Advance Review & Artist Spotlight - Madeline Kenney


(Photo Credit: Cara Robbins)

We had the pleasure of interviewing rising alt/indie star Madeline Kenney regarding her upcoming album Perfect Shapes set to be released on October 5. We were also able to get access to the album early and review it. Check out our review and our interview with the fantastically talented Madeline Kenney below!

Madeline Kenney - Perfect Shapes

1. "Overhead" - Soft intro with great vocals, before rhythm picks up a bit. Steady beat throughout the track, combined with the vocals make for a solid opening track. Lyrically, this song seems to deal a lot with being in one's head space (good or bad) and the potential demons that come along with it.

2. "Bad Idea" - Electronic beats here, again with solid vocals. Percussion and vocals are especially driving in this song.

3. "Cut me Off" - Begins with automated vocals with a countdown. This song has a noticeably more pop sound than the previous two tracks. This has been one of the lead singles from the album and we can see why. We can see this having heavy rotation on alternative stations.

4. "No Weekend" - Continues the alt-pop sound, but with a stronger presence of guitar here.

5. "Know" - Melodic guitar work and fantastic vocal work here. We loved the mixture of the beat and the guitar work that picks up a quarter of the way in. Kenney is a master of melody and it is so apparent on this track.

6. "The Flavor of the Fruit Tree" - Kenney comes back to electronic melodies here and we love the versatility track to track. There is diversity among sound on the album, but it all fits. The aging process and mortality seems to be the topic of the track here as Kenney

7. "I Went Home" - This track has a mix of alt and ambient sounds to it and they blend together brilliantly. The song moves in waves as it progresses and more guitars join in on the fun. Just an exquisitely written song.

8. "Perfect Shapes" - Electronic beat kicks off the track with some effects driven vocals. Lyrically, the song seems to be detailing a hesitant relationship in which one of the partners ultimately decides to commit to. Our favorite lyric of the track was "When I woke up, I could hear the tern fly / If I said that I was leaving, I lied".

9. "Your Art" - The song starts with a rolling drumbeat, combined with vocals with light effects. Some distorted guitar soon joins in and we're off to the races. Kenney is extremely hard to comp, but this track reminds of a slower Cranberries track. We once again deal with issues of age in mortality thematically in this track.

10. "Always Around Me" - Ambient guitar and soft vocals fill this song which ends the album. Lyrically and thematically, it describes a relationship in which one party seems to have the need to be with the other and cannot be alone. It is perhaps not the most healthy relationship described. Regardless the guitar, the melody, and the vocals in this song at points almost push on jazz and it's just a great way to end the album.

Closing Thoughts - This is such a strong album from Kenney. Having spoke with her, we know she likes to explore what she can do sonically and thematically and she certainly does that here. This album is well worth your time, in short it is brilliant. It features a diverse collection of songs that while they sound different, are also tied thematically and fit together. Kenney has achieved something great here.

Rating: 5/5

Artist Spotlight - Madeline Kenney

1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?

"I started playing piano in kindergarten, which became very intense, but I'm glad I did it. I taught myself guitar at 16 and was in bands in high school. I had never thought to pursue music. However, I moved to the Bay Area in 2014 and started trying harder and things fell into play. I didn't realize it was my job until I was able to quit a shitty job and go on tour".

2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?

"A lot of my writing process has loop pedals, but then I started producing a specific sound. I don't stick to a specific process, having a specific process gives me anxiety. I wrote 'Rita' two weeks before recording it in five minutes".

3. What artists have inspired you in your career?

"Arthur Russel, Kate Bush, Jenny Hval, and Yo La Tengo are artists I have enjoyed. Influenced is difficult to say, because I feel that stuff naturally seeps in from your experience". 4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?

"I have a Boss Super Shifter Ps-5 (flatter and T-arm) that I use on my guitar and vocals. I also have an RC30 Looper, a DD6 Reverse Delay, but it just broke. I also build a lot of pedals as well".

5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?

"I love playing shows, that is my favorite part of being a musician. I am always concerned that people are having fun and not taking themselves to seriously. However, I am also always concerned that there is a level or respect in the room between the audience and the artist and the audience and audience. I also want to convey a message to the audience through my music"

"Regarding venues, it's good when the audience is there for what you have to offer, they can either be a mirror or a vacuum of energy. A negative is misogyny that occurs in the music industry like men asking me if I need help setting up my equipment as if I don't understand how to do it".

6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?

"I'm interested in exploring what music has to offer, style, sonically, and with gear. I ask humbly that people approach it with an open mind".

7.Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?​

"I do! my album Perfect Shapes is coming out October 5 and I'm going to be touring. Also, I maybe working on some top secret concept stuff. Maybe."

Tour Dates:

Mon, OCT 15

The Crepe Place

Santa Cruz, CA

Thu, OCT 18

Rickshaw Stop

San Francisco, CA

Sat, OCT 20

The Moroccan Lounge

Los Angeles, CA

Sun, OCT 21

Che Cafe

San Diego, CA

Thu, NOV 01

Baby's All Right

Brooklyn, NY

Fri, NOV 02

Tellus 360

Lancaster, PA

Sat, NOV 03

Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House

Washington, DC

Sun, NOV 04

PhilaMOCA

Philadelphia, PA

Tue, NOV 06

Monarch Tavern

Toronto, Canada

Wed, NOV 07

Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

Cleveland, OH

Thu, NOV 08

MOTR Pub

Cincinnati, OH

Fri, NOV 09

Schubas Tavern

Chicago, IL

Sun, NOV 11

Le Guess Who?

Utrecht, Netherlands

Tue, NOV 13

Green Door Store

Brighton, United Kingdom

Wed, NOV 14

Rough Trade Bristol

Bristol, United Kingdom

Thu, NOV 15

Sebright Arms

London, United Kingdom

Fri, NOV 16

Petit Bain

Paris, France

Sat, NOV 17

Autumn Leaves

Graz, Austria

Sun, NOV 18

Monarch Bar

Berlin, Germany

Tue, NOV 20

Le Botanique

Brussels, Belgium


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