Tag Archives: Local Natives

Live: Local Natives @ Cannery Ballroom – Nashville – 14 October 2010

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With the way the independent music scene works, it’s not unusual for bands to blow up very quickly. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean that it’s weird to watch. The first time I saw Local Natives, they were playing at a 150-capacity club and seemed shocked that any people actually bothered to show up, much less selling out the place. This time around, they were at a venue ten times that size–which wasn’t packed, but still had a respectable audience. This Cannery show was truly set apart as a completely different experience once I witnessed grown women pointing at the band and saying, “I’m going to marry that one.” It’s a natural enough result of increased success, but I have to say that it still felt pretty strange. I don’t want to be that jerk bragging about liking them first, because Local Natives deserve the best and I’ve certainly been evangelical about them, but I want to say this as a spectator of the buzz game. Also, if you have the opportunity to see Local Natives live, you should take it, because they’re lovely and sound amazing and make you feel good about being alive and able to see great music. Enough of my boring blather, here are some pictures. (But maybe also check out this article.)

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Top Eight Thursday: 1 July 2010

1. Das Racist – “Fake Patois”
2. Kid Sister – “Right Hand Hi”
3. Das Racist – “Nutmeg”
4. Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg – “California Gurls (MSTRKRFT Remix)”
5. Dirty Projectors + Björk – “On and Ever Onward”
6. Kid Sister ft. Kanye West – “Pro Nails”
7. Local Natives – “Sun Hands”
8. Local Natives – “Airplanes”

Listen here

A wish I could use right now would be for more Local Natives in my life.

Leisure Reading: Sleigh Bells, Local Natives, Blur, Interpol, M.I.A., Cults, and Bored To Death

First things first: listen to Sleigh Bells’ debut album Treats and blow your eardrums out. Pretty much all of the dirty, fuzzy sound from the demos is maintained, except now it’s a crisper sort of dirty and fuzzy. That probably doesn’t make sense in words, so you should just go hear it for yourself. The new version of “Infinity Guitars” is a particular stand-out, becoming even punchier and out-of-control.


There’s a new video for Local Natives’ “World News,” which has preemptively been on my list of favorite songs of 2010 for quite some time now. It’s directed by the same guy who did Dirty Projectors’ “Stillness Is The Move,” and while there are no llamas present, it’s probably nothing like what you would have expected for this song. Watch it here. You can also check out a bootleg of one of their recent sold-out Bowery Ballroom shows here.

Blur haven’t ruled out the possibility of recording new material, so that’s something to celebrate. However, it could be quite some time, considering that Damon Albarn is one of those people who tries to be in every band ever.

Interpol’s new album is done, but Carlos D. has quit the band. Considering how much he’s contributed to the Interpol brand, it’ll be interesting to see where Mssrs. Banks, Kessler, and Fogarino go from here. Will the replacement be required to wear random gun holsters and grow Colonel Sanders facial hair? I have a feeling that no one will be able to suffice in comparison to the real deal.

In other new release news, M.I.A.’s new album will be called / \ / \ / \ Y / \ and will be released on July 13 instead of June 29. Considering that her people hired a blimp to advertise the release date during Jay-Z’s set at Coachella, something serious must have caused the switch. Surely the reaction to ginger genocide wasn’t that strong?

Cults have made a three-song 7″ available for free on Bandcamp. If you like layered vocals, glockenspiel, and lazy sunny days, this is for you.

Filming for season two of Bored To Death is still going. The first set the expectations high (in more ways than one), and we all need more Schwartzman, Galifianakis, and Danson in our lives. Considering that these pictures show the Zach Galifianakis character Ray apparently involved with a dog-walking service, this next season can only get better.

The Triple Threat: Local Natives with “Airplanes,” “Sun Hands,” and “World News”

The Triple Threat: when three songs in a row on an album are perfectly ordered for an extraordinary listening experience.

Local Natives’ new album Gorilla Manor has been one of the most-hyped of the year, and for good reason. With earnest delivery, multi-part harmonies, and arch arrangements that go from delicately layered to driving and vigorous, it’s clear that the Silver Lake band have worked hard on their craft. This extends to the tracklisting.

“Airplanes”

“Airplanes” has been Local Natives’ breakout hit, and for good reason. The song starts off with unpolished, yawning vocals and a soft piano line before bringing in the drums. The lyrics consider the life of vocalist/keyboardist Kelcey Ayer’s grandfather, who died before he was born. Ayer examines relics that reflect on an intelligent life well-lived, such as “those chopsticks you had from when taught abroad in Japan” and an often-used encyclopedia. His approach is matter-of-fact, yet with all of the sentimentality that the subject deserves. The song builds to include swelling string arrangements and the repeated plea, “I want you back,” a line that becomes refreshing in its context and simplicity. As Ayer concludes, “I bet when I leave my body for the sky, the wait will be worth it,” it seems obvious that he sincerely means every word he has just sung.

“Sun Hands”

This Triple Threat is nothing like the KFC Double Down, because the meat is clearly in the middle. “Sun Hands” has a more solid presence than “Airplanes,” featuring lead vocals from guitarist/vocalist Taylor Rice. Whereas Ayer’s mild delivery was perfect for “Airplanes,” “Sun Hands” demands Rice’s more substantial voice. The song kicks off with a clattering, insistent beat, the sense of urgency built up with the guitars. While the lyrics do not strike as deep of an emotional chord–a fast-fleeting girlfriend is compared to the setting sun, hence the title–the song’s construction shows what is really at stake. Rice’s vocals, underscored with his bandmates’, carries the first portion of the song. Then comes the singalong-friendly statement of intent, starting with just Rice’s voice and that same drumbeat, the relative calm before the storm. After the first time around, the rest of the band joins in, shouting along “And when I can feel with my sun hands/I promise not to lose her again!” This is followed by a raw, aggressive guitar breakdown that sums up the unwound feeling described in the song. Rice eventually regains control and returns to a sense of order, but leaves with an unsatisfying ending, the last sentence left unfinished. “I’ll endure the night for the promise of…”

“World News”

“World News” picks up where “Sun Hands” leaves off–sort of. It is a return to a gentler tone, a comedown from the previous song. Ayer narrates an ostensibly mundane scene of being caught in traffic, mildly irritated at the slow rate of progression. Rice and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Ryan Hahn join in later, the voices in unison reinforcing the song’s quotidian subject. “World News” is brilliant in its simplicity. It describes changing lanes, changing the radio station, and, ultimately, changing perspective. The song is addressed to a general “you,” the catalyst occurring when “You don’t like anything on local radio/So you fumble around ’til you land on NPR/And listen to world news.” The recounting of bloody Middle East conflict softens “your” heart, leading “you” to conclude that “The bad feeling so bad makes the good so good.” This acceptance of routine frustrations and First World problems brings a much-needed sense of closure.

Live: Local Natives @ The Basement – Nashville – 30 April 2010

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With bands known for their use of multi-part harmonies, it becomes a concern as to whether or not they can pull the effect off live. In a word, Local Natives can. After the glam-hippie Suckers opened (and an hour-long wait before that), the Los Angeleno quintet took to the Basement’s stage for the longest set they’ve ever played, starting with the gently intelligent “World News.” Due to technical difficulties with the bass at first, they graciously played it a second time. In my book, that was a lucky misfortune–“World News” is hands down my favorite song of theirs. They proceeded through tight renditions of the rest of debut album Gorilla Manor, other standouts including the ode to travel “Camera Talk,” shouty Talking Heads cover “Warning Sign,” and the sentimental “Airplanes.” The layered vocal stylings that have earned Local Natives comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear were on point throughout the set. The band was joined by the trumpet player from Suckers on “Who Knows Who Cares,” followed by the rest of the opening band joining in on additional percussion for the raucous closer “Sun Hands.” This show was my fourth night of live music in eight days, and nothing else was quite like being part of such an engaged crowd, clapping and shouting along to the refrain of “And when I can feel with my sun hands/I promise not to lose her again!”

Setlist:
World News
Camera Talk
Warning Sign
Cards and Quarters
Shape Shifter
Wide Eyes
Stranger Things
Cubism Dream
Sticky Thread
Airplanes
Who Knows Who Cares
Sun Hands

Top Eight Thursday: 29 April 2010 + Beach House live @ Mercy Lounge Nashville 28 April

Listen here

1. Sleigh Bells – “Tell ‘Em”
2. Cold War Kids – “Saint John”
3. Cold War Kids – “Audience”
4. Avi Buffalo – “Summer Cum”
5. Local Natives – “World News”
6. Julian Casablancas – “4 Chords of the Apocalypse”
7. Avi Buffalo – “Five Little Sluts”
8. MGMT – “Congratulations”

Avi Buffalo’s self-titled debut album came out this Tuesday, as did the US release of Two Door Cinema Club’s Tourist History.

With everything new I hear from them, I get more excited for Sleigh Bells’ proper album. Download “Tell ‘Em” here. (Via Pitchfork)

Speaking of excellent girl-boy duos, I went to Beach House’s sold-out show at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge last night. It was completely packed and I couldn’t see anything other than the rotating silver tinsel pyramids that they had dangling from the ceiling, but I assure you that they sounded fantastic. Victoria LeGrand’s voice is just as–if not more–moving and soothing in person. Beach House doesn’t seem like the kind of music where an intense stage presence is necessary, though. I’ve been really quite impressed with all of the live music I’ve seen so far this year, Drake aside. In an attempt to make up for this non-review, check out this interview they did with Under The Radar.