Had Mikal Cronin been born at a different time, his power pop songs would be blasting out of car radios soundtracking the summer nights of teens across the country.
Instead, he has critical acclaim and a small but growing fan base drawn to his Beatle-esque melodies, huge harmony-filled choruses, and lyrics about coming of age.
amNewYork spoke with Cronin.
What was going on in your life when you wrote the songs on your new album, “MCII”? There were a lot of changes: getting out of college, moving to San Francisco, starting to tour full time, getting even more serious about music, a new relationship. On top of that, just trying to figure out answers to the questions I’m asking myself.
Do you feel like these songs would have been hits in another era? I don’t think that’s for me to answer. Maybe in the ’90s when all the rock bands came out. But I can’t wrap my head around radio and why they play what they play. And I don’t have big aspirations like that. I’m just trying to be honest with myself in what I write. If other people listen and connect with it, that’s amazing.
You’re a classically trained musician. Why is that so rare in indie rock? Because it’s not necessary most of the time. Most everyone I play with has little to no formal training. For me, being in that environment helped me think about music more critically.
You also play in Ty Segall’s band. Is it hard switching from sideman to band leader? It’s interesting. My shows and Ty’s shows are very different experiences. His are just completely out of control — really loud and really aggressive. Playing my own shows, it’s focused on making sure I sing as well as I can and am getting good harmonies. I appreciate both.
Mikal Cronin is at Bowery Ballroom at 9 p.m. on Thursday, 6 Delancey St., 212-533-2111, $12.