Magdalena Bay • A Little Rhythm And A Wicked Feeling (2020) [RIYL: future-nostalgic pop]

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super-talented young pop duo based in LA who released their debut EP in March (and have a bunch of stand-alone singles preceding the EP). they also make DIY/green-screen videos for pretty much every song they've released which has become essential to their charm and appeal.

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1935549572_10.jpg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S5ukw4YOSg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX6Yr83sK_Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhfs1CzzUPM

winters (josh), Friday, 1 May 2020 23:27 (two years ago) link

(also best pop release of the year imo)

winters (josh), Friday, 1 May 2020 23:38 (two years ago) link

This is great. Thanks for sharing

the article don, Saturday, 2 May 2020 16:42 (two years ago) link

i remember "the girls" was on my eoy tracks playlist in whatever year but i hadn't checked back in on them, these are pretty good too

ciderpress, Saturday, 2 May 2020 17:56 (two years ago) link

I enjoyed this EP a lot, it is very much shambhala done right, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the singer was very influenced by Grimes vocal style, to the point it was a bit distracting

boxedjoy, Sunday, 3 May 2020 14:45 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

I heard one of their previous releases and thought it was promising. This is better - "Good Intentions" and "Airplane" are gorgeous songs

Vinnie, Friday, 5 June 2020 12:25 (two years ago) link

"good intentions" is so great

the singer sounds very much like charli xcx to my ears which is weird because i don't think she's british and charli sounds very british?

ufo, Friday, 5 June 2020 13:09 (two years ago) link

I hear a blend of familiar voices: Charli, Grimes as boxedjoy mentioned, and Gwen Stefani in a couple places

Vinnie, Friday, 5 June 2020 15:23 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

they've released a bunch of new singles over the last few months, this is my favourite:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KbkPIjUW-Y

ufo, Thursday, 29 October 2020 22:48 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

Came across MB while trying to catch up on the year via RYM.

It's been some time since I've heard an electropop band so consistent. Nary a dud in the 20 short songs they've released over the past 17 months. Vinnie (above) nailed the obvious sonic references, I hear some Prince in their melodic tics. Co-sign with Josh, don't sleep on this.

oblique allergies (Sanpaku), Monday, 30 November 2020 19:28 (one year ago) link

That song ufo linked sounds like Charli in both voice and production now. Love the way it blows up halfway through

Vinnie, Tuesday, 1 December 2020 02:23 (one year ago) link

really happy to see more love for them!

they just released the second volume of their "mini mix" series which is called mini mix, vol. 2, and they're working on their debut album which is likely to be released next year

here are some tracks from mini mix, vol. 2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiATVknOfl4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwl-nF6Uhbo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1cEbOoFgec

winters (josh), Tuesday, 1 December 2020 04:06 (one year ago) link

mini mix vol. 2 is all good but "live4ever" is still the best from it. super excited for the eventual album

ufo, Tuesday, 1 December 2020 05:20 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ben9qDbrLYU

album Mercurial World out 8 october

ufo, Thursday, 1 July 2021 00:16 (one year ago) link

this is a huge leap forward for them, excited for the album now

boxedjoy, Thursday, 1 July 2021 12:57 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlhIk7iPU9o

this rules

ufo, Wednesday, 11 August 2021 21:11 (one year ago) link

I’ve always loved this group but their new songs are absolutely tremendous

monotony, Friday, 13 August 2021 12:13 (one year ago) link

Love this new track.

four weeks pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQPXX_eZZAk

this is immense, that wall of noise in the chorus!

ufo, Wednesday, 15 September 2021 22:36 (one year ago) link

Holy fuck at Chaeri, I should have been here earlier.

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 21 September 2021 03:30 (one year ago) link

potential top ten track methinks

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 21 September 2021 03:30 (one year ago) link

will be digging into everything else

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 21 September 2021 03:32 (one year ago) link

"good intentions" is their best track still but "you lose" is my favourite of the new ones so far

ufo, Tuesday, 21 September 2021 03:42 (one year ago) link

I’ve always loved this group but their new songs are absolutely tremendous

― monotony

X2

✖✖✖ (Moka), Tuesday, 21 September 2021 03:46 (one year ago) link

Yeah this new one is great. Cool video too

Vinnie, Tuesday, 21 September 2021 05:34 (one year ago) link

Honestly proud for Chris from gorillavsbear / luminelle, the list of artists in his label is fucking amazing: Munya, Magdalena Bay and Helena Deland in particular all have been making some of my favorite music of the past years, and they seem to get better with each release.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Tuesday, 21 September 2021 16:47 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwjshPNrWtY

album's going to be great

ufo, Wednesday, 6 October 2021 09:19 (eleven months ago) link

4 out of 4 great singles so far.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Wednesday, 6 October 2021 18:23 (eleven months ago) link

album is a total triumph! one of this year's best

ufo, Thursday, 7 October 2021 22:50 (eleven months ago) link

highly seconded!! what a joy to listen to this knockout of a record ^___^

winters (josh), Friday, 8 October 2021 05:06 (eleven months ago) link

and of course the record has circular replay value with “The Beginning” flowing seamlessly into “The End” — beautiful stuff *chef’s kiss*

winters (josh), Friday, 8 October 2021 05:17 (eleven months ago) link

they put a lot of effort into the segues

ufo, Friday, 8 October 2021 05:24 (eleven months ago) link

Love it, have it on repeat this morning.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Friday, 8 October 2021 15:22 (eleven months ago) link

Wow, this album is incredible. I liked the first album a good amount, but this is in a different league.

kitchen person, Saturday, 9 October 2021 04:41 (eleven months ago) link

The step-up from this album to the last one is mindblowing. It’s like they skipped a full album of evolving their sound.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 9 October 2021 04:59 (eleven months ago) link

Definitely! I can't remember the last time someone did a step-up this huge. I don't want to go to sleep as I just want to hear this album on repeat.

kitchen person, Saturday, 9 October 2021 05:03 (eleven months ago) link

this album is comfort food; there's nothing wrong with this and hey, they do tweak the formula by adding the odd videogame synth, but it is that familiar now-via-80s vibe and sure you can like it - I'm not even sure I don't - but if I see any of you claiming this as some sort of revolutionary step forward during EOY season I'm gonna be very disappointed

imago, Saturday, 9 October 2021 07:14 (eleven months ago) link

not sure why you're already arguing against some strawman. it doesn't have to be a revolutionary step forward to be a very strong pop album that carves out its own niche very successfully. there's plenty to be excited about here even if it isn't revolutionary.

i also don't think this is that huge a step up from last year's EP, it's certainly better but the signs were all there that they were capable of making something this strong.

ufo, Saturday, 9 October 2021 07:32 (eleven months ago) link

if you want them at their closest to how i'm feeling now i recommend "good intentions"

ufo, Saturday, 9 October 2021 07:35 (eleven months ago) link

OK, may check that

I'll relisten to the album today, see if the hooks sink in further. As I say, I didn't hate my first listen but it did feel like a (slight) nowification of something that's been prevalent in pop for a few years

imago, Saturday, 9 October 2021 07:49 (eleven months ago) link

i think this album also has much more going on than just 80s reference points - obviously that's a huge part of their sound but they're drawing on all sorts of pop sounds (not just the 80s) fairly liberally. it's a little refreshing compared to how pastiche-y this sort of stuff can often be.

ufo, Monday, 11 October 2021 08:14 (eleven months ago) link

That's why I said now-via-80s! It's very much an album deeply informed by the last few years of pop. You Lose! is at least a monster banger

imago, Monday, 11 October 2021 08:38 (eleven months ago) link

what sort of recent stuff do you mean? 'now via the 80s' makes me think of like, dua lipa or the weeknd which aren't really what this reminds me of

there's a lot of 90s influences too, "domino" and "you lose!" are shoegaze-ish, "mercurial world" is ray of light-adjacent, "secrets" has that thin 90s synth line along with its very 80s synth orchestral hits, "prophecy" is a 90s-ish r&b ballad, etc.

& yeah "you lose!" is very cool, has anyone even done that sort of chiptune-shoegaze before, or at least that well? i do wish the album represented the side of their sound that's keeping up with charli's best work though, "good intentions", "live 4ever" etc.

the only weaker track here is "follow the leader" which isn't bad but just distinctly lacking in hooks compared to the rest

ufo, Monday, 11 October 2021 09:04 (eleven months ago) link

I haven't heard the full album yet but I based on the singles I feel like they are drawing influences from artists whose own influences were from the 80s, rather than directly so themselves

boxedjoy, Monday, 11 October 2021 09:26 (eleven months ago) link

that's basically what I was reaching at yeah

imago, Monday, 11 October 2021 09:46 (eleven months ago) link

I haven't listened to this album yet, but at least I've finally figured out who imago is on RYM.

MarkoP, Monday, 11 October 2021 14:03 (eleven months ago) link

i have no idea which 80s-influenced modern pop artists you're talking about as being the key reference points instead. like, i know they love crj but i'm not really hearing that directly or anything. the 80s stuff on this album mostly just sounds like they were listening to scritti politti? while obviously not some revolutionary new sound it's distinct enough from what's going on with 80s revival stuff in mainstream pop or even shambhala stuff

ufo, Monday, 11 October 2021 14:53 (eleven months ago) link

i think the 80s influence is reflected more in their extra-musical aesthetic than really in their music. i agree that their influences are too wide-ranging, it's a bit reductive to just lump all of that into "the 80s," or whatever.

anyway, this is a pretty good album. the pre-released singles and the bookends are the clear highlights for me. the singer seems to take a lot of inspiration from britney.

grove street (party) direction (voodoo chili), Monday, 11 October 2021 14:58 (eleven months ago) link

xp like the modern stuff i can think of that sounds closest to the 80s stuff on this album is pretty much all minor indie acts who loved scritti politti, not the last few years of pop

ufo, Monday, 11 October 2021 14:59 (eleven months ago) link

even their visual aesthetic (which is a very familiar thing), is drawing on 90s early internet ctuff more than the 80s

ufo, Monday, 11 October 2021 15:08 (eleven months ago) link

80s/90s via computer / video game music rather than pop music. reminded of that ford & lopatin record but that wasn't as hook-dense as this

ciderpress, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 03:27 (eleven months ago) link

Mmm the ford + lopatin comparison is a good one… but yeah this feels like it has the focus and purpose (and hooks) missing there.

No idea how to label this one tbh… I mean it’s obviously synth-pop, but if I were to do a playlist with it I’d probably pair most of the songs in here with chillwave or vaporwave artists. Post-vaporwave? Post-chillwave?

I’m getting more of an early 90’s vibe than an 80’s vibe from it tbh, but yeah I love the description above that this is more influenced by copies of the copies of the sound than by the actual music of the 80’s or 90’s

✖✖✖ (Moka), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:34 (eleven months ago) link

Similar artists on spotify is as confused as we are but it seems there’s PC Music fans into it which also makes sense.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:38 (eleven months ago) link

this album rules

Murgatroid, Thursday, 14 October 2021 19:17 (eleven months ago) link

excited to hear this. Discovered "Good Intentions" from the SOTY noms last year and think I voted for it.

Indexed, Thursday, 14 October 2021 19:44 (eleven months ago) link

This delivers

Indexed, Friday, 15 October 2021 14:17 (eleven months ago) link

this reminds me of niki and the dove

Vapor waif (uptown churl), Friday, 15 October 2021 16:47 (eleven months ago) link

finally listened to this and it's wonderful, some of it feels like it was designed exactly for my interests

boxedjoy, Friday, 15 October 2021 18:07 (eleven months ago) link

I had this on in the car and it was the rare thing that piqued the interest of both my kids — the younger liked that it reminded him of Kero Kero Bonito (his favorite band) and the older liked its sonics.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Friday, 15 October 2021 18:37 (eleven months ago) link

this reminds me of niki and the dove

― Vapor waif (uptown churl)

Yeah, I had that thought this morning. The last song in particular sounds like something from the second album which has become one of my favourite albums of the last ten years.

This album is perfect and really addictive. Probably my album of the year at this point. Only Japanese Breakfast comes close.

kitchen person, Saturday, 16 October 2021 01:54 (eleven months ago) link

The album flags a little bit after "Hysterical Me" (love that "What a Fool Believes" piano on that track) but still a very good, varied listen. best they have done so far. I really like how "Secrets" is placed on the album, it jumped out more for me. the last song reminds me of Kylie!

Vinnie, Monday, 18 October 2021 07:37 (eleven months ago) link

*"Hysterical Us"

Vinnie, Monday, 18 October 2021 07:38 (eleven months ago) link

listened this to bits, it's pretty great throughout.

When Young Sheldon began to rap (forksclovetofu), Sunday, 24 October 2021 19:45 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

& yeah "you lose!" is very cool, has anyone even done that sort of chiptune-shoegaze before, or at least that well?

Neon Indian's often-overlooked second album Era Extraña hits this sound hard. It's an excellent record, strongly recommended. "You Lose!" is so close to the sound of that album I wouldn't be surprised if they took some inspiration from it.

OneSecondBefore, Thursday, 9 December 2021 05:15 (nine months ago) link

This album is ticking all my boxes right now. I don't hear a dip in quality in the second half at all, for me this works all the way through.

yugi ex, Friday, 10 December 2021 11:43 (nine months ago) link

one month passes...

Thought I had discovered this band for the first time after going through the 2021 track nominations playlist and have been diving through all their stuff for the last week and loving almost everything I’ve found.

Turns out I had played their track Venice on my radio show a couple of years ago but had forgottem about it, which goes to show I often don’t pay enough attention to the music I already have before seeking out new stuff.

Has anyone seen them live? I’m guessing not too likely seeing the state of live music the last few years, but it sound like they both have the musical chops to carry this off live because they both used to play in the same prog-rock band a few years ago and have a lot of personality in their videos. https://www.discogs.com/artist/7222078-Tabula-Rasa-21

Chewshabadoo, Monday, 24 January 2022 15:52 (eight months ago) link

Speaking of live performances i notice this video just popped up.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OtpRw0YdpA

Chewshabadoo, Tuesday, 1 February 2022 21:59 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

dang, i missed they were playing elsewhere in NYC tomorrow and it's sold out.
https://dice.fm/event/3vgpl-magdalena-bay-cecile-believe-18th-feb-elsewhere-the-hall-new-york-tickets

i cannot help if you made yourself not funny (forksclovetofu), Friday, 18 February 2022 02:40 (seven months ago) link

I saw them live last night, and they were great! Just the two of them and a drummer. They did have the chops. They played Mercurial World all the way through, with some brief skits in between songs about an AI named Chaeri. Their projected visuals are excellent and punch above the band's weight, as you'd expect from them.

OneSecondBefore, Friday, 18 February 2022 16:24 (seven months ago) link

Great :) Hopefully they’ll make it over to the UK at some point in the near future.

Chewshabadoo, Saturday, 19 February 2022 11:30 (seven months ago) link

bummed that i missed it. i gotta get back into scanning all the club calendars on a weekly basis.

i cannot help if you made yourself not funny (forksclovetofu), Saturday, 19 February 2022 21:01 (seven months ago) link

Missed their sold out DC show. Per reference above I saw this in an online review -- Throughout the show, Tenenbaum and Lewin had been interacting with an AI trapped in the screen behind them named Chaeri. When they exited the stage, Chaeri reappeared, and in PSA-chic, stated, “If you want an encore, please clap now.”

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 22 February 2022 18:58 (seven months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXLCHvRsgRQ

o shit the sheriff (NickB), Thursday, 3 March 2022 17:11 (seven months ago) link

The coda on that is probably my favourite part of the whole album and a major reason I want to see them live.

nashwan, Monday, 7 March 2022 13:33 (six months ago) link

five months pass...

New single and video is great. Love them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxaJ8aiURgU

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 25 August 2022 04:17 (one month ago) link

Am I crazy that I’ve recently noticed she has a very Britney Spears tone to her vocals and enunciations and now I can’t stop hearing it in every song of them?

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 25 August 2022 04:20 (one month ago) link

Anyways love the change in style. This sounds like Magdalena Bay doing a song in Men I Trust’s style. It’s probably the bass, it has the same palm-muted with a pick style.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 25 August 2022 04:22 (one month ago) link

Britney Spears tone

lol i hear it

not huge on this one but it gets interesting eventually at least

ufo, Thursday, 25 August 2022 04:35 (one month ago) link

Great single. These guys are the best.

kitchen person, Thursday, 25 August 2022 14:44 (one month ago) link

Great tune. They give the impression they can do anything and make it good.

that's not my post, Sunday, 28 August 2022 01:51 (one month ago) link

Reminds me of ‘Money Lover,’ one of my faves from them. I like it when they lean sophisti-pop!

KevRus, Sunday, 28 August 2022 16:53 (one month ago) link

their remix of Soccer Mommy's "Shotgun" is pretty great too

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itZ8lET8h_s

Roz, Monday, 29 August 2022 06:35 (one month ago) link

That remix is awful. Ditches everything that was great about the original (snaking baseline in the verses, shoegazey chorus) and replaces it with a rubbery uninspired disco bassline and fake vinyl crackle. Why?!

Just checked out the Mag Bay album yesterday though, and it's good. Shimmery synth pop. Don't really hear Ford and Lopatin as mentioned up-thread, though. That album is killer.

The Ghost Club, Tuesday, 30 August 2022 00:59 (one month ago) link

Bassline* obvs, autocorrect...

The Ghost Club, Tuesday, 30 August 2022 00:59 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

That new song sounds like it's off the most recent Clairo album, but then they lay on the interesting textures. It's not quite sticking with me yet.

Mercurial World gets better with repeated listens. I can see where the Ford and Lopatin comparisons are coming from now, esp on Follow the Leader and Dawning of the Sesson. The title track slays.

The Ghost Club, Wednesday, 14 September 2022 23:56 (three weeks ago) link

Follow The Leader may be quietly the highlight. I feel like Neon Indian is another big influence.

nashwan, Thursday, 15 September 2022 07:06 (two weeks ago) link

New song Unconditional:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQjqyxC97gA

Chewshabadoo, Tuesday, 20 September 2022 20:06 (two weeks ago) link

Deluxe version of Mercurial World is up/out featuring the two new tracks, some different mixes, instrumental bits and fifteen 'secret' snippets

nashwan, Saturday, 1 October 2022 17:10 (four days ago) link

I assume the "secrets" come from people calling the hotline that appears in the music video? A pretty fun fan service idea; not sure the results benefit the songs, but I guess this is like the ultimate admission of the monster outside the window in the video linked above.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Saturday, 1 October 2022 18:58 (four days ago) link

I just gave this a listen, and I have to say it's not an improvement on the original album. Magdalena Bay said on Instagram that the flow of the album was "super important" to them, but I think the flow suffers significantly.

The Secrets tracks are pretty throwaway, and not many of them are actual secrets or confessions.

Unconditional is an excellent single and every bit as good as the songs on the original album. But it breaks up the flow between Mercurial World and Dawning of the Season, which worked so well on the original.

The 8-bit instrumental of You Lose! is fun but throwaway and doesn't add anything to the album.

The Something for 2 remix doesn't come close to the magic of the original.

Prophesy (Synths and Strings) is nice minimalist reimagining, but it lacks the urgency of the original.

Chaeri (Danny L Harle Remix) is a bad hyperpop reimagining.

Chaeri (Piano and Strings) is a lovely slow-burn ballad.

Dominó (Spanish Version) is pretty self-explanatory.

Mercurial World (Piano and Strings) is another ballad reimagining. The syrupy strings work really nicely.

Overall, I'd say Deluxe is pretty inessential. The original album is much better as a sustained listen.

That said, these tracks would have made a nice little placeholder EP:

1. Unconditional
2. Chaeri (Piano and Strings)
3. Dominó (Spanish Version)
4. Mercurial World (Piano and Strings)
5. You Lose! (8-Bit)
6. Prophesy (Synths and Strings)

The Ghost Club, Saturday, 1 October 2022 21:12 (four days ago) link


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