In January of 2013, saki began a series of ‘listening party’ events called “Off The Record,” meant to highlight new albums with a local Chicago connection. In February we decided to celebrate two new releases from the outstanding Chicago label, Trouble In Mind. On February 12th, Trouble In Mind released two amazing baroque-pop albums: Jacco Gardner’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Maston’s Shadows, the only problem being that neither of those artists would be anywhere near Chicago around their release date. Lucky for us Trouble In Mind had a pretty solid connection to one Mikal Cronin, having released his debut solo record in 2011.

Mikal was in town that weekend to play bass in the live lineup for his longtime friend and collaborator, Ty Segall. Stepping out from Ty’s shadow in the past few years, Mikal has shown that he has some serious songwriting chops of his own! His solo work, consisting of his self-titled Trouble In Mind debut and MCII (released on Merge this past May), show a much lighter, poppier side of the garage rock revival, owing more to the Beach Boys and Big Star than Ty Segall’s acid-fuzz burners. What’s most remarkable about MCII is the giant step forward in production and arrangement from Mikal Cronin. While an entirely solid debut, Mikal’s TiM release also lacked some purpose and consistency. MCII is solid, sun-drenched power-pop through and through, with one hook nearly bleeding into the next.

Mikal’s session features a very stripped down version of songs from both of his LPs. It’s just Mikal, an acoustic guitar, and Ty Segall drummer, Emily Rose Epstein on a floor tom. You won’t get too many chances to hear these songs this way (he even adorably forgets the words at one point during "Again and Again"), so download and enjoy!

Thanks to Trouble In Mind, Merge Records, Jacco Gardner and Maston for giving us the opportunity to do this session!

Recorded by Matt Irizarry and Justin Sinkovich
Mixed and mastered by Justin Sinkovich
Photo by Patrick Monaghan