by Hero Magnus
Clocking in at 3 minutes exactly, Rett Madison’s soaring new single “Kerosene” is one of the most powerful releases of this wild year.
Rett Madison is from West Virginia, moved to Michigan to study at Interlochen Arts Academy, and finally moved out to LA for college and the music industry. At just 23, she’s gotten write-ups from Billboard and Rolling Stone for her other recent single “Shame is a River.” “You were raised on righteous love / I was brought up in a burning house,” she sings in the first and (spoiler alert) final lines of the song. It’s a whole world in a single line, a dark fairytale in two phrases.
Her country roots are reflected in her vocals, which have a strong twang. While her music is thematically representative of melancholy indie women, she’s got much less fear of being dynamic. In any case, her music approaches the edges of country and rock. It is the kind of blur that happens when music is just too good and too original to arise purely from either genre. Calling it just one thing would limit it, and Madison can’t be limited.
Madison’s magic is in many things. Her voice is outstanding and draws us in, strong but not too perfect or artificial. Her unbridled and unpredictable lyricism keeps us with her: “If you lie here / I’ll keep you warm / just until you find the one / I’ll burn you through like kerosene / I’ll strike a match but no spark’s guaranteed.”
On social media and streaming platforms, Madison says she “sings a lot about grief and queerness.” There’s a parallel here between love, envy, and disgust: “you dried your hands on monogrammed towels / ones I used to put out fires and shield my mouth.” It encapsulates the violence of parallel lives, two people who have ended up in the same place from vastly different worlds. There’s in here both a commentary on the personalities of Madison and whoever she’s singing about as well as a larger social commentary on the inequalities that exist between people.
Madison also touches on the condescension that the privileged can have: “I met your type you’d like to settle me down / while I drown your picket fence,” she sings right before the soaring chorus.
It reminds me of a darker “Upper West Side” by King Princess, a song that explores a spoiled princess who lives cutting lines with credit cards on the upper west side. In both, there is a lusty fascination with the Other. Madison, though, makes a more robust exploration of herself as a character, and her own jadedness and power: “My heart is ember, but you make me feel young.” The contrast is what is interesting here: a wide-eyed easy innocence with a hardened and torn-up experience.
Madison doesn’t fit perfectly in with West Virginia mountain-mama country music nor with easy LA pop. She’s also involved in funk, releasing more than a dozen covers of songs with popular funk bands. Even though she’s not from the DMV area, Madison fits right in with the wild conglomeration of genres that our area represents.
For more Rett Madison, visit her website: rettmadison.com
Hero Magnus is 20 years old. She runs a live radio show at Yale University called the Moon, and for fun she likes to dance at house shows, study American plays, and write music about historical figures. You can find some of her songs on Spotify and the rest on heromagnus.bandcamp.com. Hero is thrilled to be a new music reporter at Alchemical Records.
Saturday 11/28 @ 4:15pm & 8:15pm EST
Sunday 11/29 @ 4:15pm & 8:15pm EST
After working with platinum producer Matt Miller, who has produced for Kendrick Lamar, Ashanti, Tyrese, Rick Ross, and more. Getting press on previous releases from, The Farmville Herald, Pulse Music Magazine, and The MusicMakesMe blog. The table is set for his new release
“Smile For Me” on October 30th 2020.
His name is OriginalRemy but this is more than his stage name. He states, “OriginalRemy is not a name for an artist. This is my brand, my dream, and my life.” OriginalRemy is an independent R&B and Pop artist based outside of Houston, Texas. He has performed at Longwood University, Short Pump Town Center, and scheduled to perform at The Apollo Theatre
OriginalRemy prides himself on his performance capabilities stating, “As an R&B singer we are not known as the most entertaining performers. I want to change the narrative, no matter the venue.”
Zen Warship has been a living, breathing, and evolving band that entered the Washington D.C. area music scene in 2016. The band revels in the enthusiasm fans show on the dance floor for its captivating live sound that blends various elements of funk, rock, soul, and disco, along with individual influences including pop, punk, and jazz. As 2020 draws to a close, Zen Warship in its current stage of metamorphosis prepares to release their first full-length album aptly titled, Anything That Grooves, currently available for pre-order on Bandcamp, and on all other major music platforms on December 11. Alchemical Records had the pleasure of sitting down with Tyler, Roberto, Alison, and Preethy to dig into the inspiration behind the album and the recording process the band is using to help listeners immediately feel connected to those live elements that are such an important component of the band’s sound.