Mike Krol – Turkey (Merge Records, 2015)

a2405520611_10Before Mike Krol signed on with Merge Records, he released two albums of no-fuss, overdriven garage punk that had hooks galore and a nice outsider-y appeal. Sort of like a low-rent Ty Segall or a cousin to any number of other guys combining the simplicity of ’60s garage with the snarling attitude of ’70s punk and recording it in a dingy basement.

Any fears that moving to the relative bigtime would cause Krol to get all slick or suddenly discover fidelity are swatted down on the first track of his 2015 mini-LP, Turkey. “Suburban Wasteland” comes swaggering out of the gates like a drunk sailor, Krol slurring his vocals while clanging away on grungy guitars and bashing the heck out of some tinny cymbals that sound about ready to give up the ghost. His lyrics extol the the glory of escaping dead-end suburbia and family restrictions, setting Krol up as a punk through and through. On the rest of the album Krol wails his way through blown-out songs about stolen bikes (“Neighborhood Watch”), being invited to an ex’s wedding (“Save the Date”), and being an outsider even within the outsider community (“Left Out [ATTN: So-Cal Garage Rockers]”); rocks hard through some tightly wound, high-energy tracks (“La La La,” “Less Than Together”) that any Segall acolyte would be glad to claim; and even caps off the 19-minute energy blast that preceded it with a lovely piano ballad (the wryly titled “Piano Shit”). Through its short running time Krol doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before, but that’s really OK. He’s got energy to spare, some really good songs, and a snide, slightly wounded voice of his own. Add in how well the quick-and-dirty production style suits the songs and Turkey ends up being a fine introduction to Krol and his sound.


Brendan Cavenagho


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