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.
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.
Mikal Cronin – “Made Up My Mind”
Power-pop master Mikal Cronin has announced his third album, the aptly titled MCIII, which will be out May 5 on Merge. And he’s shared the first song from it. “Made Up My Mind” has one of those great rocketship riffs Cronin does so well, along with some playful piano and Cronin’s weary earnest voice offering bittersweet melodies and lyrics. Cronin played every instrument on the new album, which includes a six-song suite. He’ll be at S.F.’s The Independent April 22 and the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock May 1.
Bouquet – “Stacks on Stacks”
Sometimes you hear just a couple of notes of a song and you know you love it. Such is the case with Bouquet’s “Stacks on Stacks,” which touches on early electronic music with breathy, romantic female vocals akin to Stereolab, Beach House or our dearly departed Broadcast. The L.A.-based duo is composed of guitarist/vocalist Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, formerly of folk-poppers The Finches, and keyboardist Max Foreman of the experimental trio Tenebre. If you’re as curious as I am about Bouquet, check out their In a Dream EP, due March 10 via Ulrike/Folktale, and/or check them out with Zola Jesus Feb. 8 at Santa Ana’s Observatory.
Outside Lands -- the music, food, and art festival that descends on San Francisco's Golden Gate Park every August -- starts tomorrow (Friday, August 8th). With blockbusting headliners like Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Killers, and Kanye West, it's no surprise that the festival is SOLD OUT. If you missed your chance to bask in the summer chill with thousands of your soon-to-be best friends, do not despair! You can still get tickets to most of the Outside Lands Night Shows!
The Outside Lands Night Shows start tonight with four events around the Bay, including Mikal Cronin & Bear Hands at The Independent (tix) and Glen Hansard & Sean Hayes at the Fox in Oakland (tix). On Friday, catch Soul Rebels at Brick & Mortar Music Hall (tix). For Saturday, you can still nab tickets to see Gold Panda at Mezzanine (tix) or Woods at Brick & Mortar (tix). Keep the party going through Sunday night with Deer Tick & The Districts at Rickshaw Stop (tix) or Superjam with members of Kool & The Gang at The Independent (tix). Happy concert-going!
Amoeba is once again sponsoring First Fridays at the Natural History Museum April 4 from 5 to 10 p.m.
|Mikal Cronin at Amoeba SF May 28, 2013|
Panthers. Mikal Cronin’s MCII ended up on many year-end lists last year with its fuzzy pop gems reminiscent of bands like Teenage Fanclub, such as the effervescent “Shout It Out.” Tijuana Panthers play a doo-wop inspired brand of surf rock on albums like last year’s Semi Sweet; you can read my interview with Tijuana Panthers from a little while back here.
Bands will start at 8 p.m. Before that, there’ll be tours on tracking and trapping L.A.’s wildlife starting at 5 p.m. with Beth Werling, Collections Manager of NHM History Dept., and a discussion at 6:30 p.m. on what evolution tells us about modern life, with with Dr. Marlene Zuk. And KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Raul Campos will kick things off spinning tunes in the DJ lounge starting at 5:30 p.m.