Tag Archives: Mikal Cronin

The Best of 2019 Pt 1; Flashlite #568


As accustomed, every year around this time we look back and review some of the best albums that I’ve enjoyed in the past year. In this installment of the Little Lighthouse, we review albums that took #30-#14 positions on my list. Although, it should be said that the list is that of a moment, and not a result of a very careful deliberation. Enjoy the music! Top 13 next week.

Yawpers – Earn Your Heaven;
Motorpsycho – Lux Aeterna;
Meat Puppets – The Great Awakening;
Mattiel – Rescue You;
Thee Melomen – Time Has Come;
Ty Segall – Squealer;
Redd Kross – Punk II;
Eamon McGrath – Unsung Warsong;
Morlocs – Buffoon;
Bad Moves – Out of Reach;
Lisa Prank – Rodeo;
Jonathan Richman – Alegre Soy;
The Flesh Eaters – The Green Manalishi;
Mikal Cronin – Fire;
Wolfmanhatan Project – Jar in the Staircase;
Eugene Chadbourne and The Sunwatchers – Give Back The Key To My Heart;
Those Pretty Wrongs – Undertow.

Flashlite #561

Margaret Airplaneman

Today’s we start with The Baby Shakes from New York City and their new album. Mikal Cronin also has a new record out called Seeker. Signing Loins from UK are also back. Pink Tiles from Australia, Big Bite from Seattle and Scarcity of Tanks from Cleveland have new songs out. Margaret and Tara from Mr. Airplaneman have a new ep and we also check out Margaret’s live solo recording. Speaking of live stuff, in our Live in Cleveland segment, we have Mike Watt from his latest visit to our town.

Those Pretty Wrongs – It’s About Love;
Baby Shakes – Modern Girl Renegade;
The Pink Tiles – Have You Heard;
Redd Kross – Fighting;
Criminal Hygiene – Dangers of Convenience;
Mikal Cronin – I’ve Got Reason;
Big Bite – The River (Single);
The See No Evils – Falling;
UV-TV – World;
Mike Watt – She Don’t Know Why I’m Here (Live in CLE);
Mr. Airplane Man – Get On A Plane;
Margaret Airplaneman – Surferliner;
Go-Betweens – dive for your memory;
Vukovar – Dive For Your Memory;
Scarcity of Tanks – Slang Pro;
The Singing Loins – This One.

Flashlite #550

The Afghan Whigs

Today we have a line up of nice new comebacks. The Afghan Whigs are back collaborating with James Hall. Violent Femmes are also back with new tunes. Rich Hopkins (ex Sidewinders) with his Luminaros has a new album. John Fallon, who used to be with The Steppes is back with the new band Laissez Faires. Southern college rockers Drivin’n’Cryin’ are another comeback in this show. The younger generation returns too: Mikal Cronin has a new single and Eamon McGrath has a new album out.

The Laissez Fairs – Marigolds Return
The Afghan Whigs – You Want Love (feat. James Hall);
Violent Femmes – Not OK;
Violent Femmes – Love & Me Make Three;
The Strange – Last Summer Song;
Rich Hopkins And Luminarios – No Regrets;
Rich Hopkins And Luminarios – Another State Of Mind;
The Laissez Fairs – Lillie May;
The Steppes – Take Heart My Love;
Eamon McGrath – Young Men;
Eamon McGrath – City of Glass;
Mikal Cronin – Show Me;
Mikal Cronin – Am I Wrong (Live in CLE);
Kevn Kinney – Gotta Move On;
Drivin N Cryin – If I’m Not There I’ll Be Here;
The Lemonheads – Wild Child;
Lou Reed – Wild Child.

Flashlite #324

Amy LavereLow Cut Connie new album Hi Honey is out as of yesterday and we check out the new track that closes the album. Jimbo Mathus is back with the new record called Blue Healer. Amy Lavere has an album with Will Sexton where she goes back to her previous songs looking for a more intimate atmosphere. Boz Scaggs is back also with a really cool new record which mixes various musical genres into an entertaining blend. Mikal Cronin has returned with his 3rd solo record. We also introduce Ethan Daniel Davidson from Detroit with a recording that he made together with Danny Kroha. And finally, we sadly report that Percy Sledge has passed away.

Last – She Knows Just What to Do;
Bad News Boys – We Are The Champion;
Low Cut Connie – Both My Knees;
Jimbo Mathus – Rock & Roll Trash;
Jimbo Mathus – Bootheel Witch;
Ethan Daniel Davidson – Muddy Waters (Featuring Danny Kroha);
Mick Collins And Danny Kroha – Blue;
Kim Fowley – Generation Mad;
Amy Lavere – Last Rock n’ Roll Boy to Dance;
Boz Scaggs – High Blood Pressure;
Huey Piano Smith – High Blood Pressure;
Johnny Winter – Dallas (Blues Alphabet);
Cover Verde – Be My Lover (Live in CLE);
Mikal Cronin – Circle;
Percy Sledge – Out of Left Field;
Percy Sledge – It Tears Me Up;
Tav Falco – Breakaway.

Games (Hozac)

GamesOne friend of mine classifies albums that he likes into big and small records. Not according to the dimensions, but according to impact and depth of a concept laid out on the record. According to that classification, Games is a small record. Simple three minute love songs, no impact or concept whatsoever. Still, simple can sometimes be really great. In this case, Games reached a near perfection in my mind. Every song is super catchy and fun. Simplicity of the overall delivery here is disarming.

This is a bubble-gum, a candy. In my ears it sounds so dandy, lemonade and cotton candy. These lyrics lay the ground for this record. But it’s real sugar cane, no artificial sweeteners, no corn syrup. From the beginning, the record strikes you as something really fun, but things really take off with songs number 3 and 4 Different Times and Baby Put Down That Gun. This is when you realize that this record is really special. Urgency and whirl of Different Times take it to that different level. Baby Put Down That Gun keeps the level high with a great chorus, perfect harmonies and a bridge lifted straight from The Ballad of John and Yoko.

The highlight on the B side is When The Time, the only slow number with wonderful 70s retro keyboards and harmonies which are just right. Those harmonies are just slightly out of tune and weary, after all, this music is made by humans. It’s also the moment of the record where the lyrics become more ambitious then the rest of the bubble gum oriented song-smithery. In recent past, this record has the same retro feel and atmosphere as the debut album for Gentleman Jesse and His Men, which is not that crazy of a comparison having in mind that, just like Jesse, the boss of Games, Jeremy Thompson, was once in The Carbonas. Also, Dave Rahn produced and played drums on both records. Going further in the past, this record could easily stand head to head comparison to any of the Stiff, Rak or Buddah releases and maybe even win.

My pet peeve with record reviews in general is that whenever the writers hear some harmonies or power-pop attitude, they start comparisons to Big Star. I love that band, but this needs to end. Neither Games or Mikal Cronin have anything to do with power-pop or Big Star. In case of Games, this is your good old unadulterated, pure sugar-cane bubble gum and be ready for the rush.

The vinyl copy of this record is absolutely one of the nicest pieces of plastic out there. The sound of the record is absolutely flawless and it’s a great example on how vinyl should be done in this day and age. All major flaws are skillfully avoided – the sound is full, no inner groove distortion whatsoever, no sibilance problems, perfect groove centering. Just great. Credit for such a great job goes equally to all engineers involved in the pre-mastering process and Dave Eck from Lucky Lacquers in Midleton WI, who cut the lathe. United Press from Nashville did duplication. The record finishes with a sound of a soda bottle opening and a special treat on the B side is a neat locked groove which takes the carbonation all the way to the infinity. Locked groove is pulled away from the center, so it will lock even for the turntables with automatic tonearms.

Mikal Cronin – II (Merge)

Mikal Cronin - IIMikal Cronin was our year end champion back in 2011, topping our list of the best albums here at The Little Lighthouse with his debut solo album. He hails from the most active rock’n’roll scene in the past few years, from San Francisco. Out of many excellent bands and authors from out there, Mikal stands out with fully mature songwriting and diverse records. His new album achieved a great success in the ears of public and critic equally. He was given an honor of being published on Merge records, which put a lot of energy in promotion and Mikal became one of the best known faces in the indie rock world today. The record itself finds him in further exploring the world of adulthood. But don’t expect any answers from Cronin. Indeed, this record opens more questions than offering answers. Am I wrong? Do I shout? Do I let it go? Do I need it? Am I different man? Can I help you? Can I try? Have I been learning nothing all along? The only two answers we are given are “I’m not ready” and “I don’t know”.

Musically, the record reminds me on Love’s Forever Changes in the mood and usage of strings. The mood is melancholic, but it can also rock. Strings take a central role in several songs and Cronin employed real strings, rather than relying on synthesizers. Too bad that the track Better Man was not included in the album, but one can find it on the Garage Swim compilation and I recommend including it as the last track when listening to the record.

In short, exceptionally strong second album further establishes Cronin as a serious singer songwriter.

A few technical notes on the vinyl version. The “A” side of the vinyl is one of the best quality pressings I’ve seen in years. Very clean and consistent mastering throughout, equally in the inner and outer grooves of the record. Unfortunately, that can’t also be said for the “B” side, since my copy of the record has a slight eccentricity. There is nothing in the copy that would reveal what plant pressed my copy. The cover says that the record was mastered at Fantasy Studios in San Francisco, but it is unclear whether this is digital or vinyl master.

Flashlite #222

Turf WarToday we check out the new work for the two former Beasts of Bourbon bandmates, Australian guys Kim Salmon and Spencer P. Jones. They have a very nice new album Runaways. We also introduce two new bands from Indiana. Hypocrite in A Hippy Crypt and Nomad Planets. We go back in past and dig out a lost album from the Cleveland band Coffinberry, which sounds pretty awesome. The new Mikal Cronin album MCII is in, and it really is grand. And, the last but not the least, we check out the new EP for the most exciting newcomers from Atlanta, Turf War.

Husker Du – All This I’ve Done For You;
Tuff Darts – Head Over Heels;
Wayne County And The Back Street Boys – Max’s Kansas City 1976;
The Replacements – Little Mascara;
The Replacements – Little Mascara (Live in Kent);
Turf War – Still Around;
The Dark Rags – It’s A Shame (Such A Shame);
Bazooka – Summer Song;
Coffinberry – New Color;
Spencer P. Jones And The Nothing Butts – Don’t You Worry About Me;
Kim Salmon and Spencer P. Jones – It’s All the Same;
Hypocrite in A Hippy Crypt – The Down;
Love – You Set the Scene;
Mikal Cronin – Change;
Nomad Planets – Charge of The Light Brigade;
The Godfathers – Primitive Man.

Flashlite #212

Kevin AyersToday we say the last goodbyes to Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine and Tony Sheridan who sang with The Beatles back in their Hamburg days. The two rockers passed away recently. We also have some new stuff. We have new music for the Austinites Kelly Willis and her husband Bruce Robison and our good friend Kim Simpson. They all have new records out. Billy Childish has recently put out a record with his Spartan Drags, and that opens out new show. Donovan put out a record that he started making in 1970 with John Phillips and The Jazz Crusaders. Mikal Cronin has a new single out. We also have Freedy Johnston from his recent gig in Cleveland and one new name: Colleen Green from Oakland CA.

Wild Billy Childish and The Spartan Dreggs – A Shropshire Lad;
Mikal Cronin – Shout It Out;
The Tonys – Border Radio;
Kelly Willis And Bruce Robison – Border Radio;
Kim Simpson – Baby Now;
Freedy Johnston – Don’t Fall in Love With a Lonely Girl (Live in CLE);
Donovan – Open Up Your Heart;
Donovan – Poke At The Pope;
Matt Piucci – That Stupid Idea;
Tim Lee 3 – Devil’s Rope;
Richard Thompson – Stuck on the Treadmill;
Colleen Green – Good Good Things;
Descendents – Good Good Things;
Bee Houston – You Think I’m Your Good Thing;
Tony Sheridan – What’d I Say;
Kevin Ayers – Whatevershebringswesing.

Flashlite #173

Robin GibbToday we say the last goodbye to the great banjo player Doug Dillard and one of the Bee Gees – Robin Gibb. Both of them passed away recently and we owe a lot to each of them for the development of rock’n’roll and popular music in general. Other than that, we check out mainly some new singles, eps – short form in general. John Doe and Exene have a new one, recorded with minimal arrangements in the studio. Richard Buckner has a new three-track ep called Willow. And then come the rockers. The Intelligence from Seattle and Nobunny have new 45s. The Paperhead from Nashville sport a lovely Syd Barrett styled single from a split EP with Mikal Cronin (among others). King Khan also splits a 45 with Mikal. Only LP tracks are by the Dillard and Clark and The Beegees today!

Dillard And Clark – Train Leaves Here This Mornin’;
Bee Gees – Massachusetts;
Dillard And Clark – She Darked The Sun;
Tom Trocolli’s Dog – Girl from the North Country;
John Doe And Exene Cervenka – Never Enough;
Richard Buckner – Willow;
The Intelligence – (They Found Me In The Back Of) The Galaxy;
The Paperhead – Stacey Grove;
Ty Segall and White Fence – I Am Not A Game;
King Tuff – Hole In My Head;
Nobunny – La La La La Love You;
King Khan – Bite My Tongue;
Suzi Chunk – Tripwire;
Cozy – Sugar On My Mind;
Noel Black – Why Not Your Baby;
Velvet Crush – Why Not Your Baby;
Dillard And Clark – Why Not Your Baby;
Bee Gees – New York Mining Disaster.

Flashlite #151 – The Best of 2011 – pt 2

Mikal CroninIt’s the end of 2011 and it’s time to assess the damage. It’s the part two of the Top 30 albums of 2011 at the Little Lighthouse. It was a lean year when it comes to really big earth shattering albums, but it was also a year with a lot of good records. The champion for this year is Mikal Cronin and his debut record. The rest of the list goes something like this…

01 Mikal Cronin
02 Cute Lepers - Adventure Time
03 Susie Hug - Tucson Moonshine
04 True Sons of Thunder - Spoonful of Seedy Dudes
05 Hayvanlar Alemi - Guarana Superpower
06 King Louie's Missing Monuments - Painted White
07 Jack Oblivian - Rat City
08 Disciplina Kicme - Uf!
09 One Hundred Dollars - Songs of Man
10 Happy Birthday
11 Mr. Ron Jetson - The Return of The Sleeping Policemen
12 Thee Oh Sees - Carrion Crawler The Dream
13 John Paul Keith - The Man That Time Forgot
14 Booker T. Jones - The Road From Memphis
15 The Barrarecudas - Nocturnal Missions
16 North Mississippi Allstars - Keys To The Kingdom
16 Mama Rosin with Hipbone Slim and the Kneetremblers - Louisiana Sun
17 Sonny And The Sunsets - Hit After Hit
18 Bubblegum Lemonade - Sophomore Release
19 Lucinda Williams - Blessed
20 Black Keys - El Camino
21 Jerusalem and the Starbaskets - Dost
22 Tim Lee 3 - Raucous Americanus
23 Dead Rock West - Bright Morning Stars
24 Israel Nash Gripka - Barn Doors And Concrete Floors
25 Bo Keys - Got To Get Back
26 The Frictions - Halogen Sky
27 Danny & the Champions of the World - Hearts and Arrows
28 John Hiatt - Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
29 The Walkabouts - Travels in Dustland
30 Wild Flag

The Barreracudas – Baby Baby Baby;
Booker T. Jones – Representing Memphis (Featuring Matt Berninger & Sharon Jones);
John Paul Keith – Never Could Say No;
Thee Oh Sees – Crushed Grass;
Mr Ron Jetson – Magnificient Joe;
Happy Birthday – Subliminal Message;
One Hundred Dollars – Ties That Bind;
Disciplina Kicme – Sta je to sto drzi dabas tvoju paznju;
Jack Oblivian – Kidnapper;
King Louie’s Missing Monuments – Girl of the Nite;
Hayvanlar Alemi – Hayalgucu Sporkulubu;
True Sons of Thunder – Crawlin;
Susie Hug – Flinch;
Cute Lepers – Head Over Heels;
Mikal Cronin – Get Along;
Mikal Cronin – The Way Things Go.