Last March, just before sold-out tours supporting Kero Kero Bonito and Yumi Zouma were cancelled due to the pandemic, Mica Tenenbaum of LA-based electro indie-pop duo Magdalena Bay told me, “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…” At the time, the duo (which also includes Matthew Lewin) were just about to drop their A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling EP, which I described as, “Something reminiscent of TRL’s #1 fan making music and videos in their high school’s audio-visual club in 1999.” However, tomorrow (10/8), they drop their debut LP, Mercurial World, courtesy of Luminelle Recordings, and kick off a run of almost entirely sold out dates, including an October 14th stop at our very own First Unitarian Church, supporting George Clanton.
The album, which was written, produced, performed, mixed, and mastered entirely by Magdalena Bay themselves, displays an aesthetic that combines their millennial hipness with their unashamed love of pop music. The duo even seemed to thrive in isolation, building an online fanbase built around social media, “cult brochures mailed to unsuspecting fans,” and an eerily cool y2k-sinpired website. Earlier this week the band released a music video for “Hysterical Us,” a heartfelt and postmodern musical musing of the existential whose sounds and visuals could have competed on MTVs charts throughout a plethora of eras.
Magdalena Bay, like our good friends in YACHT, embrace both progressive and vintage forms of popular technology to air their questions about science and the human experience through short musical bursts that could easily find themselves wedged between the tunes of Michael Jackson and Toni Basil on the dance floor of a Retro Party Night at a college bar. This is not really surprising, considering that the two originally met as teens, sharing a love of prog-rockers like Genesis and King Crimson, and reconnected during college, when brilliant subversives like Charli XCX and Grimes were actually making major mainstream splashes. In fact, Mica Tenenbaum actually spent her college years at UPenn (She graduated in 2018.), so her show with George Clanton at the First Unitarian Church on October 14th will be a sort of homecoming. Although the show is currently sold out, I would highly recommending checking for newly-released tickets the day of the show and, whether you’re able to come out or not, I would highly recommend picking up Mercurial World tomorrow and reading my chat with Mica from last March here.