oday, Mike Krol announces his deliriously infectious new album, Power Chords. An evolution in sound, structure and themes, Power Chords serves as Krol’s boldest and longest record to date at 34 minutes. It’s hard-fought and hard-won, bloodied and bruised. And more importantly: defiant and triumphant. The album’s lead single “Little Drama” is just one of the revelatory moments on the record. Krol notes it was “born out of a simple challenge: to make the simplest, most primitive ‘rock riff’ progression ever.”
Krol goes onto explain, “‘Little Drama’ summarizes my daily struggles. It has brash, over-the-top aggressive verses with a chorus that reveals all of the confrontation and toughness that was just described in the verses was internal and an imaginary scenario that’ll most likely never be carried out. I suppose it’s the Midwestern in me to be polite, kind and apologetic always on the outside – while on the inside, keeping a list of names of everyone who’s done you wrong and bottling up all your anger until one day it explodes.”
Of all the breakups in Mike Krol’s songs, the most harrowing story is about his breakup with music. In 2015, coming off of his best record yet and the ensuing world tour, Krol found himself in the midst of a full-blown existential crisis. He’d invested everything to create the rock-and-roll life he’d always wanted, but he wasn’t sure the life wanted him back. Power Chords picks up where 2015’s Turkey left off. It traces Krol’s journey back to punk rock, harnessing both the guitar technique and the musical redemption referenced in its title. To rediscover the power in those chords, Krol recorded for two-plus years in three separate locations (Nashville, Los Angeles, and Krol’s native Wisconsin) with the majority produced by Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead) at the studio where Neil Young recorded Harvest.
We find ourselves back in familiar Krol territory: aggressive and assertive, scratchy and raw, catchy as hell – but something has changed. The sounds have a new density, and so do the stories. Krol’s lyrics have always walked a fine line between self-acceptance and self-destruction, but throughout Power Chords, they reveal a new sense of self-awareness.
Of course, none of this is to say that Krol has mellowed. You might find a mea culpa or two, but Mike Krol will never be chastened. If anything, he’s out more for revenge than forgiveness, and if he’s grown, it’s because he’s grown bolder. He’s wielding the same influences: Misfits, The Strokes, early Weezer, Ramones, but turning up the gravity and the gain. Indeed, Krol has gone somewhere new; yes, he bludgeoned himself with over-analysis and self-loathing, but along the way he stumbled upon a trove of intricate guitar lines and artfully mutating melodies.
Music ruined Krol’s life. And then saved it. In chronicling that process, Krol has made his best record – painful, voyeuristic and angry, but ultimately transcendent and timeless. It is the sound of Krol giving in to a force greater than himself, as though the chords are playing him rather than the other way around.
Power Chords sees its release on vinyl, CD and all digital formats January 25, 2019 on the seminal indie label, Merge Records. For pre-order information go here. Krol hits the road mid-February of next year on a headlining, North American tour through the midwest, up the west coast and down the east coast in support of Power Chords. Check below for a full list of dates.
January 25, 2019
1 – Power Chords
2 – What’s The Rhythm
3 – An Ambulance
5 – Left For Dead
6 – Blue And Pink
7 – I Wonder
8 – Wasted Memory
9 – Nothing To Yell About
10 – Arrow In My Heart
11 – The End
Mike Krol Live Dates:
2/15/19: San Diego – Soda Bar
2/16/19: Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Theater
2/20/19: San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
2/22/19: Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
2/23/19: Seattle, WA – Crocodile Back Bar
2/26/19: Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
2/27/19: Milwaukee, WI – The Back Room at Colectivo Coffee
2/28/19: Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
3/01/19: Detroit, MI – Deluxx Fluxx
3/02/19: Toronto, ON – The Garrison
3/04/19: Allston, MA – Great Scott
3/05/19: Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
3/06/19: Philadelphia, PA – The Boot & Saddle
3/07/19: Washington, DC – DC9
3/08/19: Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle in Backroom
3/10/19: Atlanta, GA – The Earl
3/11/19: New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
3/19/19: Denver, CO – Globe Hall
3/20/19: Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
3/22/19: Reno, NV – Holland Project
3/23/19: Visalia, CA – Cellar Door