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Album Review: Dan Croll – Emerging Adulthood

 
By on Tuesday, 25th July 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Dan Croll Emerging Adulthood coverHave a look above and you’ll see that singer/songwriter Dan Croll‘s recent press photo is much more serious than the one we’ve used for him in the past. His expression is now slightly drawn and his eyes are more knowing, maybe even a bit jaded. Make no mistake, Croll is still quite young at age 27, but the songs on his new album ‘Emerging Adulthood’, his second, center around the well-worn theme of a young adult coming of age. In this case, though, the writing seems to take a real-time approach to the matter, rather than the usual angsty, after-the-fact introspection.

Musically, Croll is a crafty songwriter, known for his multi-instrumental talents and his off-kilter combination of synth pop and folk. Those basic elements haven’t changed since the 2014 release of his first album ‘Sweet Disarray’; if anything, his penchant for electronic sounds has grown with ‘Emerging Adulthood’. But his execution is still all over the shop, with a sense of constant experimentation winning out over comfortable sophistication.

The album’s opening track ‘One of Us’ was previously released as a single back in 2015, and it opens the new record on a strong note. Croll interprets the idea of peer pressure with a punk style heavy guitar riff and the repeated opening lines “heard you can’t beat the rush / give in and be one of us”, while the lagging tempo and quirky electro sounds give the song a very likeable pop feel. ‘Bad Boy’ is Croll’s take on another young adult cliché, namely female attraction to the stereotypical male rebel. It’s a catchy little tune that has already become a favourite track on Sirius XM Alt Nation here in America as well has having been featured as our own Video of the Moment #2377. The song’s subject matter and simple musical arrangement are instantly relatable, and Croll’s vocal melodies are easy-on-the ear, despite a hint of lyrical bitterness for all the self-proclaimed “nice guys” out there.

The hazy dream pop sound of ’24’ also centers on simple vocal lines and rhyming lyrical couplets. It’s not entirely clear whether Croll’s entreaty of “please don’t let it be a heart attack” refers to a health scare, but his leaning toward romantic concerns later in the album suggests that he might have been thinking metaphorically here. ‘Sometimes When I’m Lonely’ employs a strong bass groove that was probably meant to be soulful, while ‘Educate’ takes a more ostensibly seductive r&b tack, laced with quirky electronic sounds and unapologetically the nerdy lyrics “educate any way that you like . . . I wanna be just like you, I wanna educate with you, my mind”. ‘Swim’ uses a slightly more elegant metaphor in its dual-voiced romantic inquiry, “don’t you wanna explore the waves I’m willing to make?”

[youtube]https://youtu.be/Foeoyb9AIS0[/youtube]

‘Away from Today’ is more substantial both in texture and tone color, with brass and additional percussion adding interest and drama under Croll’s softly diffuse voals and minor-key vocal melody. The anticipatory drama of the music is matched by the natural scenery featured in the song’s promo video, where we see Croll running great distances through forests, among ancient ruins, and along rocky seashores, only to come face-to-face with himself in the end. The sweeping track ‘Tokyo’ ends the album on a high note, starting with the rather clever pentatonic tinge in its opening piano melody. The song’s lyrics deal with emotional distance, bitterness and jealousy, but its geographically-distant chorus (“no, I’ve never been to Tokyo / never made my inhibitions known / don’t look kindly on the things you do / from my enigmatic point of view”) is equal parts quirky and catchy.

Despite its moments of brilliance, ‘Emerging Adulthood’ is plagued overall by what might be called growing pains. For every mildly clever lyric or musical gesture, there’s an equally awkward one to match it. The overarching concept is interesting, but the songs come across as a bit superficial in their emotion, and their musical settings feel somehow removed or overly-contrived. That said, the album’s stronger tracks are highly enjoyable and worthy of inclusion on the inevitable “best-of-summer” playlists that will begin cropping up in the next few weeks.

7/10

‘Emerging Adulthood’, the second album from Dan Croll, is out now on Communion Music. Croll will play a run of live shows in America this September; you can find those dates listed through here. To read through TGTF’s previous coverage of Dan Croll, follow this link.

 

Video of the Moment #2377: Dan Croll

 
By on Friday, 9th June 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Dan Croll is gearing up to release a new album next month. ‘Emerging Adulthood’, which will drop next month on the 21st of July, is the LIPA-educated, North East singer/songwriter’s second album, the follow-up to 2014’s ‘Sweet Disarray’. The first taster to be revealed from the LP is ‘Bad Boy’. In the accompanying promo, we get to see the bespectacled Croll how we’ve never seen him before: in a leather jacket, which he uses as part of the ‘bad boy’ image he recalls from “a common phase of teenage life where either the girls wanted the stereotypical bad boy, or the guys tried to become the stereotypical bad boy, and how at the end of the day it all came down to a lack in confidence and usually ended in tears”. Watch the music video below. In addition to summer festival appearances already announced, Croll will be spending a month in North America to support the upcoming new record; check out all the dates here, where he’ll be supported on all dates by New York City’s The Dig. To read more of TGTF’s past coverage on Dan Croll, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5THiYqJtIA[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1936: Dan Croll

 
By on Wednesday, 21st October 2015 at 10:00 am
 

I missed posting a Video of the Moment yesterday because, well, I’m poorly and it’s been a hectic week. So bear with us, as I’m one of those people who likes to sort things out and thinks better late than never…

Following the release of his debut album ‘Sweet Disarray’ on Deram Records / Universal last year, singer/songwriter Dan Croll has something new for us. ‘One of Us’ is a brand new single that Croll is touting as a taster for his next release. And the video for it is kind of weird and kind of adorable, like Croll himself. Sounding even wonkier than any song from the current lo-fi trend sweeping the indie world, you can watch Croll playing guitar, drums and posing with a mike, making light of the fact he’s a solo artist and there’s only one of him. At least that’s what I’m assuming, anyway. Watch the video for ‘One of Us’ below.

The single is out now on Racquet Records. For past coverage of the former LIPA student on TGTF, click through here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqwrQBlQ64A[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Dan Croll performs ‘From Nowhere’ on American late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live

 
By on Wednesday, 2nd April 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

Singer/songwriter Dan Croll is doing extremely well in America, recently appeared on late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live just shortly before his album ‘Sweet Disarray’ was made available in the States. Watch him perform album track ‘From Nowhere’ on the show live below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81ykCtfCcN0[/youtube]

 

Dan Croll / March 2014 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 2nd December 2013 at 9:00 am
 

Adorable singer/songwriter Dan Croll has announced a tour of the UK for March 2014. Tickets are on sale now. Listen to his new single out today, ‘Home’, below.

Tuesday 18th March 2014 – Newcastle Think Tank
Wednesday 19th March 2014 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Thursday 20th March 2014 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Friday 21st March 2014 – Leeds Cockpit
Sunday 23rd March 2014 – Birmingham Temple
Monday 24th March 2014 – Nottingham Bodega
Wednesday 26th March 2014 – London Scala
Thursday 27th March 2014 – Brighton Haunt
Friday 28th March 2014 – Bristol Thekla
Saturday 29th March 2014 – Liverpool Kazimier

 

SXSW 2013: Final Impressions

 
By on Friday, 5th April 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

So after spending a full week in Austin for SXSW 2013, I thought it would be nice to do a summary post to reflect on the experience the second time around…

My SXSW by the numbers:
I saw 41 different bands/acts in total, some multiple times. The bands I saw the most were the Crookes and Kodaline, both 3 times.

I managed an average of 5 hours of sleep per night. Not really all that bad. I learned from last year to make sure I got as much rest as possible.

I saw shows at 8 venues that I’d not previously stepped foot in.

I rode a pedicab 3 times (versus zero times in 2012) and all the drivers were amazing. Note to all attendees: pay these people a little bit more – they’re hiking you up hills and over long distances while sweating their arses off in the Austin heat. A special mention goes out to Andrew who drove me all the way home Thursday night after I’d just about given up on finding a taxi and was ready to cry. He was a total sweetheart!

Unforgettable (good) moments of the week:
Learning that David Baldwin of the Dig is affectionately nicknamed “Baldy”, but it has nothing to do with the status of his hair follicles.

Accidentally running into Rhydian Dafydd of the Joy Formidable at a sushi bar and having lunch together to talk about the industry and such. I found out he’s a Dutch Uncles fan!

Finding out Adam Kane of Cave Painting and Dan Croll were schoolmates in this interview.

Jon McClure of Reverend and the Makers tried to hide his beer between his legs so the Austin police wouldn’t confiscate it during our interview Wednesday afternoon outside Latitude 30. Unfortunately, despite his great pains, it didn’t work.

Getting a genuine Stetson trilby gratis Thursday afternoon at Blackheart for knowing about British bands playing at SXSW. About time I got rewarded for all these random things I have in my brain…

Finding a kindred cider mate in Kris Harris of Story Books during our interview there.

Getting a ride back into the centre of town on the Joy Formidable‘s bus after watching them gig at the Fender stage and do an autograph session at Waterloo Records (photo at top).

Being recognised by Kodaline‘s tour manager at the Hype Hotel Thursday night before they played for the last time at SXSW. (Honourable mention: getting singled out and pointed by guitarist Lynval Golding of the Specials at the same showcase.)

Unforgettable (bad) moments of the week:
Being treated like cattle outside Stubb’s Tuesday night. I’m not likely to return.

Dropping my jumper by accident at Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room Wednesday night after already resituating myself at its rooftop, then getting forced by security to go all the way up, down and around to retrieve it. Lucky I don’t have a walking impediment.

A crazy drunk bloke tried to pick me up on Cesar Chavez Street when I was trying to hail a taxi Thursday night. He said he was going to follow me home. I eventually somehow lost him when we ran into a group of people and I ran. It was terrifying at the time, but now I can laugh about it.

Getting pushed and shoved by kids at the HGTV / Paste showcase at the Stage on Sixth. We know you’re excited for the Zombies. But can you be a little less annoying?

Best quotes of the week:
“Thanks for interviewing us. You’re probably the prettiest person to ever interview us. We usually get interviewed by ugly dudes.” – Emile Mosseri of the Dig after this interview by the river outside Stubb’s. They said they want to start a new side project called “Poppa Squat”. I don’t know if they were joking.

“I like to confuse people!” – Tim Wheeler to me after his solo performance at Monday night’s NI@SXSW showcase (11th March 2013)

“It’s Dan from Bastille, everyone! Cheers mate for coming out.” – Steve Garrigan of Kodaline to Dan and the punters at Wednesday night’s Communion showcase at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop

“Ahh, I see you’ve met the infamous Mary!” – Angela Dorgan of Music from Ireland, warning Girls Names about me outside B.D. Riley’s on Friday morning after our interview (as if this editor needs to come with a warning!)

“We have a very serious question for you, Mary. Why isn’t Washington, DC in Washington state?” – Tom Dakin of the Crookes on behalf of his band, after they played their British Music Embassy / Kilimajaro / PRS for Music slot at Latitude 30 on Friday night (if you were wondering, I set them straight with a story that involved both coasts of our country and the relative locations of myself and my brother, though I’m not sure how well that will stick in their minds.)

“Mary, Mary. You’ve been disowned!” / “But…a 5-string. You can play Korn on that guitar!” – George Waite / Tom Dakin of the Crookes to me the same night, after, perhaps a little too proudly, I showed off a picture of my 5-string ESP. We did some rechristening of guitars in Austin and he’s still yet to provide me a new name for mine.

“Do you fancy a bit of pole dancing later, Kris?” – Andrew Parry of Story Books to bandmate Kris Harris, in reference to and gesturing to Kitty Clementine‘s writhing at the Captiva showcase Saturday afternoon

And with that…that’s my story and I’m sticking with it. See you next year, Austin!

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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