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Monday, March 9, 2009

Madeline Surrenders

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 9:56 PM


Madeline — White Flag


After a couple rounds of phone tag, voicemails, one dead cell phone and a willing lender of a working phone, Madeline Adams, a sort of country chanteuse fed on punk rock, finally got a call through — to which she left a voicemail, leaving the number of said working phone.


The Baton Rouge-born, Athens-raised, New Orleans-adored singer-songwriter is no stranger to the city, so phone tag is more funny than annoying on a work day. She knows her audience as much as they know her. She’s toured through the city more than twice in the last couple years with only a few albums under her belt, the first of which (Kissing & Dancing) she released as a teenager.


It’s her new album White Flag (due March 10 on Orange Twin) bringing her to New Orleans this time around. Her band, aptly named the White Flag Band, a rag-tag group of pals from the Elephant 6 fringe, will be in tow. The album bares her quiet resolution to adulthood and the lessons learned as a partial grownup, for what it’s worth.


“I wrote a lot of this album when I was living in Bloomington, Ind. and I think that shaped a lot of it,” she says. “It was my first time living away from home, there was a couple relationships that happened along the way — just situations in my twenties that would’ve never happened in my teens.”


What may sound like well-worn musical territory is quite necessary. Madeline self-released Kissing & Dancing in 2002, a couple years shy of 18. The songs never wandered beyond her years, but that’s the point. Super-DIY label Plan-It-X re-released the album a few months later and it has since undergone several pressings. In 2006, Madeline released The Slow Bang, her first on Orange Twin, with collaborations from labelmates and musical heroes in the Elephant 6 collective, musicians with a few years on her (Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control and Elf Power, among others).


White Flag now comes on the heels of this settling in. The songs are full, bright, sometimes sad narratives — less introverted, more conversational. There’s a comfort and effortlessness in her songs, which could be a result of her and a 12-member band in the studio with her.


“It was recorded in a completely different way because it was recorded with a live band, whereas past recordings, the engineer has usually accompanied me based on the tracks I recorded by myself, so whatever drums or bass would always follow my guitar.”


Her tour continues through the spring, and keeps going, by the looks of it.


“That’s pretty much my main focus at this point, just kind of spread the word that I have a new album and travel as much as I can,” she says. “I’m going to tour Europe for the first time in May. After that I pretty much plan on taking a breather and writing.”


She cuts me off before I had the chance to ask if there’s anywhere in particular she’s most looking forward to visiting on tour.


“France. I’d say France,” she says.


For now she'll settle for the exotic innards of the Dragon’s Den. Paris ain’t got nothin’ on it.


“I’m pretty stoked at playing the Dragon’s Den again,” she says. “I hope the upstairs hasn’t changed. The only thing that sucked was trying to figure out what gear was ours when we were drunk and its dim and lit by one red light bulb. But I love the look of that place.”


Madeline plays with Ham 1 and One Man Machine tonight, 10 p.m., at the Dragon’s Den (435 Esplanade Ave.). Tickets are $5. 

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