Exposé Online banner

Crocodile — Howling Mad Black Music under Hot Stars
(Basement Avatar Records no#, 2019, CD / DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-04-01

Howling Mad Black Music under Hot Stars Cover art

Austin prog band Crocodile realeased their second album on October 1, 2019. The album title Howling Mad Black Music under Hot Stars (HMBMUHS) and the artwork echo the 70s, but not the music itself. Drawing upon influences from Gentle Giant, Rush, ELO, Yes, The Smiths, and Steely Dan, Crocodile have produced a set of seven neo-prog love songs, of sorts. Personally, I don’t think this album is as strong as their debut, perhaps because I could never appreciate Steely Dan, and on HMBMUHS there is a lot of Steely Dan’s jazzy influence. So I was a bit disappointed on listening to the new album. The album does open strong with “(Arrival) Small Eden,” a European sounding dark prog track with Hammond organ and notes of King Crimson. Next is “I Was Dreaming,” a sophisticated 80s prog jazz fusion song. Then I was initially put off by “Dark Inverted Jubilee.” But I found that it grew on me over time. “Lovesick Wanderer” is funky strutting music with a cool riff, but it did not excite me. Then I found “Shed My Skin” to be a novel approach of blending prog with a dash of rockabilly. “The Genie (in Full Flower)” is a tightly arranged raucous track that will take some time and a lot of attention to get into. And the album closes with the melodic prog tune “Avis Ender.” Though not for me, HMBMUHS will most likely appeal to our readers.

Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Crocodile

More info

Latest news

Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Ana Fort - A Long Story – The format for pianists has long been established by the likes of Bill Evans and modernized by international stars such as Lyle Mays and Rainier Bruninghaus. Enter Israeli pianist Anat Fort, who...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues