The Secret’s Out on Magdalena Bay

The Secret’s Out on Magdalena Bay

November 1, 2022 Off By John Cargile
previous arrow
next arrow

Catch them tonight at The Bluebird, with rising star BAYLI

Photos: Gerardo Federico

I have always wanted to be a pop star. From the days when my older brother and dad told me I should since I didn’t like doing farm work. I did just made my first appearance on a pop album – but that’s a secret. But what does this have to do with the legitimate pop stars Magdalena Bay, the iconic LA duo who have taken the world by storm over the past few years? 

Magdalena Bay owned Red Rocks last April (Photo: Gerardo Federico)
Magdalena Bay owned Red Rocks last April (Photo: Gerardo Federico)

The duo of Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin met as teens and lived through a Miami-based prog rock band called Tabula Rosa, where they built a solid following with King Crimson-like rock songs. But when college was over, the party really began. Influenced by producers like Charlie XCX and Grimes, they decided to start making pop songs – and put out some bonafied gems. 

Like many great indie bands, they started dropping singles and mini EPs and built up a larger following nationwide, and an even bigger buzz – and they haven’t let up. If you’re familiar with their more recent Mercurial World sounds, here are some quick thoughts on some of the dynamic duo’s early songs, mixed in with some of my recollections from their show at Red Rocks last April.

Magdalena Bay owned Red Rocks this past April, opening for Porter Robinson

Neon – In 2017, Matt brings it in with “take what you, don’t look back .. then Mica turns it up with :”You step into the pink” which always made me think about Sarah and Duck’s pink episode.

Waking Up – “I’ve never felt like this before” “This is not a dream” The music that feels so good.

The Girls – “I knew you from the first time”

Ghost – They keep dropping music like Pavement did –  Tarantino would dig crates for it.

Then the first EP day/pop was delivered.

Waking Up – followed by Set Me Off — When Mica delivers this enthusiasm the song works as an anthem. I would love to hear this dropped into a set when the crowd is politely moshing.

Head Over Heels – Miami Vice cover of Tears for Fears; which as an 80s kid, I felt like I was at keg party by a trailer in a college town.

#wastehistime – Teen cheer flash-hitting and checked youtube to see if there was a video for this. I love the production on this song. 

They followed up with the night/pop EP

Neon, followed by Drive Alone melts me. Starts like Cut Copy and I want Magdalena Bay to sing this with us at Red Rocks one day. “I’m not your fantasy” line pays tribute to Kim Gordon.

Childish Gambino’s Redbone drops in the cover spot, and when I finally heard this, I was generally astonished. So good. I know MagBay goes full R&B on a future lp. “Stay woke, people creepin’”

Move Slow claims the title as my favorite here in another dimension since had never heard of them in early 2019. Such a song that delivers booties to the floor. The sounds Matt comes up here are truly a masterpiece. A great song, and the sing-along we need at from MagBay. 

Back to singles, the pastelle Money Lover is so Miami perfection. I want it playing in the lounges with fluffy white sectionals with live sax and lines sex innuendo. And this is the first video I remember, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

Now here comes the Mack Truck flattening us as Gorilla vs Bear drops Only if you want it which skyrockets my all time favorite song. There have been others, but this one took over my list and won’t let go. It’s just so cool. The track element of the sweetest drop, the coolest duo, and just something mind-blowingly supreme we all needed in those shitty Trump years. The song had the glide and smooth operator style that delivered. 

Then came a series of releases that shared different styles offering hooks and grooves that have been loved by all who are touched by Mica and Matt, including Venice – this is when Magdalena Bay took ownership of California – and then there was the Kero Kero Bonito remix of Story with the birds whispering the story. 

Oh, you think I’d forget Kill Shot – the anthem of the pandemic, or the “panthemic?” Tick Tock horse of the apocalypse!!!

By the time Mercurial World was released last year, the two were getting New Yorker articles and world tours. Those who were lucky enough to see them open for Porter Robinson at Red Rocks this year got to see them deliver on the biggest of stages. They easily put on the most fun songs at Pitchfork and other festivals also. They are constantly highlighted effectively via Spotify and Apple Music – and so deserved. And they’re no longer a secret.

But their Mag Monday live streams keep them down to earth and in our hearts. The interaction with fans continued with the Mercurial World Deluxe recent release.  And that is where I got finally featured on a pop record. My son and I called into the Secrets Hotline set up on the Mercurial World site, and they put us on the album as we were helping Mica find Fluffy the Pokemon-esque star of the You Lose! video.

Thank you Mica and Matthew for delivering so much to us. All your music comes from the heart and goes right into mine.

Don’t miss rising star BAYLI at The Bluebird, opening for Magdelena Bay

And – in case you can make it out to The Bluebird to catch Magdelena Bay tomorrow night (Wednesday, November 2), you’ll be treated to a unique chance to see one of this year’s rising stars – BAYLI. Check out some press on this act:

“Cutting-edge, modern pop it-girl and songwriter BAYLI has released her latest single “Pressure,” a dreamy, R&B-infused pop classic about the sacrifices we all make to reach our goals, how they often take us away from the people we care about the most for long stretches of time, and how we sometimes get scared and overwhelmed because it feels like we have to go it alone. PRESS HERE to listen.” – Press Here Publicity

Don’t miss this chance to see two up-and-coming artists! To get a good preview, try out this Playlist:


  • John Cargile

    John Cargile teaches and DJs for hundreds of Denver yogis and his power yoga classes. His southern roots of soul and pop music melded with indie and dance music in Colorado over the years.