indie music profile: Local Natives

LA’s Local Natives have been described by Pitchfork as "Afro pop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies."

In around 2005, high school mates Kelsey Ayer (vocals/keyboard/percussion), Ryan Hahn (guitar/vocals) and Taylor Rice (guitar vocals) met up with Andy Hamm (bass) and Matt Frazier (drums). They played together for three years and in December 2008, moved into a house (called Gorilla Manor) in LA where they began work on their debut album.  “It was insanely messy and there were always friends over knocking around on guitars or our thrift store piano,” said Ryan.  “It was an incredible experience and I’ll never forget that time.”

The band takes pride in their shared creative process.  All the members participate in songwriting and graphic design, and three take responsibility for vocals.

After hectically playing nine shows at the 2009 SXSW, the then unsigned band exploded and quickly began to pick up steam and were compared to Crosby Stills Nash & Young, The Zombies, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, and a "sort of a West Coast Grizzly Bear."

Their debut LP, Gorilla Manor, dropped in the U.S. on February 16, 2010.  According to KCRW, their debut “delivered a gorgeous record that transcends any single genre.  The music boasts soaring, sky-scraping harmonies, complex absorbing melodies, and throbbing beats that lovingly bash their way into your soul. It’s big music, but with an intimacy that draws you close."

Click here for a May 11, 2009 set and interview recorded for World Café by WXPN.  Click here for one of their SXSW 2010 gigs recorded by NPR.  Click here for a March 31, 2010 Morning Becomes Eclectic interview/set recorded by KCRW.  Click here for a January 11, 2010 World Café interview by WXPN.  Click here for a couple of those music videos.  Visit the band’s Myspace page here and website here.

Check here to see if Local Natives have any gigs scheduled near you.

As always, whenever possible, please buy your music from your local independent music store by people who know and love music and not from retailers like Wal-Mart (soulless, globally-homogenizing, community-killers) or i-Tunes (albums should be listened to as an entire composition with album cover and liner notes in hand). Incidentally, these two companies sell more music than any other retailer in the United States. That my friend, bites.

If you agree, please visit! Then, join the once weekly (on Wednesday) mailing list or better yet, join the pep squad and get tons of free junk (actually, just wednesday-music stickers and pencils- but really great stickers and pencils).

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