Power-pop wunderkind Mikal Cronin’s new album is a significant leap forward for the singer/songwriter. While just as hooky as its preceding albums, MCIII is more heartfelt and intricate, boasting a six-song suite that has some of the album’s best melodies. “Turn Around” starts the album out with a somber tune nestled amid a flurry of electric guitars, violins and pianos. “Made Up My Mind” blasts off with a rocketship riff, while Cronin’s voice breaks under the weight of a breakup. Flourishes like horns, strings and acoustic guitars help give the album a sense of unified orchestration, while dynamics in songs like “Say,” full of cool, bass-driven breakdowns, make each song stand out. But the suite that makes up the last half of the album is its masterstroke. It moves from the spare and aching “i) Alone” to the heavy guitars of “ii) Gold,” through its outro played on the Greek stringed tzouras and into punk and singer/songwriter territory. Each song moves into the next beautifully and makes MCIII feel like Cronin’s Abbey Road. We’ve known Cronin has chops since playing bass with Ty Segall and could entertain freely on his first two albums, but MCIII is his first that feels like his own classic. Watch the just-released "Turn Around" video below, starring comedians Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal.
Damaged Bug – “Jet in Jungle”
Thee Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer has a solo project called Damaged Bug that produces buzzing, whirring analog electro-rock songs like “Jet in Jungle” influenced by krautrock and early electronic music artists like Faust and Can. This is the second track we’ve heard from Cold Hot Plumbs, which is out June 1 through Dwyer's label, Castle Face. Check it out via Pitchfork.
Best Coast – “Feeling Ok” lyric video
New Best Coast songs have been trickling in from their upcoming album California Nights (which is due May 4 on Harvest, you can preorder it now on LP and CD). “Feeling Ok” finds Bethany Cosentino utilizing her uncanny ability to channel her anxiety directly into fuzz-pop songs with candied melodies and straightforward lyrics. The best we can do sometimes is say “I’m OK today” when insecurity has been getting us down; Cosentino captures that moment of clarity brilliantly.
Best Coast – “Heaven Sent” video
Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino looks fetching in a rose crown and lace dress in the video she co-directed with Lana Kim for “Heaven Sent,” off the band’s upcoming California Nights, due May 4 on Harvest. Definitely channeling some Paisley Underground vibes with this look and song, like The Bangles filtered through Ride’s amps. The band’s spring/summer tour will hit L.A.’s Wiltern June 27. Watch below via Ray-Ban’s Never Hide Noise.
LA Font – “Whisperer”
On their latest track, Los Angeles power-pop band LA Font sink their teeth into a supple groove before unleashing whirlwind guitars at the song’s climax. You might need a cigarette. It’s on their upcoming Hangtime Vol. 1 EP, which is due April 28, just after the band plays in-store at Amoeba Hollywood April 23, as part of the Converse Rubber Tracks series. Hear it below via Stereogum.
Best Coast – “Heaven Sent”
Best Coast’s upcoming third album, California Nights (due May 5), sounds like a fantasy meeting between The Verve and The Bangles, judging by its first two singles. “Heaven Sent” is more upbeat and melodic than the hazy title track while retaining its full-bodied guitar sound, like some sunkissed lost Lush song. Check out the karaoke-style lyric video below:
What’s with the song title of Mikal Cronin’s new song, you might ask? The power-pop songsmith’s upcoming new album, MCIII (due May 5), includes a six-song suite on its B-side, of which this is the second part. It’s furiously loud and melodic, as we’ve come to expect and enjoy immensely from Cronin, but also has a surprise climax with Cronin jammin’ on the Greek tzouras. Color us intrigued. He’s at S.F.’s Independent April 22 and L.A.’s Eagle Rock Center for the Arts May 1.
Best Coast – “California Nights” video
We only heard a taste of “California Nights” last week, so we couldn’t tell just how rad the song is. It’s an expansive shoegazer informed by influences like Chapterhouse, The Verve and Ride that sees Bethany Cosentino getting stoned, staring up into the big California sky as sunset and capturing a sense of infinity. We all know Cosentino likes singing about weed, but this is easily her stoneriest jam yet, and it’s great. The scenic video will have you packing your bags for Joshua Tree pronto. California Nights is out May 5 on Harvest.
Wand – “Reaper Invert”
Wand has just realeased another terrific song from their upcoming album, Golem, which is out March 17 on In the Red and is fucking badass. “Reaper Invert” is an ace piece of psychdelic rock ‘n’ roll, with massive fuzz, a dash of metal drone and Cory Hanson’s high-flying vocals adding up to a hollowed-out cave of sound where devilish solos fly out like bats. Get that Golem when it comes out! They'll be at the Echo March 13.