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4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 May 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge
  • ASIN: B00BOZ6Q0I
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,474 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Weight 3:50
  2. Shout It Out 2:55,
  3. Am I Wrong 2:34,
  4. See It My Way 3:53,
  5. Peace of Mind 4:06,
  6. Change 3:44,
  7. I m Done Running from You 2:51,
  8. Don t Let Me Go 3:31,
  9. Turn Away 5:08,
  10. Piano Mantra 4:45

Product Description

Product Description

Mikal Cronin's self-titled debut from 2011 was all about endings: the end of college, the end of a serious relationship, and the end of his time in Los Angeles, where he grew up. So it's no surprise that his sophomore release MCII and first disc for Merge Records is all about new beginnings. Since the first record came out, my life has changed quite a bit, Cronin says, referencing his move to San Francisco and tours with Ty Segall as well as with his own band. I was presented with a whole new slew of problems and situations that I was trying to work through. Am I Wrong and Shout It Out dissect his fears over a new relationship, while I'm Done Running from You and Weight find him freaking out about what it means to grow up in the 21st century. Other than these few exceptions, Cronin played all of the instruments. It all makes total sense to me, but when I step back, it sounds kind of schizophrenic, Cronin says. Hopefully it all sounds enough like me to make sense. // A debut that will fry your ears and break your heart. MOJO, on Mikal Cronin // Small, but near-perfectly formed. UNCUT, on Mikal Cronin

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the sound of the summer. Mikal Cronin may be more familiar to some as Ty Segall's touring bassist, or equally as a member of the fabulous garage-surf outfit Moonhearts, but he's turning into a great solo artist in his own right, with his two albums threatening to eclipse the scuzzy histrionics of both those outfits. His debut album was a promising start, still firmly rooted in lo-fi garage rock, but with a real melodic streak seldom demonstrated by Ty Segall and his other cohorts, as good as those bands are. MCII picks up this streak and runs with it, and the results are glorious. Imagine Ben Kweller locked up in a room for six months with nothing but the Byrds back catalogue, or The Shins if they grew a pair and really learned how to rock.

It's a remarkably mature album for such a young man to make - the album opens with the line "I've been starting over for a long time.....", shades of a seventeen year old Jackson Browne singing "Please don't confront me with my failures - I have not forgotten them" all those years ago. Musically the songs are beautifully crafted power-pop gems, all lilting vocals and sweeping harmonies, and a dreamy, hazy 1970s vibe pervades throughout. The violin used on various tracks gives the songwriting an added depth, and the closing Piano Mantra hints, as the above review suggests, at all sorts of interesting new directions he could choose to take in future. Anyone expecting a rehash of his work with Ty Segall will be in for a surprise, but those seeking some real grown up pop are in for a treat. Outstanding.
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Format: Audio CD
After 2011's solid self-titled debut and extensive touring in 2012 as part of the Ty Segall Band, pan-Californian and current Bay Area resident Mikal Cronin is now back with MCII, a powerful album that ought to obliterate any notion of him being some sort of garage also-ran. In either case, Cronin has never been as punishing a solo artist as Slaughterhouse may have suggested and MCII is no different in this regard, stepping - not stomping - on the fuzz pedal when required.

Anyone expecting a collection of frayed sonics will be disappointed then, for MCII is a largely optimistic collection of 10 punchy garage-pop tracks on the theme of new beginnings. "Shout It Out" and "Am I Wrong", for example, tackle the joys and anxiety associated with a new relationship, the sunny surf in the former ringing out between charming power-pop choruses just dandy for the upcoming summer and the fuzzy piano-pop of the latter trying and failing to conceal a sting in the tail courtesy of a shredding Segall cameo.

Speaking of guest appearances, fellow Ty Segall Band alumnus Charlie Moothart (equally of The Moonhearts) dials in the drums for a couple of tracks including the wonderfully racing "Turn Away". And so too does recent Thee Oh Sees collaborator K Dylan Edrich contribute strings on MCII, her country violin a striking counterpoint to Cronin's strumming on the unassuming "Peace Of Mind" - a timely reminder of Cronin's capacity to be more than adept when understated. Even still, he's in pretty uncharted waters come the purely acoustic lament "Don't Let Me Go", a statement made all the more vulnerable when surrounded by the likes of fun-time piano-popper "Weight".
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Format: Audio CD
If Kurt Cobain hadn’t died, I imagine he’d be making music like Mikal Cronin is making right now. Cobain once described Nirvana as sounding like a cross between heavy metal and power pop (“Black Sabbath playing The Knack”) and made no secret of the fact that he liked the pop sensibility of The Beatles as well as the country-inflected acoustic-based melodies of R.E.M. and the Meat Puppets.

Mikal Cronin’s MCII is the closest thing I’ve heard to matching all of Cobain’s own descriptions, being similar in spirit to Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York but more in tune with Cobain’s own desire to eschew the commercialism of grunge and play a more down-home brand of acoustic folk. As it turned out, Cobain shot himself, so we were denied hearing how he’d develop as a songwriter, but if you’re curious then MCII is probably the closest we’ll come to hearing Cobain’s unexplored musical leanings.

That’s not to say Mikal Cronin sounds exactly like the grunge legend – vocally, his natural register is higher and more nasally than Cobain’s but considering one of Cronin’s favourite albums is In Utero it’s easy to make comparison. Cronin’s grunge-rooted pop songcraft with added sprinklings of folk and balladry only serve to highlight the lineage to which he belongs, if not more so in his love of Beatlesque melodies and his many nods to scuzz punk and ‘60s sunshine pop.

As an accomplished bass player and member of other bands such as The Moonhearts and Ty Seagall, MCII is Mikal Cronin’s second album and marks the point at which I feel he’s finally ready to step out of the shadow of these other bands and forge a name for himself in his own right.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x90a439c0) out of 5 stars 23 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90a5ccb4) out of 5 stars absolutely killer guitar power pop 30 May 2013
By Charlie Quaker - Published on
Format: Audio CD
2nd solo album from California artist--absolutely killer guitar power pop. Sweet rockin' songs
with melodies that stick in your head and encourage humming along. Simple, straightforward,
subtly addictive tunes that will earn a place in your listening routine. Includes guest spots from
Ty Segall. Shades of Tommy Keene, Sloan, Nada Surf, Jeremy Morris, Fountains Of Wayne,
Guided By Voices, Redd Kross.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90a5ce34) out of 5 stars Mikal Cronin trades garage-psych for melody-driven power pop...successfully 7 May 2013
By Jack Tripper - Published on
Format: Audio CD
While Mikal Cronin's previous work shared a lot in common with longtime partner-in-crime Ty Segall's fuzzed-out garage-psych, 'MCII' finds him shedding much of the psych and adding a heavy dose of power-pop, and to excellent effect. Mikal has always leaned towards poppier, more hook-laden territory than Segall, but this album finds him really growing into a first-rate songwriter of infectious, just-plain-catchy tunes.

The fuzz hasn't been abandoned, however. Songs like "Shout It Out" and "See It My Way" will immediately shift from light, acoustic balladry to all-out, "amps to 11" grungy garage-rock, without ever losing the sunny-yet-wistful vibe that permeates the album. The lyrics, though dealing in the standard "love" and "loves lost" realm, are top-notch (even if a bit sugary-sweet at times), which is something of a rarity among many modern garage acts. Cronin's mastery of loud-quiet dynamics is on full display as well, recalling 90's grunge more than modern garage, as evidenced by the stellar string-laden rocker "Change."

'MCII' might not have been the album I was expecting, or even hoping for from Mikal Cronin, but after a few listens there was really no resisting his charming, hook-heavy and harmonies-laden power pop. This album finds Cronin stepping out of Segall's shadow, proving he's an excellent songwriter in his own right. Considering he played every instrument on the album--other than the occasional blistering guitar solo from Segall--he's also an immensely talented musician, almost annoyingly so to someone like me who struggles to play even one instrument.

And I have a feeling he'll be annoying more than a handful of songwriters for many years to come.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9083b324) out of 5 stars Pure Power Pop. 7 July 2013
By Kilgore - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like Power Pop, this is the best album so far this year. To counter the sweetness of the pop, Mikal adds crunchy guitar similar to his cohort Ty Segall (in fact Ty plays on two songs). I like this album more than Ty's "Twins". Ty cranks his amps to 11 and leaves them there the entire album which leads to a somewhat fatiguing listen. Mikal knows when to back it off by adding slower acoustic tinged numbers like "Peace of Mind", "Don't Let Me Go" and "Piano Mantra". Favorites are " Weight", "Shout It Out" and "Change".
If you are a fan of either Power Pop or Ty Segall, you should definitely give it a try.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9081175c) out of 5 stars A Solid Release: Worth a Listen or Twelve or Fifty 11 May 2013
By T. A. Daniel - Published on
Format: Audio CD
With the first few moments of MCII's opening track "Weight," Cronin seems to be announcing himself with the lyrics "I've been starting over for a long time." The music, the lyrics, all give a pretty clear indication of what the rest of the album will be like. "Weight" has some pretty weighty lyrics (see what I did there?), with Cronin reflecting on adulthood and aging. The music, however, suggests something a bit different: the music is pretty upbeat, pop-centric, and concise. These two opposing sides make MCII an interesting record and one worth hearing. Come for the great melodic rock songs, stay for the existential quandaries.

Mikal Cronin's MCII isn't psychedelic, lo-fi, or punk, but it contains bits of all of these genres. Cronin is crafting some pretty concise melodies under the banner of power-pop, but his past influences shine through and help with record differentiate itself from the denizens of other power-pop records out there. The music here is perfectly pleasant and enjoyable. It's actually nice that MCII comes out so close to summer: it will make a great summer listen. While most of the album is pretty uptempo, poppy, and full of guitars, the final track "Piano Mantra" stands out. As its title suggests, it's largely a piano-driven ballad that uses a stringed-accompaniment at times. The song starts slow, but by the end of the track, it becomes a clear Cronin tune. A lot of beauty packed into its 4:45 run time.

I'd recommend this to fans of Big Star, Ty Segall, or the dB's. If you've never listened to music by Cronin before, MCII serves as a good place to start.

Essential tracks to sample/download: "Shout it Out", "Am I Wrong", "Peace of Mind", and "Piano Mantra."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x907f3af8) out of 5 stars Liked Immediately And More With Each Listen 6 Jun. 2013
By BTH - Published on
Verified Purchase
I liked this album immediately, start to finish, which is quite unusual for me. When this happens, I often find the albums wear thin pretty quickly and I lose interest. That has not happened with MCII. I have continued to like it more and more with each repeated listen. Well worth purchasing.
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