Mike Krol

Agent: Mahmood Shaikh
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Of all the breakups in Mike Krol’s songs, the most harrowing story is about his breakup with music.

In 2015, coming off 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, Krol’s new Merge release, 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). The record opens in a howling maelstrom of feedback: welcome to Krol’s crucible. After a stage-setting spoken-word intro (“I used to never understand the blues, until the night I met you. And every day since, I’ve gotten better at guitar”), 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. “Without a little drama I grow bored and sick of all my days,” he sings on “Little Drama,” and it’s just one revelatory moment on a record full of them.

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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. It’s there in the chorus of “Blue and Pink,” the bridge in “I Wonder,” the entirety of the deliriously infectious first single, “An Ambulance.”

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.

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Mike Krol Downloads:

Mike Krol on Tour:

Date City Location Venue

Fri, 15 Feb 2019

SAN DIEGO

CA

SODA BAR

Sat, 16 Feb 2019

LOS ANGELES

CA

BOOTLEG THEATER

Wed, 20 Feb 2019

SAN FRANCISCO

CA

BOTTOM OF THE HILL

Fri, 22 Feb 2019

PORTLAND

OR

MISSISSIPPI STUDIOS

Sat, 23 Feb 2019

SEATTLE

WA

CROCODILE BACK BAR

Tue, 26 Feb 2019

MINNEAPOLIS

MN

7TH STREET ENTRY

Wed, 27 Feb 2019

MILWAUKEE

WI

THE BACK ROOM @COLECTIVO COFFEE

Thu, 28 Feb 2019

CHICAGO

IL

EMPTY BOTTLE

Fri, 1 Mar 2019

DETROIT

MI

DELUXX FLUXX

Sat, 2 Mar 2019

TORONTO

ON

THE GARRISON

Mon, 4 Mar 2019

ALLSTON

MA

GREAT SCOTT

Tue, 5 Mar 2019

BROOKLYN

NY

ROUGH TRADE

Wed, 6 Mar 2019

PHILADLEPHIA

PA

THE BOOT & SADDLE

Thu, 7 Mar 2019

WASHINGTON

DC

COMET PING PONG

Fri, 8 Mar 2019

CARRBORO

NC

CAT'S CRADLE - BACKROOM

Sat, 9 Mar 2019

SAVANNAH

GA

SAVANNAH STOPOVER

Sun, 10 Mar 2019

ATLANTA

GA

THE EARL

Mon, 11 Mar 2019

NEW ORLEANS

LA

GASA GASA

Sun, 17 Mar 2019

DALLAS

TX

CLUB DADA

Tue, 19 Mar 2019

DENVER

CO

GLOBE HALL

Wed, 20 Mar 2019

SALT LAKE CITY

UT

KILBY COURT

Thu, 21 Mar 2019

BOISE

ID

TREEFORT MUSIC FESTIVAL

Fri, 22 Mar 2019

RENO

NV

HOLLAND PROJECT

Sat, 23 Mar 2019

VISALIA

CA

CELLAR DOOR