Ready-made for living room dance parties

PREVIEW A long line of lo-fi troubadours have come crawling over the horizon these past few years. Crocodiles fit right in, but also stand out in more ways than one. The San Diego duo's got its tight, tattered jeans and Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons, its vocals that sound like they were recorded through blankets, and plenty of attitude.

Just like many of the duo's garage-rat contemporaries, Crocodiles' music is a tangle of all things hipper-than-thou. But there's a menacing intrigue bubbling up from beneath the scaly synth rhythms and claustrophobic distortion — scrub away the requisite hazy feedback and you 'll find a pair of sardonic scowls.

The meticulously crafted set of songs on Crocodiles' debut album Summer of Hate (Fat Possum) prove that frontman and beat programmer Brandon Welchez and guitarist Charles Rowell are junkies for juxtaposition. Diamond-cut hooks and Welchez' defiant wails weave in and out of electronic drones, resulting in a seamless summer LP.

Both Welchez and Rowell were once part of the SoCal punk outfit The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower. After lineup metamorphoses and the death of a band member, the two found themselves writing shoegaze-punk songs tinged with glee and gloom. Ready-made for living room dance parties, "Refuse Angels" finds the Crocs slithering to a furious, acidic electro beat and sneering that they feel "just like Leon Trotsky." "Here Comes the Sky" is a lonely, sun-baked ballad with arpeggios straight out of a latter-day Beach Boys recording.

Crocodiles aren't just riding the fuzzy, noisy wave that's so very in vogue and au courant — they're surfing it with attention to every pulsating beat and damaged guitar note.

CROCODILES With Pens, Graffiti Island. Wed/19, 7:30 p.m., $10–$12. Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, (415) 861-2011.

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