New Music: Friday Roll Out! With Eerie Wanda, Mike Krol

Well, it’s Friday and Weezer surprised the world with The Teal Album yesterday, which is a cover album. Yeah, I’m not here to talk about that today because you know, you can figure it out yourself by listening to it anywhere, or everywhere, else.

This is complete insanity for a new music Friday but then again what can you do Life is odd but again, what can you do?

I’ve been listening to Power Chords (Merge Records), the newest record by Mike Krol and while this is his second record for his current label and his fourth overall, this comes as my introduction to his music. Now, the L.A. musician/art designer fits the album with loads of distortion, heavy riffing, and loud guitars, giving the obvious reasoning behind naming his album ‘power chords.’

Sure it’s 2019 and Krol sings melodically on top of the noisy backdrop that obviously isn’t your dad’s music, that is unless your dad was a fan of those Frank Black albums. Comparisons are cheap I know, but I think Krol owes much to Frank Black (or Black Francis, or Charles Thompson IV, or whichever name he’s performing under these days) and his style of play. This isn’t an attempt to take anything away from Krol, but the similarities are uncanny but I’m sure non-intentional. While he writes clever pop songs enveloped in walls of distortion, I’m not sure I can find any distinguishing factors that showcase his own identity. I thought I could find that looking back at the opening title track but his breathy vocal delivery when dynamics are shifted down finds the same yearning as does the song’s structure. Am I reaching? I don’t think so.

On “What’s The Rhythm,” you could easily find the Pixies man behind the guitar here but it’s obviously Krol sounding like it’s 1996. But it doesn’t all sound like a game of mimicking as “An Ambulance” takes a pop turn with a layered vocal chorus and happily jumping guitar play while “Little Drama” takes a much more punk aesthetic route mowing down everything in its path. Krol has one speed here and he’s not afraid to kick out the jams. All is definitely not lost with “Left For Dead.” It opens with some false starts before finally exploding into a cacophonic bliss, giving a middle finger to both the punk and pop crowd. But then it reverts back to my original opinion here with “Blue and Pink” and “I Wonder.” I’m on the fence here with Power Chords. On the one hand I want to bounce off the walls with all the heaviness but then I think I should pull out some of my favorite albums from a couple of decades ago for that.

It isn’t difficult to find solace within Marina Tadic’s voice and songwriting. The only thing is though, it takes a little patience to get there, and that’s not usually a problem but in a world of fast-paced wants and immediate gratification, some might be deterred. I’ll explain. Tadic is the voice and creative force behind Eerie Wanda and with Pet Town (Joyful Noise Recordings), her sophomore release, there’s a bit of a repetitive lag opening the tracks before she begins. Given, we’re referring to maybe 10-20 seconds, which I don’t have a problem with, but for millennials it may be a lifetime. Who can wait? This guy right here, that’s who.

Tadic doesn’t do anything extraordinary from track to track and that just might be the beauty of it all. Her layering vocals, guitars, percussion, and other sounds & instrumentation make for one creative output. Saying there isn’t anything extraordinary is probably a misnomer because what we’re left with are landscapes of colorful sounds. Just three songs into the album and listeners should be magnetized to the album. If it doesn’t happen, it’s no fault of Eerie Wanda, as the sweet softness of every track is hypnotic. You’d be hard pressed to find a stinker amongst the grouping of tracks.

The ease in which Eerie Wanda finds melodies lurking at every turn is astounding. Through “Magnetic Woman,” as well as other tracks, there’s a sense Pet Town encompasses more than one genre, combining them to form something quite unique. I’m literally in awe of Eerie Wanda after listening to “Sleepy Eyes.” You might think it’s going to be a different take on “Jailhouse Rock” but confounds into something full of harmonies and glory. Eerie Wanda isn’t going to be easy to pigeonhole because Marina Tudic is clash of cultures in more ways than one. Pet Town has raised the bar early this year. Let’s see who else is able to catch up with her.