Photo by Denee Petracek
Surfing and rock ‘n’ roll just go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Both hit their mainstream stride about the same time, and you can put more than a few classics of early rock ‘n’ roll under the “surf rock” name. Those early surf instrumentals and pop tunes would also inspire a myriad of other genres, from garage to punk. So it’s no surprise when a SoCal kid like Mikal Cronin grows up with a strong affinity for surfing and rock ‘n’ roll, and becomes one of the finest purveyors of garage-rock-pop around.
Cronin grew up in Laguna Beach. He bounced around the West Coast during his college years, going to school and playing in bands. He eventually landed a spot in the garage/surf-rock outfit The Moonhearts. He also became a frequent collaborator with like-minded garage-popper (and fellow Californian) Ty Segall. The pair released the lo-fi, fuzz-punk attack of a double-bill LP called Reverse Shark Attack in 2009, and Cronin also joined Segall’s live band. Cronin struck out on his own in 2011 for his debut, self-titled LP. Last month Cronin issued his sophomore full-length MCII on Merge.
Cronin eschews the heavier fuzz of his earlier work with Segall in favor of somewhat crisper production–but only just enough to smooth out some of the rougher edges. Cronin played just about every instrument on the record, but you wouldn’t know it from the immediate feel of the songs. Cronin has a deep talent for penning melody and hooks, and one of the tune that really shows it off is the lead track, “Weight.” The beat is lively, and Cronin rings out some classic, Beatles-y chord changes. Even when he kicks in with some of the harder stuff, it’s still sweet in its way, and there’s still plenty of the SoCal, rock ‘n’ roll surfer in Cronin.
You’ll have two chances to see Mikal Cronin this Thursday (June 27): He’ll be at Waterloo Records at 5 p.m. before heading over to play a show at The Mohawk.