Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Change” by Mikal Cronin from the 2013 album MCII on Merge.
Part of the San Francisco Bay Area’s resurgent garage rock scene, Mikal Cronin’s solo work is more melodic and emotionally forward than that of his peers, but by no means does that mean he lacks in rock and roll ferver. Initially gaining notice as a member of Epsilons, Cronin soon became known as one of Ty Segall’s most frequent collaborators. Although he spent much of last year on the road with Segall, Cronin spent part of the past 12 months recording his second album, MCII, and is set to spend most of the year on the road behind it. Although it opens with a grimy garage rock riff, “Change” finds Cronin delving thematically deeper than the gain knob on his amp. Like the other songs on MCII, “Change” isn’t buoyed so much by garage rock’s usual fury, but by melody and sincerity. (Case in point: “Change” ends with buzzing strings instead of the typical feedback-and-drums explosion.) Riding a wave of bounding riffs and breakneck drums, Cronin sings, “Faith is just a lover I don’t know/Love is just an answer I don’t know”. Cronin is unsure and hopeful, but mostly because he’s betting on rock and roll’s Hail Mary play - finding resolution in four chords and a melody.
Mikal Cronin just came through Seattle earlier this month (read our review of the show here), and he’s spending his summer abroad touring in Europe. He’ll return to North America in the fall for a few festival dates, so if he announces to come back around to the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find those dates on his Bandcamp and his page at the Merge Records website. Below, watch him play “Change” during his recent in-studio session at KEXP: