Expect to see the name of California power-pop rocker Mikal Cronin a lot in 2013's year-end best-of lists. His latest album, MCII, is a collection of sweet, tender yet fuzz-toned jams that aim for the heart and hit their target hard. Tuesday night, Cronin made his late-night TV debut on Conan, playing album gem "Change" with a three-piece band and string section. Watch above.
If you haven't heard MCII, well, do yourself a favor. There's a simple reason Fuse picked it for inclusion on our 40 Best Albums of 2013 So Far list: It rocks. Cronin got his start playing with SF garage rock hero Ty Segall, then applied his chops to more nuanced power-pop gems custom-fitted for fans of '90s classics, like Weezer's Blue Album and Nada Surf's High/Low. The MCII tracks include piano, strings, Hawaiian guitar twang, acoustic strums and more, but live Cronin brings the raw power—watch above for proof.