West Coast Beats: New Music From Rockabillys Kim Lenz

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Rockabilly goddess Kim Lenz is gearing up for the release of her fifth album Slowly Speeding, out February 22, 2019.

Lenz is a songwriter, performer, bandleader, engineer and producer who pores over every nuance of her music to ensure maximum potency. The ten songs on Slowly Speeding brim with growling vocals, clever turns of phrase and heightened musicianship that services both the songs and the emotional intent behind them. As the first song written for the project, “Slowly Speeding” sets the pace for what follows — a gauzy, Western Gothic gaze into the heart of a woman who has abandoned her walls and inhibitions, falling so deeply in love that the universe itself seems unreal. 

Lenz released her debut album in 1998 as Kim Lenz & the Jaguars, via Hightone Records. Heralded as the “Flame-haired keeper of the rockabilly flame” by Allmusic, Lenz reached the highest heights of the 90’s rockabilly revival. At the same time, she established her own distinctive voice as an artist who inhabited the musical and aesthetic traditions of a classic era, even as she subverted them. 

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For Slowly Speeding, Lenz pulled the most essential elements of the past forward into the present and gave her own voice to it. Lenz’s sonic vision for the project was to combine her favorite tones from her most-treasured records, regardless of genre or era, and co-producer DH Phillips was the perfect partner in crime. They looked to early blues, classic country, and old-time gospel harmonies. ”The idea was to try to use all the ingredients that made up rock & roll, but shift around the time frames,” she offers. “I started out in the ’90s making traditional rockabilly music,” she continues. “But in my journey to understand how rockabilly and rock & roll came into being, I found blues, rhythm & blues, gospel, Western swing, and country music.”

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West Coast Beats: Meet MAWD

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MAWD is the moniker of Madeleine Mathews, a California singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist ( piano, guitar, ukulele, bass, accordion & banjo) , whose influences include, The Head and the Heart, The Staves, First Aid Kit, Nancy Sinatra, Lord Huron, and the Alabama Shakes. MAWD’s sound gravitates towards an eclectic mix of genres including indie rock, folk, folk rock, retro rock, and blues rock. The soulful, textured timbre of Madeleine’s vocals is diverse and ranges anywhere from a breathy sultry folk/blues vibe to a powerful Janis Joplin-esque/Karen-O belt.

Born and bread in Northern California, Madeleine made her mark in her hometown of Placerville playing original songs at a weekly local open mic. She found an even larger audience in Chico, CA, where she attended CSU, Chico’s music program. She quickly became a part of the blossoming local Nor Cal scene fronting and writing for various bands and winning local singer/songwriter competitions, resulting in TV and radio appearances and press. Madeleine’s stunning live performances and the unique vulnerability, power and shear beauty of her voice caught the attention of Roger Gisborne of Los Angeles based indie label Sound x 3 Records, who immediately signed her and sent her to Scandinavia to tour. As a result, she was invited to perform for several international festivals, including the Irish, YouBloom Festival.

Gisborne produced and released MAWD’s first EP during Madeleine’s last semester of school and brought in Brian Lucey (Arctic Monkeys, Black Keys, Beck, Cage The Elephant, etc.) to master the record, which received critical acclaim from noteworthy tastemakers leading MAWD to SXSW and a southwest tour with a new line-up of top British, Irish and American musicians, known as the “MAWD Squad”.

Known for her impressive and highly energetic performances in top notch venues, festivals and artist discovery programs such as Sofar Sounds, MAWD has made huge strides developing a dedicated fan base .

Madeleine is presently working with Gisborne and Cave producer/songwriter Josiah Mezzaschi (Deap Vally, Kate Bush, Jesus & the Mary Chain) on MAWD’s second EP set for release in 2019.

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