“Compact in some ways, yet expansive,” is how New Madrid's Phil McGill describes their new album. magnetkingmagnetqueen (Normaltown Records) takes a wide swath of influences ranging from the guitar tangle of Television and the tripped-out introspection of Yo La Tengo, to the angular experimentation of Can and the harmonic bath of Magical Mystery Tour; and combines them into something entirely unique.
magnetkingmagnetqueen has it all. The album reveals New Madrid’s evolution and collective growth, resulting in the band’s most complete work to date. “Don’t Hold Me Now” is like Pylon channeling the pre-Tommy Who. “Untitled III” is a pint-sized epic, with several movements in a three-minute window. On the other end is the dark, monolithic stomp of “Guay Lo” and the dirge-like march of “Shades.” Bringing it all together are centerpieces like “Summer Belles” and “Darker Parts,” songs with an undeniable pop sensibility that go through the looking glass and emerge as the sonic amoeba well known to fans of New Madrid’s live performances.
magnetkingmagnetqueen was made with engineer/producer David Barbe (Deerhunter, Drive-By Truckers, The Glands) in two primary locations. The group started out recording at Dogwood Lodge, the site of an unused summer camp on Lake Chickamauga in a large, open room with mobile recording gear over a week in the summer of 2015. More recording and mixing was done at Barbe’s Athens, GA studio, Chase Park Transduction with additional recording at New Madrid’s home base, The Barn.
New Madrid formed in the fall of 2010, and shortly after was approached by Barbe, who invited them to his studio to record their first full-length album, Yardboat. It happened fast. Inspired, they finished in three days. Signing with Normaltown/New West Records, the band released their sophomore album, Sunswimmer in 2014. A live EP, Dawn Teeth Rattling, was released in 2015.
Since then the band has toured consistently across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. When not on the road, they live together in The Barn (a literal barn located in the agrarian outskirts of Athens) constantly working on new ideas.