Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Mikal Cronin cut his musical teeth playing bass in garage punk bands and became a trusted and long-running member of Ty Segall's band; on his own he crafted music that leaned more towards power pop with a bit of folk-rock added for good measure.
After two albums that honed his sound into something hooky and sleek, he looked backward on MCIII to classic rock for inspiration, and by the time of 2019's expansively produced and arranged Seeker, Cronin was making music that sounded huge and mature, with almost no garage or punk in its DNA.
Cronin was raised in Laguna Beach, California, where as a teenager he developed a passion for both surfing and rock & roll. While attending Laguna Beach High School, he and fellow student Ty Segall formed a dance-punk group called Love This. After graduating high school, Cronin left California for a few years to attend Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, to study psychology, but after seriously injuring his back he returned home to recover. The time off gave him a chance to evaluate his life choices, and after a couple semesters at community college, he transfered to California Institute of the Arts and began studying music. While attending school, he joined the surf-influenced garage band Charlie & the Moonhearts as their bassist; they became simply the Moonhearts after the departure of drummer Charlie Moothart, and in 2010 the band released a self-titled album through Tic Tac Totally Records. Cronin also began collaborating regularly with his high school chum Ty Segall, releasing a collaborative album, Reverse Shark Attack, in 2009 and playing bass in Segall's road band.
Cronin's first solo album began as therapy after finally completing college and making his way into the real world. Full of noisy pop and garage influences, his self-titled LP (featuring guest appearances by Segall on drums, Moothart, and John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees) was issued by Trouble in Mind Records in September 2011. While still playing with Segall, he released a second solo album, MCII, for Merge in the spring of 2013. Cronin embarked on a solo tour after that, taking time during 2014 to write and record his third album. Adding some new instruments to the fold, including the traditional Greek instrument the tzouras, and making a concerted effort to make his sound "bigger," the album was split into halves, with one side straight-ahead pop songs and the other a thematically linked set of songs meant to tell Cronin's coming-of-age story. The record, titled MCIII, was released by Merge in the spring of 2015.
After touring, Cronin devoted most of his musical time to playing with Ty Segall's live band and appearing on three of his friend's albums, 2016's Emotional Mugger, 2017's Ty Segall, and 2018's Freedom's Goblin. When he turned back to his own music, he spent a month in a cabin located in Idyllwild, California, battling writer's block and detailing recent heartbreak. When he was chased out of the hills by wildfires, he headed to the studio with Jason Quever of Papercuts to start recording. Backed by Segall's Freedom Band and inspired by the Beatles' White Album, Seeker was Cronin's first album that bore no traces of garage rock or power pop, instead delving deeply into classic rock sounds. It was issued by Merge in October 2019. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi