|Madeline Kenney — Night Night At The First Landing|
Madeline Kenney — Night Night At The First Landing≈≠↓ Po takovém sebevědomém debutu, jakým Night Night At The First Landing doopravdy je, můžeme jen doufat, že v blízké budoucnosti uslyšíme další krásu a nesmazatelný piercing od Kenney. Má za sebou už poměrně slušnou profesionální kariéru: má vědeckou odbornost v neurovědách, strávila devět let jako pekařka a nyní pracuje jako učitelka na klavír, chůva a funguje také v malém labelu v San Franciscu. Nejlepší milostné písně vás rozesmějí a přimějí plakat. Album provází turné ve 13~ti městech od SanFra, přes Queens a Chicago a zpátky dolů do San Diega s takovými esy, jakými jsou Dent May, Leather Tramp, Vallis Alps, Widowspeak, Julie Odell, Cameron Avery a Jay Som.
≈≠↓ MADELINE KENNEY WOWS WITH HER DELICATELY TRANSCENDENT DEBUT ALBUM. ≈≠↓ She is a trained neuroscientist. Location: Seattle, WA ~ Oakland, California
Album release: Sept. 1, 2017
Record Label: Company Records
01 Don’t Forget // There’s Room 3:24
02 Rita 2:54
03 Witching Hour 3:04
04 John In Irish 4:44
05 This Way // You’re Happy 2:02
06 Always 3:30
07 Big One 2:58
08 Waitless 3:09
09 Uncommon 3:22
10 Give Up // On Anything 3:41
≈ Producer: Chaz Bear
≈ Album art by Wayne Shellabarger
≈≠↓ Madeline Kenney begins her new album with a helpful reminder: “Don’t forget, there’s room for you.” The declaration is meant to lay to rest unnecessary competition. The universe is pretty large. It’s a fitting welcome to Kenney’s debut full~length, Night Night At The First Landing. The record is framed by meditative, repetitive recordings that each offer some kind of encouragement. “Don’t you worry about a thing, you’re fine.” “I won’t give up on anything now.” The trip on Night Night is deciding whether the narrator is full of confidence or talking to themselves privately. Kenney began working on the record immediately after completing her first EP, 2016’s Signals. As with Signals, Company Records label head Chaz Bundick (Toro Y Moi) was on hand as producer, but with Kenney as the arranger and key creative force, Night Night reveals more of the artist. Kenney wrote and arranged all the songs and tracked most of the instruments at home. “No one’s a hero for just being strong,” Kenney sings on first single “Rita,” letting us know it’s about action and how that strength is utilized. It takes guts. The song bursts with an exhilarating guitar workout providing a clear~headed version of distorted bliss. Similarly euphoric is a mathy tapout on “Witching Hour.” Narratives of people and how those people affect others are surrounded by musical worlds of echo and propulsion. The melody through~line of “Always” is a transfixing piano part of royal heritage. “Big One” is a lyrical puzzle and a musical skip across happy times. The album is unavoidably dreamy, dipping into sweet fuzz while usually sailing through smooth, crystalline production. The songs are about people, and though people sometimes disappoint, this record is meant to comfort. Fall into it and imagine the clouds scooping you up, or the changing tide’s ripples gliding you past a gentle moon’s new reflection. Pressed on purple vinyl; includes digital download.
BY CLAIRE GREISING | 31 August 2017 | Score: 8
≈≠↓ “Don’t forget / There’s room for you,” Madeline Kenney sings on the opening track of her ethereal debut album, inviting listeners to submerge themselves in the immersive and delicately transcendent Night Night at the First Landing. Over the course of the next ten tracks, Kenney croons, croaks, and cries her way to one of the best albums of 2017.
≈≠↓ In many ways, the last few years have proven to be a big moment for quietly profound female vocalists. From Lorde to Florist, Frankie Cosmos to Waxahatchee — it could be difficult for a newcomer like Kenney to differentiate herself amongst the noise. Even so, she carves out a place in this community with this release on Company.
≈≠↓ Part of Kenney’s appeal is the unique road she that has brought her here. Her journey is something of a Cinderella story. Kenney worked for many years as a baker in the Bay Area preceding pursuing music full~time. Before settling, she called many beautiful places home: the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, British Columbia, and elsewhere. Kenney’s background gives her an everyman quality and a sonic placelessness that renders her music universally listenable. No matter who or where you are, it’s possible that Kenney’s astute lyrics and dreamy guitar will feel relevant to you.
≈≠↓ Kenney is informed by her unique experiences, and this knowledge bleeds into lyrics and instrumentals that are subtly and simply profound. In melancholy and lovelorn “Big One”, she perfectly sums up the listless feeling of living a life you no longer recognize, belting, “What has become of my life? / I’m stretching out the good things / And keeping time.” “Witching Hour” sounds like a bizarre love~child between Mitski and Sleater~Kinney, with its raw emotion and grungy guitar. “John in Irish”, which is simply one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, incorporates blurry guitar riffs reminiscent of Slowdive or Beach House paired with breathtaking, Angel Olsen~esque vocals.
≈≠↓ However, in an album steeped in heady dreaminess, she also finds room to showcase her humor. “Waitless” follows a partner staying awake in wait for their lover to come home. She opens with “there’s something so good about coming home late and finding you waiting for me / In my apartment, I hear all the neighbors, they’re fucking or watching TV.” The track ends with a comic button, when Kenney deadpans, “You’ve fallen asleep.” Calling to mind the observational one~liners of Australian indie musician Courtney Barnett, this kind of dry playfulness is refreshing and exposes a lyrical confidence to match Kenney’s vocal intensity.
≈≠↓ Night Night at the First Landing is a reliably satisfying listen throughout, but that’s not to say that the album is one~note. Kenney folds in surprises, specifically with samples of children speaking, newscasts, and other interesting sound bites. These inserts bind the tracks together, which adds a completeness to the album that is often absent in debut works. It’s likely that this is due in~part to Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bear, producer of both Night Night and Kenney’s previously released LP, Signals. Kenney’s point~of~view and musical prowess combined with Chaz Bear’s reputation for inventiveness ultimately culminates in an unprecedented and sonically intriguing listening experience.
≈≠↓ This album is a triumph and bodes well for things to come from Kenney. As she continues to expand her musical horizons — she is currently learning how to produce and engineer at the Women’s Audio Mission — it’s clear that we’ll be hearing more in the future. Though the album wishes listeners a Night Night, it is certain that Kenney is preparing a musical dawn for the coming morning. ≈≠↓ http://www.popmatters.com/
By Emily Reily | August 31, 2017 | 9:44am | Score: 7.4
≈≠↓ Singer~songwriter Madeline Kenney spent time as a neurologist, baker, dancer and nanny, but music was never far behind; she studied piano when she was 5. Lucky for us, those early memories never faded.
≈≠↓ The Seattle~born Kenney wrote, arranged and recorded her debut, Night Night at the First Landing, with production help from Chaz Bundick (Toro Y Moi), but the eclectic indie rock mix of the album is all her own. She’s in command of every song, crafting shoegaze and indiepop time capsules in the vein of Mazzy Star or Jessy Lanza. The album continuously skirts the edges of sonic tension with a well~crafted dappling of comet~shaped, dreamy pings and dips.
≈≠↓ Initially, her songs seemed to focus more on moody thoughtfulness than a specific message. The pensive notes and guitar loops in “Don’t Forget // There’s Room” support just two lines of lyrics, half of which are in the title, so you get an immediate sense she’s not going to spell anything out. As the album naturally progresses, who and what she’s lashing out becomes clearer, and these deciphered messages become her thought process.
≈≠↓ “Always” gives a clearer idea of her struggles with a controlling person — after the song’s understated intro, it bounds ahead, with a full garage rock tapestry and dreamy highlights. “Does it sit right with you? You can skip out / While all the rest of us are chewing self doubt,” she reassures, later promising “I can take, and I will.”
≈≠↓ Kenney often includes ambient soundbites in her music, a characteristic not uncommon these days in indie rock. A solitary piano note on “This Way // You’re Happy” segues into nostalgic home movie~style commentary about a catastrophic earthquake and a child talking about a “sleepy dinosaur.” Other sounds on Night Night are just as touching. The album is full of guitar loops, clicking percussion and high~pitched, wavering notes that reverberate and fade. Swirling guitar brings and echoing vocals bring layers of distortion.
≈≠↓ The overtly sexual lines in “Big One” are a non~subtle peek into her passion for someone: “My other car is your face/ It drives me wild,” she sings unabashedly over a swarthy, laid~back beat. Smooth, electric, ribbony guitar licks on “Big One” beckon Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage. “Rita” takes a shoegaze~y stance over a dazzling swooping guitar hook and a powerful ending that hints at ‘90s Breeders. Overlapping guitar layers and Kenney’s ending wail make the brief song explode.
≈≠↓ One of her strongest songs, “Uncommon,” begins as a respite, but with so much of Night Night, that feeling of tension returns. “What’s so uncommon?” she continues to ask, growing agitated. Finally, she lets go: “Now I’ve come with a backbone, and I can’t wait.” Jangly, floating guitar strums lead to the end: “Stick the knife… in him.” For such a self~assured debut as Night Night at the First Landing, we can only hope to hear more beauty and pain from Kenney in the near future.
|Madeline Kenney — Night Night At The First Landing|
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