In an age when it’s become okay for punks and hipsters to listen to Carly Rae Jepsen and Miley Cyrus, there may not be a more unabashedly and unashamedly “pop” artist worth listening to than Magdalena Bay… The LA-duo, comprised of Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin, churn out something reminiscent of TRL’s #1 fan making music and videos in their high school’s audio-visual club in 1999… And I mean that in the best possible way…
Magdalena Bay have an EP that drops this week and are about to kick off a run of dates opening for New Zealand indie poppers Yumi Zouma, which will find them at Boot & Saddle this Saturday, March 14th (It’s sold out, but if you have a ticket, make sure to get there early to catch their set… and if you don’t have a ticket, swing by the bar to hear the first song, while the venue door is still open.) I got a chance to chat with Mica Tenenbaum last week about Magdalena Bay’s still burgeoning career (She actually just graduated from Penn in 2018.), who tells me that their fans are responsible for a lot of what drives them.
“Watching our fanbase grow has really been the biggest highlight… I feel like a lot of our fanbase is a lot of LGBTQ people, because they have great pop taste… We always love looking through our YouTube comments. I mean, that’s super weird, but we love when they fall in love with our DIY videos and all the things that we love, when they get that it’s like this home-baked thing. When we started out we were long-distance, so this style of videos was sort of out of necessity, but we really know what we’re doing now and we’re just really into this notion of something that sort of looks bad, but on purpose [laughs].”
Although Magdalena Bay often sound like they would be the perfect opening act for the upcoming New Order/Pet Shop Boys tour, Mica tells me that she and Matthew, surprisingly, don’t actually listen to a ton of ‘80s synth pop and are most indebted to the most danceable pop of the ‘90s and early 21st century: “We really love pop music and it’s obvious and we hope that that shows through. I mean, we’re solidly in-between indie and pop, but more of our influences are pop, and not indie, like Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Charli XCX, Grimes…”
And while Magdalena Bay’s set this Saturday will likely be a little abbreviated, on account of their status as support, what Mica tells me of their live set, leads me to believe it will be more than worth showing up a little early, especially if you’re a fan of the “How to Get Physical” music video: “We perform as the two of us. Matthew is amazing at every single instrument and I sing and jump around [laughs]. We also try to bring some of the visuals we do on the internet to life.” And if you really wanna go the extra mile to show the love for the band, she does have an additional suggestion about your attire: “It’d be great if you dressed really fun and ridiculously, if you wanted to, because I will [laughs]. Like, if you wanna wear glitter all over your body or like do a roller disco thing…”