Saturday, December 24, 2011


Crocodiles - Summer of Hate 2010

The Crocodiles debut record sounds like a cross between the Doors and a crappy 80's goth act. It does work, honest. "Summer of Hate" thoroughly delivers on hooks, angst, droning guitars, distortion, and shamble. Some of these tunes, "Flash of Light," "Summer of Hate," and "I Wanna Kill" seem angry and sad, but are deeply infused with pop shimmy. Dance you sad S.O.B., DANCE! "Soft Skull" is covered with low-fi vocals layered over convulsive beats to make you want to get up and jump around. Singer Brandon Welchez yelps and chants his way through the record in an organic stream of consciousness way. He seems at times to be channeling his inner cult leader. I can hear Jim Morrison in there for sure. "Sleeping With the Lord" has a -happy cause I'm high- kind of thing going for it that comes through loud and clear. They don't beat you over the head with it; more they invite you into the haze of their blissed out day-glo nightmare. What they are going for... well I can't figure it out; maximum happy and bottom of the boards sad all at once. The entire thing lumbers forward with an off the cuff organ instrumentation that seems to have creeped out of somebody's early 70's church basement.

WARNING: Certain portions of this album could led to strong feelings of homicidal madness. It should not be listened to over morning coffee or while reading the paper. Apply only when you are feeling active and doing things. Do not look directly at this record. Do not taunt this record.

The VVers have seen Crocodiles twice as opening act (Ladytron/The Faint and Dum Dum Girls) so it's hard to imagine what a full set would bring. The funeral dirge organs would probably be something to behold in a sweaty encore.

Visually the record has a nice little trick. The cover; a pixelated photo, is reproduced on the little inner circle printed on side one and two of the record. The only difference is that side one is zoomed in a little more so you can only see one eye, side two zoomed out a little more to see both eyes. Clever.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gaylords - Let's Have a Pizza Party - 1956

Seriously, I dare you not like this album! Everyone loves a PIZZA PARTY (unless you're lactose intolerant; bummer)!!! I have no good reason why I bought this, only because of an impending vacation to Italy, and that pizza is my desert island food. Oh, and there's a super cool mint green Vespa on the cover. Really, the Vespa would have been enough.

As it turns out, the music is not only REALLY good, it's at times soulful and rich with brio. Having returned from the Italian voyage, I can't help but to wax nostalgically on the accent of the country. Lyrics are recorded in Italian, so despite my efforts to master Italian, I really have no idea what they are saying except for the occasional "mi amore". The harmonies are smartly backed with accordions, mandolins, and a chipper xylophone, which makes for an old world Italian restaurant charm. There is a wisp of a romantic carnival in it all. The clicks, pops, and clacks of the old record just add more to the atmosphere. Picture being serenaded at an outside piazza in Italy while sipping on amazing Chianti and enjoying an apertivo of parmesan and prosciutto on crusty bread.

It's true; this can happen to you ... if you listen to this album. At a mere fifty cents, the VVer's are feeling like millionaires for this score. By the way, this is also Giuseppe the fish's favorite album.