Crocodiles | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Serving the Song

Oct 18, 2013 Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT Bookmark and Share

There’s a glorious pop sheen that imbues neo-shoegazers Crocodiles’ fourth album, Crimes of Passion. After a lengthy discussion with their New York-based singer/guitarist and co-songwriter Brandon Welchez, it isn’t in the least surprising that they’d have these proclivities. Welchez is well-versed in rock’s rich vocabulary, with the conversation flowing freely from the virtues of Big Star (he’d just seen the band’s recent documentary, Nothing Can Hurt Me) to ‘80s acts such as Black Flag and Minor Threat to San Diego hardcore such as The Locust. He even has to cut our interview a bit short in order to meet up with his wife, Dee Dee Penny of Dum Dum Girls, who’s surprised him for his birthday with tickets to a Specials gig later that night.

“We’re so many albums in now, we’ve seen how it works,” says Welchez, who helms the band alongside guitarist Charles Rowell, who presently resides in London. “Most likely no one’s gonna give a fuck, so you might as well make something you’re proud of, that you’ll listen to 20 years down the road and you can play to your grandkids. Ultimately we want to make pop records.”

This isn’t acrimony on Welchez’s part, just pragmatism. He recognizes the pitfalls of the record industry and the luck and skill necessary to create something successful at a mass level. But even a cursory listen to Crimes of Passion reveals an album replete with hooks, with accoutrements such as brass and piano that lend the tracks texture without detracting from the erudite arrangements.

“If it’s your project, you can’t look at it objectively,” says Welchez. “It’s such a big part of your emotional life. I think other people can see it for what it is. In the process of creating art, it’s almost like your emotions are a snow globe and you’re shaking them up.”

He acknowledges that the album came from some dark places, but is circumspect when pressed for details, saying that he’d like the listener to work that out on their own.

Welchez admits that he and his wife mutually inspire one another, but he makes it clear that Dum Dum Girls and Crocodiles are separate entities without crossover in songwriting.

“For every song I have, she has five. She’s a better songwriter than me. She’s incredible,” says Welchez.

They have finally recorded music together, as Haunted Hearts, and released their debut single “Something That Feels Bad

is Something That Feels Good” back in February. “It’s funny that it took so long,” admits Welchez.

The couple resides in a small Manhattan apartment with a roommate, which leads to some interesting permutations of creativity.

“We’re both not shy about it, but it’s not ‘Kumbaya’ or anything,” he laughs. “It’s her in a corner and me in another room. And with our roommate, who’s a fashion designer, it’s like two songs are being written and a dress is being sewn. But when you surround yourself with creative people it induces more creativity in yourself.”

[This article first appeared in Under the Radar’s August/September 2013 issue.]


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