Sound Advice: Lily & Madeleine with Swear and Shake (Aug. 26)

Sister act Lily & Madeleine bring some dreamy Folk to Fountain Square.

click to enlarge Lily & Madeleine - Photo: Natalie Neal
Photo: Natalie Neal
Lily & Madeleine

Sisters Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz are perfect examples of the social media paradigm at work in the music industry’s current state. The Indianapolis natives began their musical partnership in high school when they recorded themselves singing covers of favorite songs and posted the videos on YouTube. Renowned producer/engineer Paul Mahern (John Mellencamp, The Afghan Whigs, Iggy Pop, The Fray) saw them and extended an invitation to record at his Bloomington, Ind., studio. He then introduced the pair to Gentleman Caller frontman/songwriter Kenny Childers, rightly assuming their talents would mesh well. They’ve been co-writing ever since and have even started a side project, Sandpaper and Silk.

Their first project together was Lily & Madeleine’s debut EP, The Weight of the Globe, which they self-released in 2012. Repeating their YouTube experience, singer/songwriter Sufjan Stevens discovered Reddit video of the EP sessions at Mahern’s studio and offered to release it on his Asthmatic Kitty label. The duo’s watershed year was in 2013, when The Weight of the Globe was reissued and the pair recorded and released an eponymous debut full-length on Asthmatic Kitty, their first live shows in Indianapolis sold out, John Mellencamp (a longtime friend/client of Mahern’s) asked the girls to sing on the recording of his Stephen King-collaborated musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and the sisters appeared on national TV for the first time on CBS This Morning.

The following year, Lily & Madeleine released their sophomore album, Fumes, and hit the road to promote the album, which generated glowing reviews from Paste Magazine and The New York Times, among many others. Last year, the sisters welcomed drummer Katie Siefker to the live fold; they’d already been working with multi-instrumentalist Shannon Hayden onstage since their 2013 debut.

For the recently released Keep It Together, the duo’s first album with New West Records, Lily & Madeleine incorporated their touring band into the studio sessions and expanded their stylistic range from the simple Folk/Pop melodicism of their first two albums to include deeper, darker, more dramatic songwriting themes and hauntingly dreamy Trip Hop rhythms and textures. 

Given the breadth of their accomplishments at astonishingly young ages — they’re now 19 and 21, respectively — it would seem that Lily & Madeleine’s continued success is as sure and as warmly welcome as tomorrow’s sunrise.


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