CROCODILES. Soup Kitchen, Manchester 17th May 2019.

21 05 2019

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How do you write about a band that you have seen 11 times live without repeating yourself? Who cares! Friday night was my 11th time seeing my buddies, Crocodiles and they played my absolute favourite venue in Manchester- the Soup Kitchen. It’s a sweaty and dark basement venue; just how it should be.

End of April 2009, Crocodiles released their debut record. A record I bought by accident on the day it came out and since then, I’ve just fallen in love with everything they’ve done since. Every record has blown me away, and every show has done the same.

However, there is something truly special about their shows in Manchester that stand out. This was my 3rd time seeing them in Manchester, and I just love how you can see how much this beautiful city means to Brandon and Charlie. There was even a nod to local hero, Pete Shelley with their Buzzcocks cover which I’m sure he would have been proud of.

I stood directly in front of Charlie, and was in awe of his pedal set-up. It’s a piece of art, and he swings his guitar around like a machine gun whilst looking like a young Scott Walker. Brandon and Charlie have this way of just changing how you feel about their music when you see them live, and it is always a wonderful thing to witness. They are just of the most talented people I’ve ever met, and they just put their all into their shows.

 

You can’t help but shift your eyes across the stage to watch them all annihilate the stage. Brandon sings with this passion that is just astounding, and Charlie matches it with his effortlessly cool way of using his guitar as a weapon. As cliched as it is, they are just the coolest cats around, and it just shines through perfectly in their songs and their live shows.

The energy in the crowd is typical of a Manchester crowd, and just an absolute pleasure to be part of. The love that Crocodiles have for this city is just admirable, and something us fans here truly treasure. They feed off the crowd, and this crowd were reciprocating it. 10 years in, and they are still making music to lose your shit to. Songs like I Wanna Kill and Marquis De Sade, and new songs such as Exit My Head come more alive. I can’t ever get enough of hearing I Wanna Kill, and the crowd are the same. It’s one of those songs that just do something to you, and once you hear it. It’s an anthem.

Crocodiles are a band that you just don’t ever get tired of listening to, and watching. They have this way of just making you forget the real world for the time they are on stage. They make you want to start a band, they make you want to always be in the moment of being at a live show. As a fan, this is what I absolutely adore about music and how powerful it is. Also, Brandon and I had Bad Brains shirts on which anyone else would regard as a wardrobe clash. However for this, it’s just two people who love one of the best bands ever!

There’s a good balance of songs from all of their records, and sure I’d want them to play all of them but hey- that’s too much, I know! This was my first time seeing them on my own, and as someone who suffers with depression and anxiety I full on prepared myself to have some form of panic attack. I was wrong, I just felt totally safe at this show. Trivial I know, but small things like this help. Anyway, smushy stuff aside- it was just a brilliant show.

 

They are a band that just need to be seen live. Their live shows allow you to see even moreso just how fantastic they are. If I could, I’d see them on every tour at every date. But shows like Friday’s in Manchester are treasured dearly.

Crocodiles new record, Love Is Here is out now and they have 2 more UK dates left before a couple of shows in Paris this week.

 

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CROCODILES: Love Is Here.

10 02 2019

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One thing I really enjoy is writing about my buddies, Crocodiles. With every record they just reinforce my love for them, and their ability to constantly evolve their sound and always take themselves out a safe zone when making music. I think April this year sees the 10 year anniversary of their debut record, and the 7 records they have put out in a decade have all been masterpieces in their own way. Now it is the turn of Love Is Here to be adored in all its glory.

I don’t want to write this in order of the songs, because I’ve a lot to say about one songs in particular- My Far Out Friend. On every record by Crocodiles, they always have this one song that hits you right in the gut and takes you away from where you are. They always have this one song that sends you off into a euphoric bliss that nothing else can touch. My Far Out Friend is easily now in my top 5 songs by them (it’s always changing, of course but this one is something else.) I absolutely adore Brandon’s vocals on this song. I love how his vocals on this are as dreamy as the music. It has this gorgeous psychedelic feel, and there are two moments in the song where there’s this little drum roll that goes into a beautiful instrumental. It makes you feel like you are floating, and Brandon’s vocals come back in like they are guiding you through the clouds. This is truly one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, and it’s one I keep going back to. It’s such a gorgeous and ethereal piece of music. The second instrumental part is slightly heavier, and wraps up this work of art so beautifully. My Far Out Friend is THAT song that you close your eyes to, and just zone out.

Last year, I was sent a copy of the record and it just blew me away. Aside from My Far Out Friend, the other song that blew my mind was I Was A Fly. It reminded me of something The Cramps would do. I love the weirdness in the song and there are bits of the music that remind me of something else, and it’s driving me mad that I cannot remember it. It’ll come to me, probably in my sleep. Typical. It’s a real gritty song that you can imagine hearing in dimly lit basement bars.

The record opens with the face-smacking Nuclear Love, and goes right into the wonderfully decadent Exit My Head. Both of these songs are reasons as to why Crocodiles are clearly just the best, and sure I may be biased but that’s what 10 years of being a fan does. I love hearing how they have pushed themselves with each record, and these two songs definitely show this. The songs are heavier on this record compared to Dreamless- but there’s really no point in ever comparing any of their records to each other to be honest. Crocodiles are a band that make you excited about music, and always leave you wondering what they are going to do next. I hope they release Exit My Head as a single because there is something about this song that oozes smut and beauty. I adore this song a hell of lot. The lyrics are brilliant, and I think it’s one everyone can relate to or has related to at some point, In some ways, it reminds me of Henry Miller meets Lou Reed then goes for a drink with Hubert Selby, Jr. It’s just a great song!

Love Is Here (The End Is Near) is a real Punk sounding song. It’s got that pogo feel to it, and I really hope that when they play this life that the crowd go apeshit. They’ve got many songs that make their fans go batshit when they play them (for me, it’s always Refuse Angels) and Love Is Here has got to be one of them that just spur the crowd on to just go insane to this song.

Rats d’Amour and Voyeur Under Glass make you feel like you are roaming a city like Paris late at night with a feeling to cause some trouble (nothing sinister obviously) or just watch the world go by. Voyeur Under Glass has a slight Reggae feel to the guitar which I love so much, and I love the bass so much on this one. Something you really notice on this record is just how ahead Brandon and Charlie are with their sound. I’ve noticed it on their other records, but there is something about Love Is Here that, although you know it is them- there is something about this record that is ahead of its time. The production and the whole sound on this record is nothing short of perfect. You can truly hear the dedication and passion in this record, and it is honestly a flawless piece of art.

Basically, this is just a declaration of love not a review. I can’t write reviews anyway. In short, Love Is Here is the record we absolutely need. It’s most certainly the record I need. And yes, it is my record of the year- I think that’s pretty obvious.

Get yourself a copy from their bandcamp page, and play it loud!

VIVA CROCODILES!





CROCODILES:Wait Until Tomorrow.

14 01 2019

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There’s nothing better than your favourite band putting out new music, and writing about it. It’s common knowledge that I regard Crocodiles as highly as the Velvet Underground, The Gruesomes and Patti Smith. There is something about Crocodiles that just makes you absolutely love music and want to completely lose yourself in what you hear. This year, it’ll be 10 years since their debut record came out. I remember finding it by accident, and it just changing my life in the best way possible.

10 years on, and my love and respect for them is still massive. Where do you go after a decade? Well, for Brandon and Charlie, they just do what they do best- they absolutely excel with every record, every single, every tour. They’re a band that are consistently phenomenal but at the same time, you never know what you’re going to get from them. From their cover of Groove Is In The Heart to Me And My Machine Gun to Hard- they just have this brilliant ability to make you feel like you’re in 70s New York hanging round places others fear, but for you the smut and sordidness is what gets you through.

Wait Until Tomorrow is such a great song. The guitar is really ferocious, and Brandon’s vocals have never sounded so strong. There is something so distinctive about them, and that’s what makes them standout. They are an unforgettable band, but they are still hugely underrated. They are easily one of the best bands you’ll ever see; their energy and the way they bring their songs to life just makes you wish you could do it. They are a band that you just don’t get tired of seeing and listening to. The lyrics are again, nothing short of romantic imagery and makes you feel like you’re wandering round Baudelaire’s Paris.

I love how they have a cult-like following. There’s something about their music that appeals to damn near everyone. Even my mum loves them! (My mum is pretty cool though, so that explains why.) Their new single picks up where Dreamless left off. They always have this brilliant way of making each record sound a step-up from what has come before, and it’s so easy to see why I just love them so much. I can’t wait to see the new songs live.

 

 

So I’ve not really wrote about the single. It’s alright. I’ve just gone on about why I love them, and how excited I am to hear new music. It’s been a little over 2 years since Dreamless came out, and they are easily one of the most hardworking bands around- but don’t think for a minute they were doing nothing in that time! Wait Until Tomorrow could well be one of the strongest singles of the year, and I am pretty confident that the new record will be my favourite of the year. I doubt I’ll sway on that one.

Wait Until Tomorrow is a song that needs to be played really loud. Loud enough to make your neighbours fall in love with what they hear. There really aren’t that many bands who have this consistent feel to their music- you always know that whatever music Brandon and Charlie give us will always be absolutely mind-blowing. We all have a band that mean the world to us- it doesn’t matter if it’s a band that you found last week or 20 years ago. Time makes no difference, and Crocodiles are utterly timeless.

Fellow Croc-Heads, the band are heading out on a European tour next month. Pretty sure they’ll add more dates soon enough (I need a Manchester show!) and we’ll know more about the new record soon.

In the meantime, keep Wait Until Tomorrow on repeat. It’s out via one of France’s finest labels- Deaf Rock Records.

 

 





…vs My Brain

9 05 2017

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With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, I guess now is a good a time as any to ramble on about my past year. In fact, it was probably longer than a year- I just put off dealing with whatever my brain was telling me, and not telling me.

Last October I think I pretty much had my very own breakdown. It was at 2/3am. I remember sitting on my bed in some weird position crying, having a panic attack after panic attack. I was at war with my head. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t switch off. Nothing maintained my attention. I was starting to worry about myself. Prior, I just didn’t care. I went to the doctor and after a few minutes I was told to do a self-referral for treatment. I put this off for a few weeks, then stopped being a stubborn dick and did it.

Now I care more than I did. I went to the doctor a second time earlier this year, as my referral for CBT was going to be some time- the second stage of it. I made no improvements with the first lot. Labelled as having severe anxiety and mild depression. Labels are for foodstuffs- I’m not for consumption. Things shouldn’t define a person, just like their actions always shouldn’t. In this case, I wasn’t going to let this be something that ruled who I was and my life- enough was enough. I went to my doctor. She looked at me and asked how she could help. I cried. I broke down like a child and cried. I said “I can’t cope.” Finally admitting to myself that I couldn’t hack whatever was going on in my head.

As someone who can’t take paracetamol without assuming the worse, I had to resign myself to the fact that at this stage- I probably needed something other than talking. I agreed to take medication. Since starting the medication in late February, I am pretty sure that every side effect I had (I had them all) has been worth it. I’d rather have continuous dry mouth than have another fucking panic attack. The side effects have virtually gone. I do have days where I get this really bad pain in my stomach or the occasional headache, but I’d take that over how I was and what I was putting myself through. Or rather, what my brain was putting me through. I had my assessment for my second stage of CBT. I was being asked questions that weren’t relevant and being asked to focus on things that I really don’t need to. I felt as if I had to say what they wanted, and I didn’t want to be made to bring things up that don’t need to be. So I discharged myself. I decided rather than waste their time (and mine) I would give up my place for someone else who needs it more than me. I tried, and for me, that’s the main thing. But it just wasn’t for me.

Everyone bangs on about it, but support is key. I’ve got a handful of people that I know have my back and are there for me. Just like I am there for them. It also helps having a girlfriend who has a similar shit sleeping pattern so I have someone at 1am when I can’t sleep and everything seems too much. She’s my rock, and I try my hardest to be hers.

Music has been a massive help for me. We went to see Banks in March, and for me I think that was the point where I solidly felt okay. At one point going to gigs was just overwhelming. Going to work was overwhelming. Not because I hate my job or anything like that- far from it. But the effort of having to get out of bed and the overwhelming feeling of being on a packed train. My brain was slowly failing me. Or maybe I was failing myself for not taking better care. Music has been my other rock. Certain songs (which I’ll link below) have played a massive part in my brain healing and keeping me calm. I go the gym during the week after work to allow myself to take care of my body as well as my mind.

My bad days now don’t feel near as half as bad as they once were. I don’t have to fake being alright because I genuinely feel just fine at the moment. I’m not thinking long-term because that shit is scary. If I can get through one day without feeling terrible, I’m fine. My last panic attack was on the 2nd March. It’s been two months. I still feel a little shitty at times and certain things at the moment are fucking tough but, you can’t control everything.

I am not brave, I am not tough. All I did was reach breaking point. All I did was let myself get worse before I realised something needed to be done.

I’m alright. I’m happy with that. I’m alright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





“Between the cities, between the thrills. There’s something inside you, it doesn’t sleep well.”

22 12 2016

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“It won’t last forever
Or maybe it will.”

 

A few months ago I went to the doctor because I felt like shit. Shit is the only word I can use, I guess. Although I don’t think it covers it. I told him everything I felt and he said “depression and anxiety.” You can’t even make it sound good. You know, at least if you have a cold your voice gets a bit husky and suddenly people want you to talk more. But anxiety and depression? You might as well say you’ve got something not mentioning. For me, I’m conflicted. Part of me is sort of glad I know what’s wrong with me but the other part wants it gone. I’ve been told it gets better but right now, no part of me sees that. I have more bad days than good.

Last Friday I had 5 panic attacks in under 2 and a bit hours. I’d have much preferred someone to have punched me in the face for 2 hours. It would have hurt less. The aftermath of a panic attack for me is equally as bad as having one. I get a migraine straight away but with a normal migraine, the  pain is less tense and the nausea that comes with it I can sort of tame. After a panic attack, the migraine just doesn’t go. It’s a constant stabbing sensation in my head and the feeling of being sick stays. It’s debilitating and exhausting.
The thing with depression and anxiety is that no one sees it. No one can see someone is mentally unwell. They don’t see someone who has to set an alarm half an hour before they need to be up so they actually get up and go to work. They don’t see how everyday small things can set a person off. And that’s okay. Imagine if we could see it. It would be useful but as someone who hates any form of attention, I’d probably be worse. Most days I just want to stay in bed. I don’t want to see or speak to anyone. It used to be passed off by others as me being “difficult” or “unsociable.” I’m neither of these things. Although sometimes you do just want to tell people to piss off don’t you. But I think that’s just human nature.
There are parts of you that feel, “what if no one believes me?” I’m stuck with that constantly. I feel because I can force a smile at times and laugh- maybe I don’t have these things. Maybe it’s not real. It comes and goes. I don’t always feel shit, but I do and I think that’s okay. I’ve learnt to try find a safe space wherever I am. As I live in a stupidly big city, it’s hard to find any form of peace. For me, the gym is my safe space. I used to go because I hated being fat and hated my body. I still do, but now it’s to keep my mind clear as best as I can. Going to gigs used to be my safety net but the last gig I went to, I had a panic attack and had to leave. This was a month ago and since, I’ve missed a handful of gigs because I can’t set my mind free.
Like some, music is my safety net. Certain bands/singers voices and music take away how overbearing and how overwhelming this feeling is. Certain bands have become my safety net, my safe space for when I can’t physically get somewhere.
From the rowdiness of Melvins to the calming sounds of Beach House, certain songs take whatever is happening away. But not all the time. Sometimes it’s just no use- and that’s okay.
I’ve chosen a couple of songs that have been vital in calming me down and being my crutch whenever I’ve needed. The songs that store my sanity but as yet, don’t have the power to keep everything at bay. But that’s fine. I’ve experienced understanding and a lack of understanding through all this. I’ve started CBT and apparently that will work. As someone who has a dislike for things like that, it’s tough. My mind is open. Ironically, I had 2 panic attacks whilst on my way to my first session so that was a great experience. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. I don’t know- nobody does. And that’s okay.
Anyway, enough of the self-indulgent bullshit. Have some songs:

 

 





CROCODILES: Night And Day Cafe. 14th October 2016

16 10 2016


I feel I use my holiday allowance from work wisely-to go see bands. Sure I could save up and have a proper holiday, but seeing as my passport has just ran out and I don’t have the money to renew it, I go for sensible options such as going to different cities here to see my favourite bands. Friday night was no exception.

It’s not a lot, but Friday was my tenth time seeing Crocodiles. From finding their debut record by accident to this. I can’t think of any other band I could admire and respect as much as this. Easily the hardest working and most dedicated bunch of people I’ve ever met, and it truly comes through in their music, and in their shows.

This Friday (21st) sees the release of their new record, Dreamless. It picks up where Boys left off and takes you into another direction, again. The fact that none of their records sound the same makes them easy to just love and never shy away from having them on repeat. Their live shows are addictive and I think a lot of the time it can be to do with the crowd. I’ve seen them mainly in London but I’ve always found Manchester crowds to be the best. Not just for their shows, but in general. Night And Day is the perfect place to see Crocodiles. It’s just the right size and the atmosphere is how you imagine it should be when you see a band you love. I marked the occasion by, when leaving the venue, taking the poster of the gig from a board outside. I’ll get a frame for it, because I’m that sentimental.

The set is a solid mix of all albums. All of them make you leave the show feeling as if you should pick up an instrument and make your own noise. If you watch Charlie and you leave not wanting to play the guitar, then you missed the point entirely. They’re the band you need to see when everything seems a bit askew. Songs from the new record sound amazing live, and for purely personal reasons my highlight was Telepathic Lover. It’s not only my favourite song of the year but when I first heard it a few months ago, I knew instantly that it was my favourite song by them. The lyrics are ones I hold very close to me and helped with a lot upon hearing it. I owe them for that.

Songs like I Wanna Kill and Neon Jesus are always a pleasure to see live. Mirrors always unleashes a gentle but stirring rage inside.But for me, it’s their cover of Jet Boy Jet Girl that does it. Accompanied with an intro by Charlie, “this is from 1970 fuck you.” 

And just like that, it’s all over. Here’s to another ten shows and beyond. If someone told me to pick just one band to see live for the rest of time, I would easily pick Crocodiles. There’s something about them that makes me feel like I’m not in this lifetime. I love watching each of them on stage because each of them have this magnetic quality about them. They make it all look so easy. So effortlessly cool, it’s like Lou Reed has come back to life with Joey Ramone in tow. They take everything I love about music and make something that I’ve never heard before. As they take us on a journey through each of their records, you can’t help but wonder why they are so underrated? I have no idea why but it’s obvious how hard-working they are, and how loved they are by those at the show.

As mentioned, Dreamless is out this Friday. Buy it, learn the words and I’ll see you at the front.





CROCODILES: Dreamless.

5 10 2016

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“If you want somewhere to run to, and if you want someone to tell you the truth- go look out your window, baby.”

I’ve got a handful of things in life that make me truly happy. The obvious one being music. However, getting to write about a band who I adore (they’re not just a band, I’m lucky enough to class them as friends.) Writing about a band you love when they’re about to release something truly beautiful, well, that’s another great feeling entirely. I’ve had a copy of Dreamless by Crocodiles since May. I was given it at a point where I needed something, and I got it instantly from Dreamless. Hopefully when you hear it, you’ll get what I mean. I know I like to take apart each song when writing about a record, but I’m getting by on not much sleep at the moment so it probably won’t start or end well.

It’s so obvious how much I love Crocodiles music. From the moment I picked up their first record based on the artwork to fast forwarding to now, writing about Dreamless. Summer Of Hate and Sleep Forever had this amazing aggressive sound. Effortlessly menacing that left you wanting more. Endless Flowers took this menacing sound and mixed it with something so delicate which fully bloomed (pardon the pun) on Crimes Of Passion. Boys flirted with all their previous records- so what is left for them to do with Dreamless? Oh dear reader, they are just getting started.

I’ve looked through the records I own and also the music I haver stored on my laptop, and I can easily reel off the names of bands who much like Crocodiles change with every record. These are the kinds of bands that make you want to make your own, the kind that keep your attention constantly. Bands like The Kills and back to the likes of Captain Beefheart, Ramones, Patti, Morrissey- I could go on. And on. These are the ones who are gloriously fearless and can make each record sound as if they are a brand new band but still maintain a style that makes them tower above others. Crocodiles do it with every record. Dreamless is no exception. Although record in Mexico City, it sounds like it was born out a damp ridden apartment in Berlin circa early 70s. They’ve always given me that feeling, and for me- that’s how I want something to sound. I want it to take me somewhere I have physically yet to go, but mentally I am always there.

The record opens with Telepathic Lover, which consists of my favourite lyrics to any song I’ve heard all year. When I played it for the first time, it blew my mind. I felt this, massive connection to the lyrics, and they have been the backbone to a lot of thoughts I’ve had this year and god knows what else I’ve carried. “Telepathic Lover, please don’t look into my mind. Telepathic lover, you won’t like what you find.” Hands down my favourite lyrics of the year and probably my favourite by them, ever. There are so many songs by them I could list as being my favourite or what have you, but this one has something that just leaves me in awe of them. This is the one I keep going back to. It’s like meeting someone who really gets you.

Time To Kill has some gorgeous words to, and is beautifully sung. Brandon’s voice sounds like a gentle whisper on this one, and it makes the words echo more in your ears, and brain. It’s got a haunting sound to it, and this eerie tone lures you in. You feel secure but slightly scared all at once. Aside from the whole damn record being a work of glorious art and me obsessing over Telepathic Lover- you should know that Jumping On Angels is also one of the finest moments on the record. If this makes their live shows (I can only hope it does) then I’m pretty sure it’ll make the song sound greater than it already is. What I love about this record, is that the lyrics really make you think. I’ve spent a lot of time going back and forth over songs I love and finding lyrics that I love, and lyrics that mean something. With this record, Crocodiles have again made something that just makes you think and see things differently. They challenge themselves and the listener with every record, and that alone is a reason to completely love and respect them. Produced once again by Martin Thulin, it’s really no surprise that this is probably the best record you’ll hear all year.

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Welcome To Hell has this groove to it that makes you want to dance, but when you delve into the lyrics- you’ll again, see just how brilliant they are at writing songs that just make you take your mind elsewhere. Welcome To Hell makes you feel like you’ve wound up in a fight in the middle of some dodgy bar, and as you stumble home, the trouble just doesn’t leave you be. You just need to get yourself home and shut off.Welcome To Hell also has the brilliant line, “I never should have been a Peeping Tom.” Wonderfully perverse, in the best way. I’m Sick has this way of making you feel less alone with burden of self you can carry around at times. An easy song to relate to- listen to it and don’t be too tough on yourself.

I guess it shows at times I never re-read anything I’ve written, and I know I’ve probably missed out so much. I know I could have said so much more about Dreamless and how stunning it is. But, if you’re already a fan of Crocodiles then you’ll already know what to expect. You’ll already know that with every record, they blow your mind and do something to just make you love them even more. Songs like Go Now are perfect to play when you need some quiet time to get it together.

Crocodiles are currently on tour in Europe and will be coming over to the UK within the next few days. I’m skipping the London date and going to Manchester instead. You can’t miss seeing your favourite band at one of your favourite places, can you?!

Come out and see them at any of the following dates. Dreamless will be released on 21st October on Zoo Music.

1th October 2016 – Leeds Headrow House
13th October 2016 – Glasgow Broadcast
14th October 2016 – Manchester Night and Day
15th October 2016 – London Hackney Wonderland