On October 25, Mikal Cronin will release Seeker, his fourth and finest full-length to date. Recorded live with a crew of close friends and engineer Jason Quever at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles, it finds Cronin pushing his often devastating power pop into darker territory—from the isolation of “Show Me” to the desperation of “Fire” to the unadorned heartache of “Sold.”
It comes with a backstory that feels like fate. Cronin writes:
I was stuck. I’d had a rough few years. Relationships end, begin, and end again. I had to stay active, tour with other bands, make music through various other avenues—writer’s block is real and it can crush you, scratching at an itch you can’t quite get. I needed to clean up, to stop leaning on external crutches to get through the anxiety. I needed to grow the fuck up.
I needed a change.
I went to the woods, to Idyllwild, a small town in the mountains of southern California. I spent a month in a cabin there, alone with my cat, Ernie. It was so quiet and peaceful. I got weird looks at the store. I got bug bites that didn’t heal for months. I walked around a small lake a few times. I wrote. I took literally something that’s usually a hypothetical, something every artist thinks about doing. It worked: A large majority of Seeker was written and demoed there.
But then I had to go, immediately. An arsonist had sparked a series of fires and the woods exploded. I saw the flames coming up the hill as I packed up all my instruments and recording equipment. Ernie hid under the bed and was the last to go. I got him in the car just as the police came up the street to help with evacuations. I ended up home in LA a few days early; a small blessing because I was losing my mind a bit.
Once I was back, I was ready to make something. I needed help. I found Jason [Quever] and his studio. I collected as many friends as I could and brought them in to record live with me. I needed the energy of a group of people in a room playing together—a simple concept but one that I had never tried with my own songs. Most of the record is backed by Ty Segall’s Freedom Band. I play bass in this band. We had been touring and playing together for a long run over a few years, so it seemed natural to stick together.
I aimed for nature. I wanted organic sounds. I wanted to bring you into the room. Jason and I talked about The Beatles’ White Album a lot when placing mics. I brought a charred pine cone from the woods to the studio, just in case it would help. Fire—specifically its cycle of purging and reseeding the landscape—is a central theme to the record. Death and rebirth.
I was looking for something: answers, direction, peace. I am the seeker
Turned Out a Punk
Get ready to set sail! In this episode, Damian is joined by his former shipmate on the Bruise Cruise & one of his favourite songwriters: Mikal Cronin! Join the two as they discuss: all ages shows, the Toronto connection, the joy of getting your OWN record & so much more!!!!
The fourth-quarter deluge continues this week with a slew of new releases, including the crooning, quirky soul of Rex Orange County, R&B singer Gallant, queer pop icon King Princess and more, plus the first new album in seven years from Neil Young & Crazy Horse. NPR Music’s Lyndsey McKenna and Stephen Thompson join host Robin Hilton as they share their picks for the best new albums out on Oct. 25.
Mikal Cronin — Seeker
Featured Song: “I’ve Got Reason”
This week: orchestral synthpop fireworks from Anna Meredith; synthpop synthpop from Black Marble; High Llamas main man Sean O’Hagan goes solo and brings an old Microdisney bandmate along; Mikal Cronin undergoes trial by fire on his first solo album in four years; and San Francisco’s The Gonks do twee punk right.
For more reviews on new album, check out Andrew’s Notable Releases, and other records out today I liked (but didn’t review) include: Young Guv’s GUV II, Guided by Voices’ Sweating the Plague, and UK band Dry Cleaning’s second EP of 2019. And if you need more Basement-approved stuff there’s: Wire are back with a new album; The Orielles announced their second album; and Taos duo Tan Cologne are better than their name.
Today, Mikal Cronin returns with the new record Seeker, an exciting document of change and reinvention. It notably breaks the California artist’s streak of self-titled albums, the last of which was 2015’s MCIII, and was also written when Cronin was at a fork in the road, personally and professionally. Staring down failed relationships, the working grind of being a musician and nagging writer’s block, he “needed to clean up, to stop leaning on external crutches to get through the anxiety,” Cronin says of that time. “I needed to grow the fuck up.”
Although humans cause almost 90 percent of forest fires, when left to its own devices, nature will likewise purge overgrowth in a purifying blaze. Following the destruction is a period of rebirth, and it was with this Phoenix-like revival in mind that baroque garage-rocker Mikal Cronin descended south to demo his first album in four years. What he didn’t anticipate was that he’d actually confront the heat.
Mikal Cronin, “Seeker” (Merge Records). The new guitar-rock album from the native Southern Californian was born in solitude after a series of busted-up relationships and a creeping sense that, in his words, “I needed to clean up, to stop leaning on external crutches to get through the anxiety. I needed to grow the … up.”
For a time in the late-aughts and the first half of this decade, the Bay Area was home to one of the best, most vibrant rock scenes in the country — producing garage heroes like Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees (known now simply as Oh Sees), Hunx and His Punx, Girls, Shannon and the Clams and Mikal Cronin.
And then it wasn’t.
It’s a familiar story: A writer hits a wall and needs to seek out isolation to reconnect with their work. That cliché that path has become wasn’t lost on Mikal Cronin, even as he took it himself to begin the process of creating his first new record since 2015’s MCIII. After a steady streak of putting out a new album every other year since 2011, Cronin took his case of writer’s block and touring exhaustion out to a literal cabin the woods. What he found there were the songs that make up the appropriately titled Seeker, a heady collection of rock and roll and devastating solitude.
Consequence of Sound
The Lowdown: Mikal Cronin has done wonderful work with artists like Charlie and the Moonhearts, Ty Segall, and Thee Oh Sees; yet, it’s often his solo material that shines brightest. His first three self-titled outings, released in 2011, 2013, and 2015, respectively, were endearing hodgepodges of indie, garage, psychedelic rock, and power pop that continually cemented him as one of today’s most characteristic singer-songwriters.
Consequence of Sound
Origins is a recurring feature that lets artists dig into the various inspirations behind their latest music.
At the end of the week, Mikal Cronin will release a new two-song 7-inch, his first solo effort in some time. His last album was 2015’s MCIII, but that’s not to say that the California rocker has been absent from the scene since then. Rather, the “Weight” crooner has always been a prolific creator, though he frequently shares his talents with his collaborators like Ty Segall and Kim Gordon.
California garage rocker Mikal Cronin has been quiet for a while now. Not counting his contributions to frequent collaborator Ty Segall’s albums, we haven’t heard any new music from Cronin since 2015’s MCIII. Today, that silence has come to an end. Cronin has a new 7″ on the way via Famous Class, and today he’s sharing the A-side.
Just shy of four years removed from releasing his MCIII album, Mikal Cronin has returned with a new solo track.
Titled “Undertow,” the song comes from a forthcoming 7-inch that also features a second new song titled “Breathe.”
The Line of Best Fit
The 7″ marks his first new solo material in four years, after 2015’s MCIII.
“Undertow” is the first of two new tracks from the 7″ release, and features William Tyler on guitar, additional vocals from Shannon Lay, alongside a number of other contributing musicians.
Mikal Cronin is back with a new song—the rocker’s first solo track in four years. Check out “Undertow” below. The new track features contributions from William Tyler (guitar) and Shannon Lay (vocals), among others.
Consequence of Sound
We’ve heard plenty of music from Mikal Cronin over the last few years, just none of it has been his own material. The California garage rocker has appeared on the last few albums from frequent collaborator Ty Segall, including his 2017 self-titled LP and one of last year’s best records, Freedom’s Goblin, plus he teamed up with Kim Gordon for the anti-Trump rocker “War/Golden God”. Now, Cronin’s returning to his solo career with his first new music since 2015’s MCIII.
Singer-songwriter Mikal Cronin has returned. The sporadic Ty Segall sideman and Merge Records artist has released a new track called “Undertow” on Bandcamp. It is one of the two songs slated to be released on his upcoming 7″, along with “Breathe.”
Mikal Cronin has returned with his first new solo song in four years. “Undertow” was recorded at Palmetto Studio in Los Angeles and features William Tyler (Lambchop, Silver Jews) on guitar and Shannon Lay on backing vocals.
Mikal Cronin shared his first new solo music in four years with the single “Undertow.” The Los Angeles-based musician and longtime Ty Segall associate recorded the track at Palmetto Studios with a band that featured William Tyler on guitar.
Mikal Cronin has shared his first new song in four years. “Undertow” is the first track to drop from an upcoming 7″ and can be heard below. The physical release will arrive on May 10 alongside second new song “Breathe.”
Mikal Cronin is back with a new 7″ single that will be out via Famous Class on May 10. “This is my first new music in a while,” Mikal admits. (Four years, give or take. “My gulp of air. Many talented friends joined me, the basic tracks were recorded live together for the first time in my recording career.” Those talented friends include William Tyler, Shannon Lay, Heidi Alexander (The Sandwiches / Fresh & Onlys) and more. This is a little rawer than we’ve heard Mikal go in a while, too, and the grit is welcome.
Mikal Cronin has shared his new single “Undertow,” the a-side from his new 7.’ This is Mikal’s first new solo material since his album MCIII back in 2015. The album is up for pre-order over at the Famous Class Mart, and will be available in stores May 10th.
Consequence of Sound
“…DRILL: LA will be held at the Echo and Echoplex in Los Angeles from March 30th – April 2nd…”
“Mikal Cronin is the latest artist to stop by the A.V. Club’s offices for their “Undercover” series, which features artists selecting songs to cover from a list. Cronin picked the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ hit “The Impression That I Get”, swapping his usual guitar for the song’s signature trombone. Watch the performance below via The A.V. Club…”
Indie rocker Mikal Cronin and band began a UK/EU tour last Thursday (5/28) at Primavera Sound, in support of their third studio album MCIII, out now on Merge. We caught them playing London’s 100 Club last night (6/1), with pictures in this post.
Consequence of Sound
Mikal Cronin has teamed with Funny or Die to create a video for “Say”, one of the standout tracks appearing on the singer-songwriter’s latest album, MCIII.
In support of his new album MCIII, Mikal Cronin is heading out on a tour that includes shows with Father John Misty and Death Cab for Cutie. After his European dates in May and June, he’s booked to travel across North America this fall.
Mikal Cronin celebrated the release of his third album, the factually-titled MCIII, at Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night (5/5), part of his current tour.
Two years ago, Mikal Cronin was the musical guest on “Conan” where he performed a track from MCII. Last night, he did a song from MCIII, which is out this week. Watch him perform “Turn Around” below.
For anyone who lived through Natalie Imbruglia’s success but doesn’t exactly remember what her popular “Torn” video was all about, Kurt Braunohler, Kristen Schaal and Mikal Cronin have got you covered.
Mikal Cronin knows how to write a pop song. Not like a Max Martin pop song, but a pop song that could’ve existed at almost any point in the last 50 or so years of rock history. Parents and children alike can unite in appreciation for how this guy writes a guitar song.
Mikal Cronin will release his third album, MCIII, on Merge Records. As previously noted, MCIII‘s second side comprises a conceptual, six-song mini-album that represents Cronin’s “coming-of-age story,” and in an interview with Exclaim!, the California songwriter and bandleader shed more light on the troubled time in his life that inspired the ambitious new full-length.
Cronin has always known his way around a melody, but on MCIII, he’s refined it to a needle’s point and woven that skill throughout a collection of immaculately written songs.
Mikal Cronin might not be the best-known of California’s latterday garage-rock pack, but he is perhaps the keenest to experiment. On his third album, MCIII, you can practically hear him rubbing his hands with glee as he stuffs his songs with joyous strings and horns, which couch his most emphatic and vulnerable moments.
Across his remarkably consistent discography, Mikal Cronin has explored the darkest depths of heartbreak, paranoia, and insecurity in a way that removes any distance between himself and the listener.
On his forthcoming third album, MCIII, the Los Angeles-based Cronin pays tribute to that turning point with a conceptual six-song suite called Circle that makes up the record’s entire second side.
“On his forthcoming third album, MCIII, the Los Angeles-based Cronin pays tribute to that turning point with a conceptual six-song suite called Circle that makes up the record’s entire second side…”
The Bay Bridged
The pushy riff and swell of feedback are so damn certain sounding that they serve as a recognizable heads-up for the breakneck fervor to come, like a trigger warning for the rock ‘n’ roll weary, or something.
The 405’s Hollie Fernando hung out with Mikal Cronin for a special Record Shopping feature. Mikal Cronin’s forthcoming album, MCIII, is out on May 4th via Merge Records.
Mikal Cronin will release his third album, MCIII, later this year. We’ve already heard the explosive lead single “Made My Mind Up,” and now he’s shared “ii) Gold.” It’s a cut from the second half of the record, which acts as a concept album about the time he spent feeling alone after moving up to the Pacific Northwest to go to school.
Multi-musical and genre-hopping Mikal Cronin’s self-titled debut was a hit amongst pop-rockers and rockers alike, and after releasing the follow-up, MCII, it seemed the logic behind the titles were fitting. Now with only two months until the release of his third (it’s out May 4th on Merge), logically titled MCIII, it seems there is more than meets the eye for the third installment.
‘II Gold’ is the latest song to be lifted from the record, blending Cronin’s signature melody knowhow with flooring levels of reverb.
Multi-musical and genre-hopping Mikal Cronin’s self-titled debut was a hit amongst pop-rockers and rockers alike.
Consequence of Sound
San Francisco garage rocker Mikal Cronin returns with his new record, MCIII, on May 5th via Merge Records. Today, he’s shared a first listen at this mini album within an album in the form of “ii) Gold”.
“ii) Gold” is part of a six-song cycle that inhabits Side 2 of the album. It’s got a soaring chorus, a breakdown featuring Mikal on traditional Greek instrument the tzouras, as well as a let-it-all-hang-out finish.
Mikal Cronin covers the latest issue of L.A. Record for their special SXSW/Coachella issue.
Chrome’s spirit of dread drifts into Hawkwind-ian dead space on Wand’s new track “Reaper Invert,” which is the kind of slow burn you get when your space capsule makes a re-entry error.
Tiny Mix Tapes
Mikal Cronin? More like Magical Cronin, because this avid Ty Segall collaborator produces nothing but sounds of magic. CDs, LPs, and cassettes of MCIII will be released on May 5 from Merge Records.
Did you hear MCII, the 2013 album from Mikal Cronin? Well, it ruled. And if this new song, “Made Up My Mind,” and the commendably straightforward album title,MCIII, are any indication, his next one will rule too.
His debut 2011 album was called Mikal Cronin. His excellent follow-up: MCII. He’s back, and naturally, the new one’s called MCIII. It’s out on May 5 via Merge, and it features the track, “Made My Mind Up”.
Indie rocker Mikal Cronin will perform at the Prairie Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 21 at 8:00 p.m. Cronin’s self-titled debut solo album was released in 2011. Cronin is seen as a breakout in the garage-rock genre.