The recipe for Mikal Cronin's debut album was simple: a guitar, a tape recorder, a college dorm room and a generous helping of fuzz-laden crooning.
Two years later and things are slightly more complex. Cronin's follow-up was recorded deep in San Francisco's Chinatown at cult studio Bauer Mansion and features guest appearences from Charles Moothart and Thee Oh Sees' Petey Dammit.
Released in May, 'MCII' wasn't just a musical adjustment for Cronin, it was a complete departure from the introverted working style that propelled his early recordings.
“I enjoy doing things by myself but it’s also really fun to get people to do things you couldn't possibly accomplish on your own. I definitely had to bring somebody else in for the strings and it's really exciting that way. I hope to keep finding more people to add different layers to the music.”
And if there's one thing 'MCII' has, it's layers. Cronin arranges intricate guitar lines and psych rock fog over stories of confused love affairs.
It may sound effortless but making the shift to band leader came as something of a shock for Cronin, who until recently occupied the backseat position of sometime bassist for Ty Segall.
“I like how people are interested enough to come to shows with me playing my own music but it also takes some major adjustment trying to lead a band and be a frontman.
"That stress is definitely a driving force, though, and one of those things I'll overcome. It's all positive.”
Mikal Cronin plays Black Bear Lodge as part of Valley Fiesta Friday November 22.