Magdalena Bay deliver the cute bops that we deserve with ‘A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling’.

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Luminelle Recordings

The cover of Magdalena Bay’s debut extended play, ‘A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling’.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

American synth pop band Magdalena Bay is a duo consisting of singer-songwriter Mica Tenenbaum and singer-songwriter and producer Matthew Lewin.

The two began writing songs together in high school before forming the group in 2016 and releasing their debut single, “Neon”, in January 2017, which went viral and remains their biggest song to date with over two million streams on Spotify.

They quickly became known on the underground pop music scene for their nostalgic sound inspired by synth and electro pop music from the late 1980s and early 1990s as well as their throwback style and visuals.

Throughout 2017 and 2018, Magdalena Bay put out a handful of singles that culminated into their debut EPs, day/pop and night/pop, in January 2019 followed by their debut mixtape, Mini Mix, Vol. 1, in July of that year, and after another series of singles, the pair released their debut EP, A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling, in early March.

The EP is an expansion of the band’s signature retro sound and DIY approach to pop music in addition to a collection of upbeat bubblegum bops about love with catchy hooks and a sickenly sweet vocal delivery from Tenenbaum, whose cute timbre adds an almost cartoonish, video game-esque feel to the tracks that’s reminiscent of the work of J-pop-fusion artists like British indie pop band Kero Kero Bonito and English singer-songwriter and musician bo en.

The record opens with the fifth single, “How to Get Physical” — a synthy banger with an addictive chorus and super fun verses, one of which contains the EP’s title, thus making it a central track — and the following songs — the non-single “Story”; the second single, “Good Intentions”; and the sixth single, “Airplane” — all add different sonic elements to the project.

“Story” is a bouncy, minimalistic bop with J-pop influences; “Good Intentions” is an energetic electro pop song with hints of drum ‘n’ bass; and “Airplane” is an ethereal, spacey ballad with chill production and relaxed vocals; however, the two tracks that stand out the most are the lead single, “Venice”, and the third single, “Killshot”.

The former is a laid-back synth pop track that sees Tenenbaum encouraging her crush to make their relationship official before the world ends, making subtle references to both climate change and “World War III” with a sense of camp that’s further explored by the music video in which she and Lewin do their best to beat the L. A. heat with a super-charged AC unit that turns their apartment into a winter wonderland complete with snow and Christmas decor.

The latter is a dark, somewhat eerie electro pop track about craving a lover’s touch in the dead of night that’s filled with passion, and although not sexually explicit, the song does have slight sexual undertones paired with a lustful energy that adds a touch of spice to the EP, and we love to see it.

Magdalena Bay has crafted a cohesive body of work that showcases their evolution as a band, and since its release, they revealed that they’ve started working on their debut album, but while we wait for further information, be sure to stream A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling, which is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream A Little Rhythm and a Wicked Feeling on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/5OsXAPcYYYNTtkFuuB8TDc?si=zfLjUwD_Q2ygAC-YH4sE_g 

Watch the music video for “Venice”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX6Yr83sK_Q 

The members of Magdalena Bay, Mica Tenenbaum (front) and Matthew Lewin (back), in the music video for “Venice”.