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Press Play: Madeline Kenney

todayAugust 28, 2020


Madeline Kenney is a Californian singer-songwriter currently based in Oakland. After a clandestine meeting with indie recording artist Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi, Kenney’s debut LP Night Night At The First Landing soon followed in 2017. Through revolving loops and introspective lyrics that explore the intricacies of her relationships– laced gently with a sense of humor that flowed like honey– she layed the groundwork for more musical grandiosity to come.

Perfect Shapes, Kenney’s second album, arrived a year later. With some help from Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner on production, each track contains tastefully ornate arrangements. Kenney’s frazzled guitar lines form the backbone of these songs while her voice lies at the center. Tasteful flecks of saxophone in “No Weekend” shine through the gaps between Wasner’s languid bass and Kenney’s shimmering guitar. The moment that defines Perfect Shapes comes with standout “Cut Me Off”, a clever song of which ends abruptly as she sings the playful line.

This past July brought Madeline Kenney’s latest record Sucker’s Lunch. Produced by Jenn Wasner and fellow Wye Oakian Andy Stack, the rhythms simmer while layering guitars, keys, drums and the occasional saxophone into mid-tempo dreampop hooks. Kenney’s saccharine vocals glide on her melodies, softening her sharp and sometimes dark lyrics. On standout track “Picture of You”, she muses on her perceived shortcomings, “I know I’m a lot / I’m waiting for this to get easy.” Overall, Madeline Kenney has shown mastery in tackling thorny subjects with complex and beautifully crafted songs.

Written by: Maria