators, The Archies, and Tommy James & The Shondells, this effervescent garage-meets-new wave track is a light and airy offering, perfectly timed for Easter.
“Maybe I was chasing that elusive Stiff records sound or simply trying something that would make Westerberg smile,” muses Charles Rowell. “Either way it’s pure pop for heads who appreciate lyrics and melody. It’s a little sad but triumphant and true. If you’ve ever felt like you’re a little too far from home, like you’ve chased the dream until it’s turned into a nightmare, then here’s another song burning with regret and wasted wisdom.”
The Sam Macon-directed and Eric Arsnow-edited video has a very specific feeling of an early Sunday afternoon in the late 80s, channel surfing and accidentally landing on a televangelist sermon. With picture-perfect Jim Bakker glasses and the fiery intensity of Robert Tilton, the erstwhile ecclesiastic flails fire and brimstone as an angel and devil duke it out on his shoulders. The congregation dances exaltedly; speaking in tongues and shouting their ‘Amens’ as he wrestles with his own conscious. It’s a delightfully camp passion play – complete with toll-free numbers for salvation – and a nostalgic surprise at the beginning.
“We were very excited to get the opportunity to work with our old friend, the very talented Sam Macon, on this new video,” says Brandon Welchez. “He directed two of our videos in the past, but more than a decade had passed since we collaborated…The challenge was that I’m in LA and Charlie is in Paris, so we needed to figure out a clever idea we could shoot without being in the same place. Sam helped us polish the idea and directed me in person in LA and Charlie over zoom. With some green screens and clever editing we got what we needed!”
Watch the video below:
Crocodiles was formed in 2008 by core members Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell after the break-up of their former punk bands Some Girls and The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower.
They spent the next five years traversing the USA, playing every backwoods dump that would have them, meeting and inspiring other like-minded freaks and occasionally getting the shit kicked out of them by feral rednecks,” Russell Cash reminisces. “Eventually The Plot imploded in a cloud of poverty and addiction.”
After the debris settled, Charlie and Brandon dedicated themselves to honing their songcraft and cycling through different band members and monikers until they came to the realization that it was time to streamline their operation – namely, making good use of a worn-out drum machine. This led to the creation of the collection of tracks that would become Crocodiles’ groundbreaking debut, the spaced-out and raw noise-pop masterpiece “Summer of Hate.”
As we hurtle forward 15 years into the dystopian future of 2023, we find ourselves entangled in an abyssal wasteland. The fundamental duo has since undergone various mutations. They unleashed seven full-length opuses, innumerable EPs, and singles and hit the road non-stop, bringing their unparalleled rock-n-roll aesthetic to fervent enthusiasts all over the world. Despite the seismic shifts, Brandon and Charlie have always clung to their youthful ambition of breaking away from the tedium, monotony, and societal demands by means of their art, music, brotherhood, and escapades.
After an extended hiatus, Crocodiles finally regrouped at Quiksilver Studios in St. Jean de Luz, France, in the autumn of 2021 to lay down tracks for their latest LP, “Upside Down in Heaven.” Production duties were entrusted to Maxime Smadja (Rixe, Boss), who added characteristic grime to the mix. Joining in the revelry were Atef Aouadhi and Diego Dal Bon on bass and drums, respectively.
In typical Crocodilian fashion, the album zig-zags cohesively from one style to the next. There are straight-up punk-pop anthems (Love Beyond The Grave), mutant garage-rock (Surfing With Death), infectious fuzz-pop (Forever Walk Alone), dance-floor-ready bangers (Deadbeat), and even hardcore death-rock (Rock & Roll Graveyard). The songs are direct, cut to the chase and leave listeners thirsting for more.
Catch Crocodiles on tour in support of the new album. Tickets are on sale here.
- Wed 4/19 – Tijuana, Mexico – Mous Tache
- Thurs 4/20 – San Diego, CA – Whistle Stop
- Fri 4/21 – Las Vegas, NV – Artifice
- Sat 4/22 – Los Angeles, CA – Moroccan Lounge
- Sun 4/23 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe Du Nord
- Tues 4/25 – Phoenix, AZ – The Dirty Drummer Free Show
- Thurs 4/27 – Denver, CO – Skylark Lounge
- Sat 4/29 – St Louis, MO – Pop’s
- Sun 4/30 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
- Mon 5/1 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen
- Tues 5/2 – Detroit, MI – Lager House
- Wed 5/3 – Pittsburgh, PA – Spirit
- Thurs 5/4 – NY, NY – Mercury Lounge
- Fri 5/5 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
- Sat 5/6 – Washington DC – Pie Shop Evening Show
- Sat 5/6 – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery Matinee Show
- Sun 5/7 – Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub
- Mon 5/8 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone
- Tues 5/9 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada
- Thurs 5/11 – Austin, TX – Ballroom at Spider House
- Sat 5/13 – Tucson, AZ – Hotel Congress
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