Posts Tagged ‘Madeline Kenney’

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Last week, Oakland, C.A singer songwriter Madeline Kenney released her third LP, “Sucker’s Lunch”, which reinforced the twangy dream pop sound she’d been working toward on her first two full-lengths. Her capacity for piling on layers of muted instrumentation to match her hushed vocals arguably hits its peak on the mid-album “Tell You Everything,” a climatic moment of vulnerability on the lovelorn LP.

It’s this track that Kenney chose to play for us on her acoustic guitar in Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park for “Neighborhoods,” strumming and singing over programmed drums and woodwind-like synths. Watch the performance below, and grab a listen to Sucker’s Lunch  (or, if you purchase it on Bandcamp today, 100 percent of proceeds will go to the artist and Carpark Records—additionally, proceeds from her merch will benefit a BIPOC doula training fund and Beirut relief orgs).

Madeline Kenney performs a track from her new album, “Sucker’s Lunch,” at Joaquin Miller park in Oakland, CA.

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As she prepares to release her third LP, Oakland’s Madeline Kenney is building a consistent and downright exquisite body of work. The singer and multi-instrumentalist co-produced Sucker’s Lunch with Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, and Kenney has tightened her role in a bicoastal clique that has been spawning intriguing indie pop from Durham, N.C. to the Bay Area. On “Double Hearted,” Kenney’s synths and vocals soar in wavelengths as she sings, “voices get me high…!” on the hook, alongside Stack’s rhythmic percussion and Wasner’s unmistakable bass. Kenney’s first two albums showed skill and promise, but there’s something bolder and lasting building on Sucker’s Lunch. The new song today! ‘Double Hearted’ you can also watch a silly jello-filled lyric video + get some info on how I made the tune

“Double Hearted” is the second single taken from Madeline Kenney’s forthcoming album, “Sucker’s Lunch,” out July 31st.

Madeline Kenney: Sucker's Lunch: Limited Edition Custard Vinyl + Signed Card

Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter Madeline Kenney announced a new album, “Sucker’s Lunch”, and shared its first single, “Sucker,” via a self-directed video for the track. “Go on ahead without me,” Kenney passionately and repeatedly sings while sitting at the counter of a diner towards the end of the video. “Sucker” features guest vocals from Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner.

Sucker’s Lunch is Kenney’s third album and is due out July 31st via Carpark Records.

Sucker’s Lunch is the follow-up to 2018’s Perfect Shapes and her 2017-released debut album, Night Night at the First Landing (which was produced by Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bear). Perfect Shapes was produced by Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes. Wasner returns as producer for Sucker’s Lunch, but this time she’s joined by her Wye Oak bandmate Andy Stack (aka Joyero). The album was recorded in Durham, Oakland, and San Francisco.

A press release explains that “thematically, Sucker’s Lunch sees Kenney soberly contrasting the risks and rewards of falling in love, eventually deciding to dive headfirst into her own foolishness and relish in the unknowing.”

Kenney elaborates in the press release: “I’m not interested in something easy or immediately apparent. My experience writing these songs wasn’t easy, it was painful and difficult. I was terrified of falling in love, and as much as I’d like to write a sticky sweet song for someone, it doesn’t come naturally to me. Instead I wanted to explore the tiny moments; sitting alone in my room guessing what the other person was thinking, spiraling into a maze of logical reasons to bail and finding my way out again. When I spoke with friends about the theme of the ‘idiot,’ it became apparent that everyone understood that feeling and was relieved to hear it echoed in someone else.”

As for “Sucker,” Kenney had this to say: “When I lived in Durham, I found myself sitting in the sun on the porch with a musical hero of mine, who was worried about losing their healthcare and not being able to afford to tour. It blew my mind and broke my heart that such a genius had to struggle with uncertainty in trying to make their art. I wrote ‘Sucker’ when I realized that all of us continue to make art, and fall in love, and attempt things that logically could fall apart at any moment, but we are fools for the game and keep producing, keep pursuing. I asked Kurt Wagner to sing on the track because I feel like he is consistently brave in his songwriting (and I’m a HUGE Lambchop fan). When he sent me the stems, I drank a martini and cried.”

Of the “Sucker” video she had this to say: “I’m a huge fan of con-movies; my favorite film is Paper Moon. I wanted to direct a video that put me as the con-man, whose existence relies on making suckers out of passers-by; but ended with me being the biggest loser of all. I lucked out when my favourite Oakland diner, Lois the Pie Queen, let us film on location.”

“Sucker” is the first single taken from Madeline Kenney’s forthcoming album, “Sucker’s Lunch,” out July 31st.

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Last year, this neurobiology-trained folk-gazer released her stunning debut “Night Night At the First Landing”, which showcased her penchant for flipping the pop script. Her second album, which she recorded with Wye Oak’s sonic scientist Jenn Wasner, is full of strong writing and headphone-worthy details; the skip-stepping central riff of “Cut Me Off” is tethered to earth by resolute drums and a crosswalk signal’s barked “Wait!”; “The Flavor of the Fruit Tree” pairs the wow and flutter of an analog synth with hovering-in-midair harmonies and julienned vocal samples; and the simmering “Your Art” recalls Built to Spill at its most inviting, then blasts off into space on its coda, on which shooting-star guitars and a gently blown trumpet trade lullaby verses until they’re both safely ensconced in dreamland. Wriggling against expectations and bursting with ideas, Perfect Shapes is restless and smart, taking often-surprising, always-pleasing paths to pure pop bliss.

“Perfect Shapes” is the fourth single taken from Madeline Kenney’s forthcoming album, “Perfect Shapes,” out October 5th.

When we first heard of Madeline Kenney, there was always a preface summarizing her curious range of expertise aside from music — modern dance, baking, neuroscience. Then more new music kept arriving, and though those biographical facts remain curious trivia, the songs overshadow everything else. Produced by Toro Y Moi, Kenney’s full-length debut Night Night At The First Landing arrived at the end of the summer.


True to its nocturnal name and cover, it’s an album for solitary, meandering nights, flitting between painterly dreamscapes and ‘90s alt-rock catharses. Songs like “Rita” and “Always” are big distorted guitar monuments that drown rather than pummel (in the best way) and the album as a whole is frequently gorgeous. It’s a promising beginning: Kenney’s built her early career on taking well-worn touchstones and managing to wring something new out of them, making them her own in the process.


“Big One” is taken from Madeline Kenney’s forthcoming debut, “Night Night At The First Landing,” out September 1st on Company Records.

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“I’m up on the wall/ I make it look easy cause that’s what they want.” That’s the way Madeline Kenney opens “Rita,” but it’s not a flex. The way she sings it, backed by the soft glow of a thrumming bass and a twinkling guitar, it sounds more wistful than anything else, a painful reminder that even the so-called heroes among us are just messy people dealing with their own shit. But that chorus is where the song goes from good to great, the blissfully searing guitar pyrotechnics soothed by Kenney’s softly cooing vocals as the titular “Rita” becomes a cathartic mantra. Kenney’s upcoming debut full-length, like last year’s Signals EP, was produced by Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bear, but this isn’t one of those times where an established name foists his trademark sound on a relative unknown. Instead, “Rita” is all Kenney’s show, and even when the song itself builds towards a explosive, anxiety-induced climax, she sounds as in control as ever.

“Rita” is taken from Madeline Kenney’s forthcoming debut, “Night Night At The First Landing,” out September 1st on Company Records.