A moment in a room with a song can last much longer than the lifespan of the sound itself. That’s the Madeline Kenney effect. Her music produces an instant feeling of vulnerability and joy. Kenney's songs always wrench your guts, whether bouncing off nightclub walls, whispered in a studio, or filtered through your headphones.
It was this type of brief encounter at a San Francisco venue that compelled Kenney's friend Chaz Bundick (Toro Y Moi) to offer her a spot on his Company Records label (Les Sins, Vinyl Williams). Soon after, the duo were in Bundick's Berkeley studio recreating Kenney’s live performance in what would become her first official release. The resulting "Signals EP" delivers the sting of Pavement with the glow of Sharon Van Etten. Like an insect floating in amber, these four songs are enveloping and uncanny in all their loveliness.
A product of the Bay Area’s ever-evolving pop music sensibilities and deep-rooted experimental tendencies, Kenney's live act has evolved to employ members of local groups including Astronauts, etc., Bells Atlas, and Perhapsy. Originally from the Pacific Northwest with a background in neurobiology, Kenney moved to the Bay Area in 2013 to pursue a career in baking. Her music gained new shape and nuance while living in Oakland—spurred in no small part by the new community. Kenney's writing process and individual sound developed with alacrity, and in 2015 she began to perform at local venues and clubs. Out this June, the "Signals EP" is the best representation of the year Kenney has had, and no doubt a glimpse into many lionizing moments to come.
This is potentially the greatest dreampop record of the 2010s. Combining bold, memorable melodies, varied and textured music, and emotionally breathtaking lyrics, Psychopomp will be remembered for many decades to come and has an unforgettable place in the heart of anybody who knows it. Devin Passage