April 15, 2013
When the Brisbane-based singer stopped by our store in Austin during SXSW to play a few tracks off her just-released album Vs Head Vs Heart, we were floored. It’s one thing to write music that has celestial qualities to it, but crafting a song that truly sounds like a dream? That’s where Emma Louise excels.
We interrupted Emma’s jam-packed touring schedule to get in her head about stage clothes, favorite tunes and even accidental road trip keepsakes.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s always hard to describe my sound. But, to describe my songs in a fashionable way, they are heartfelt songs wrapped up in detailed power suits or metallic frilled dresses.
Who are your favorite musicians or bands?
What do you like to wear onstage?
I am always changing my mind, but at the moment I seem to be wearing tights and jackets. I got a new haircut that makes me feel a bit manly, so I’m kind of manning it up a bit. Girl-man chic.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A big band cuddle and a few deep breaths. And afterward, I always try to go somewhere quiet to settle down.
Do you collect anything on the road?
Not really. I always seem to collect flight tickets in the bottom of my bag.
What would you be doing if you weren’t traveling the world playing music?
I’d probably work with animals or be a hairdresser or makeup artist. I’m pretty glad I’m doing music, because I didn’t really click with anything else.
April 10, 2013
For those of you who have Coachella on the horizon, it’s major crunch time for putting together a festival look. In addition to our breeziest dresses, cutoff shorts and supersoft linen tees (it does get really hot in the desert), we’ll be piling on the bracelets. (After all, what goes better with the mandatory wristband than an armful of bangles and friendship bracelets?)
Photo by Bryan Derballa
Take a tour through our fresh crop of arm candy and then tune into the ten artists from this year’s lineup who we’re most excited to see—even if we have to experience them vicariously via YouTube footage.
April 8, 2013
We’ve been fans of Katy Goodman since we first spotted her bouncing around on stage with Vivian Girls, the all-female peppy punk band she has been the bassist for since 2007. And while she remains a faithful member of VG, we have found ourselves even more smitten with her solo project, La Sera, which brings Goodman’s utterly charming, soft-focus vocals and knack for catchy pop songwriting to the forefront at long last.
Since one of the songs from her 2012 album Sees the Light (the tropical-tinged “Real Boy”) serves as the backdrop for our captivatingly cool Madewell swim video (seriously, it’s like a little mental vacation), we thought there was no better time for a catchup with Goodman to talk songwriting, spring rituals and poolside playlists.
How’d you come up with the name La Sera?
I was on tour in Italy with Vivian Girls while I was trying to come up with the name for my new solo project. We were at a restaurant when I saw a crazy pink tropical drink get sent to a table and I asked the waiter what it was called. He said “la rosa de la sera,” which means “the rose of the evening.” I thought it was a beautiful phrase, so I shortened it into a band name.
Sees the Light is, by all accounts, a breakup album; was there something cathartic about putting all those feelings into song?
Oh definitely, that was the main motivation behind writing the album. After singing all those songs a thousand times, I can safely say I am over that breakup.
Can you tell us a little bit about your songwriting process?
I tend to start off by myself in my bedroom with a guitar. Lately I’ve been experimenting with more unique chords and song structures. On Sees the Light, I generally wrote the music first and lyrics and melody second.
What are your plans this year for La Sera and/or Vivian Girls?
I plan on recording my next La Sera record this spring! I’m very excited. Also, I think Vivian Girls will be doing a few shows here and there…
What’s your favorite springtime ritual?
I live in LA, so it feels like springtime all year round. I would say my favorite daily routine is walking to the coffee shop every morning without my cell phone. It’s only 15 minutes, but it’s the perfect way to start every day. It almost feels like meditation.
Any favorite song that always gets you in the mood for sun-filled days?
Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back Where We Started From.” It’s an instant mood-lifter.
March 7, 2013
Photo by Tom Oxley
Whenever a new band with their music manages to subtly reference the past while simultaneously experimenting sonically in an entirely current way (and, perhaps most importantly, gets our toes tapping at the same time), they can count us as immediate and ardent fans.
Natalie and Eliot Bergman, the brother-sister duo behind Wild Belle, do just that. Their singular sound (on new album Isles) has footholds in reggae, soul, doo-wop and afrobeat, and seems to rely as heavily on powerful percussion and horn (brace yourself for some killer sax) as on Natalie’s rambling, retro-tinged vocals (think a funkified Amy Winehouse).
We caught up with Natalie to talk music and style icons, dream island destinations and what it’s like to work with her brother.
Can you tell me a bit about your musical background?
I come from a musical family. My mother was always playing Joni Mitchell on guitar and Gershwin on the piano. My father is a great guitar player and has a strong voice like Sinatra. Singing and dancing was always encouraged in our household!
I started playing violin when I was in preschool, then piano a few years later and shortly after found my fondness of songwriting. I was in gospel choir in school and my teacher, Mr. Bell, was an amazing pianist. I studied with him all through high school, and he gave me a real outlet for expressing myself. I was rejected from all of the school musicals, and Mr. Bell gave me a place to shine. I’ve never really thanked him, but I am so appreciative of him for turning me onto all sorts of soul music and a whole bunch of African music.
I moved to Boston for college where I studied piano and percussion for a few years, then took a break from school to move to New York City where I played with various musicians around town before eventually ending up in the studio with my brother!
Had you worked together before? What was it like collaborating with your brother?
Elliot was recording a new record in Michigan at Key Club with Bill Skibbe. He invited me into the studio to work on some demos I had recorded in GarageBand over the past few years and we sort of reworked the demos and they magically evolved into something called “Wild Belle.”
Neither of us predicted what was to come, but it was all very natural. If I had no eyes and I no longer had ears, Elliot could navigate for me. He knows what sounds I like. He understands me more than most people on this planet and I am extremely thankful for that.
January 18, 2013
Photos by Olivia Malone.
From the Go-Go’s to Bikini Kill, The Pointer Sisters to Sleater-Kinney (and, in turn, Wild Flag), we love us an all-girl band. Add to our already healthy roster of women-only bands who rock the Brooklyn-based group Bad Girlfriend. Besides their name, which we think, it should be said, is pretty awesome, we can also get behind the cheery garage-punk tunes they are churning out. Not to mention they happen to be big fans of, well, us—check out how killer they all look on stage in our Veda x Madewell leather jackets.
Yup, these are Veda x Madewell denim and leather jackets—they drop Jan. 29, so keep a lookout.
Since the girls spend the majority of their time working (and playing) in their Williamsburg neighborhood, we asked them to share some of their favorite local haunts.
Favorite Tattoo Parlor:
492 Metropolitan Ave.
Favorite Music Venue:
289 Kent Ave.
Favorite Vintage Store:
285 N. 6th St.
Champs (vegan diner)
176 Ainslie St.
Favorite Record Store:
Academy Record Annex
96 N. 6th St.
Spoonbill & Sugartown
218 Bedford Ave.
Favorite Juice Bar:
Lodge General Store
318 Grand St.
Favorite Sweet Treat Spot:
Momofuku Milk Bar
382 Metropolitan Ave.
295 Berry St.
Favorite Brunch Spot:
133 Wythe Ave.
November 12, 2012
Remember Caroline de Maigret? She’s the supercool record label owner from Paris who taught us a thing (or five) about iconic French style earlier this year. This time around, we asked her to curate a playlist of her favorite songs. Download them below (for free!).
October 14, 2012
September 17, 2012
Have you heard? Musical muse Solange picked three tunes just for you. Click here to stream or download ‘em for free, then check out our exclusive Q&A with her below. (Sneak peek: It involves karaoking to Yeah Yeah Yeahs and seeing Michael Jackson in concert.)
Cover art for Little Dragon’s album Machine Dreams. Download their song “Blinking Pigs” here.
Madewell: What was your first DJ gig?
Solange: I threw a couple parties at a small spot to get my hands dirty and experiment under the radar. After the earthquakes in Haiti, I wanted to help in any way I could, so I called everyone I knew, organized a party for donations and DJ’d. It was a beautiful experience, but most importantly, we contributed to something that’s really important to me.
What song always gets people on the floor?
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston, hands down. Never gets old—always has been and always will be such a jammer.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
Well, I grew up going to Destiny’s Child concerts in my backyard, but my mom brought me to see Michael Jackson at the tender age of 1 (leather jacket and all).
What’s your signature karaoke song?
The last time I did karaoke, I sang Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Maps.” High School angst all in that spot.
What album have you listened to a million times?
Shuggie Otis, Inspiration Information. It came out in the ’70s but will never age. It’s truly timeless music.
September 11, 2012
August 20, 2012
Fleet Foxes, Mykonos (2009)
Heads up, only one day left to download our summer soundtrack, curated by Madewell stylist extraordinaire Lisa. Prepare to bop around to the likes of Fleet Foxes, First Aid Kit, Mike Bloom and more.