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Taking Garage Rock Literally With Mikal Cronin

Don't Let Me Go

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Mikal Cronin‘s second release and Merge Records debut “MCII” blends distorted riffs with hooky guitar lines and tells stories of someone growing up and taking on major changes in life. He plays almost all the instruments on this record. We caught up with Cronin last month while he was in Boston to play the Great Scott.

Cronin and his band had just driven over seven hours to Boston after playing in Montreal. They all looked ragged and tired, the classic image of a touring group. After a rain-soaked loading in of equipment at the Great Scott, a soundcheck and a double rainbow, he was ready to play a few songs for us.

Double Rainbow over Allston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Double Rainbow over Allston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

We brought him out to a parking garage — not our first-choice location. We had plans to do something outdoors, maybe by the Charles River or on one of the tall hills around town, a place with the city lights as a backdrop. But severe weather warnings were issued that afternoon and we were reluctantly forced inside. We hoped the last-minute location would work, though I wasn’t confident it would meet our guest’s expectations.

When we got to the garage Cronin said the walls looked “like the gateway to hell.” The area we had staked out for him was dark and grungy, with chipped paint on the walls and oil stains on the floor. The painted boxes on the wall really did seem like they could be a doorway to the netherworld. Cronin settled in nicely, smiled and said, “This place is really cool.” After we joked a bit he began to play. Check out the video above.

Off The Record, an occasional series from WBUR, takes musicians out of the concert hall to perform at different spaces throughout Greater Boston.