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Local Natives at Rough Trade NYC (July 13, 2016)

By Will Oliver, July 15th 2016

1_Local Natives_Rough Trade NYC

It’s been amazing to watch the rise of Silver Lake, California band Local Natives throughout the year. It’s hard to remember a time where they were pitching songs themselves to blogs like this one right here, but that hard work has paid off, and their popularity has grown tenfold since the release of their debut album Gorilla Manor.

It’s been three years since we last heard from Local Natives with 2013’s Hummingbird, but they’ve thankfully returned to us in full force. They have been slowly sharing new songs from their new album Sunlit Youth (out on September 9 via Loma Vista Recordings), and playing last minute pop up shows in various cities, starting in Los Angeles, and spreading to the East Coast. It was New York’s turn on Wednesday, when the group returned to us for a very sold out intimate show at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn.
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[new]: Local Natives – “Past Lives”

By Will Oliver, April 29th 2016

Local Natives

It’s been three years since we last heard new music from Local Natives, but today that changed with the surprise release of a brand new song named “Past Lives.” The band premiered it last night at a surprise show in Los Angeles, and today they released a stream to the rest of the world.

“Past Lives” features some of those ever-familiar and delightful vocals, keeping that familiar sound while also taking a big leap forward in terms of scope and incorporation of some new elements that create a much bigger sound. This song will satisfy all of the bands fans, delivering big harmonies and percussion, all under one big shiny package.

We can only assume that “Past Lives” will be included on their eventual third album, which hopefully will be released sometime this year. For now, “Past Lives’ will certainly hold us over.

Enjoy it below along with a message that Local Natives’ Taylor Rice provided along with the song:
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Local Natives at Firefly Music Festival 2014

By Will Oliver, July 6th 2014


Every time I catch Local Natives, the stages they play on are larger and larger. I’m not complaining, their success is more than well deserved. With the larger audiences comes new tests for the band, and its ones that they ace time and time again

Firefly (their first time playing in Delaware) was a one-off performance for the band who are not on tour, but rather are in L.A. making the new record. They were genuinely surprised that so many people showed up to see them. Singer Taylor Rice admitted was an initial concern when they found out they were playing night one of the fest. It was no problem at all, as they feed off the crowd’s energy, dominating their set with confidence.

As someone whose seen these guys a handful of times now, it was a familiar set. Even so, the band were still as on point as ever, plus it was nice to hear their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Out Among The Stars”, which they originally did for a La Blogotheque session.

As Rice dove into the crowd to surf during the climax of “Sun Hands”, it was clear that Local Natives are now the guys who are able to take over a festival crowd and send them into a frenzy. How cool is that?
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Local Natives @ Lollapalooza (8/3/2013)

By Will Oliver, August 7th 2013

Every time I see Local Natives the stage seems to get bigger, and the crowds much larger. Lollapalooza was the biggest crowd I’ve seen from them yet, and the boys didn’t disappoint. They nailed home another fantastic performance that made me proud to be a fan of these guys. They continue to make strides forward with every performance. You can’t help but be happy for their continued success.

Check out some shots of their performance below.
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Local Natives – You & I (Local Natives Remix)

By Will Oliver, July 15th 2013

Local Natives - You & I (Local Natives Remix)

You read that title correctly. Today I received an e-mail from Local Natives very own Kelcey Ayer, informing me that he has been doing some remixes of songs from Hummingbird. He just released the remix for “You & I” today. As far as remixes go, this is as legit as it comes, straight from the band itself. So I guess you can consider this an alternative version of sorts.

Enjoy it below, via Kelcey himself.

Local Natives @ Governors Ball (June 7, 2013)

By Will Oliver, June 11th 2013

Local Natives somehow continue to find ways to blow me away live. As their name and audiences get bigger, their performances only get bigger and better. I’ve watched these guys grow into the real deal, and it’s truly a wonder to watch. Hummingbird seems to have been underrated by a lot of people. Don’t let that happen. It’s a great fucking record people.

[Album Review]: Local Natives – Hummingbird

By Will Oliver, March 2nd 2013 — with 1 comment

Local Natives - Hummingbird

January 28, 2013 | Frenchkiss Records | Purchase

Local Natives have had a tremendous journey over the last few years. It’s been great to watch these guys blossom into the confident indie mainstays that they are today. I waited a month to review this album, as I felt that anything sooner wouldn’t have been fair to the album, which is as close to the definition of a “grower” as can be. I’ve had plenty of time to listen to their new album Hummingbird, and to truly let it settle and work it’s magic on me.

It goes without saying that this is a different album than their tremendous debut Gorilla Manor, one of my favorite albums of the last few years. There’s no use comparing the two. Bassist Andy Hamm left the band in 2011, and The National’s Aaron Dessner produced the album, giving us all a clear indication that this would be a darker, more serious effort.

Looking around my peers and the rest of the musical landscape, it seems like a lot of people unfairly bashed the album too early on, insisting that it was a slow, listen that absent of the sunny hooks and harmonies that their debut so effortlessly established. It’s unfair because this album is a reflection of all the bands hardships, such as the losing of a band member/friend, and more serious forms of loss. Take “Colombia” a touching song written by Kelcey Ayer about the loss of his mother. Obviously we will never feel how Ayer felt after such a devastating loss of a loved one, but he guides us as close as he can in the song, putting us right with him emotionally.

Where as Gorilla Manor could be seen as various pieces of a puzzle, Hummingbird is the whole thing, an album that features an aesthetic heavy on melancholy, reminders of the past. The theme of loss hits home on “Three Months”, a simply beautiful ballad, that tackles the grieving process of losing someone, and the recovery that never quite seems like enough (“I’ve got to go on now/Having thought this wasn’t your last year”). The band strikes a similar chord on the dark bouncy riffs of “Black Balloons” that are begging for a more immediate recovery from a painful experience (“You hold me down and bring me back up again/ Until I can’t, I can’t tell the difference”). It’s the little things and details that you notice that make this album a remarkable listen. Such as this moment on “Ceilings” (“I haven’t stopped your smoking yet/So I’ll share your cigarette/Just to feel it in my fingers”). We’ve all been there, foolishly submitting ourselves because we fancy someone.

There’s nothing like when a track that does nothing for you at first slowly turns into your favorite. This is the case for “Mt. Washington”, a track that crept up on me and slowly hit my emotional core like nothing else. It doesn’t do anything more than it has to, and it builds and builds off lovely vocals from Taylor Rice, creating an emotional moment that works because it’s so simple and pure. It bears it’s soul to us, and we have no choice but to open ours right back.

Hummingbird is a somber, personal reflection that is highlighted by the touching “Colombia.” If I had any real gripe with this album, it’s that it should have ended on this song. It’s a remarkable song that perfectly captures the theme and power of the album. It’s power is inescapable. What’s also inescapable is the power of Aaron Dessner at the helms. He had a great deal to do with the restraint somber nature of this album. Hell there are flashes of The National on the album, such as the frantic drumming by Matt Frazier on “Heavy Feet.” Frazier is arguably the secret weapon of the band. If you want to argue, please listen to his drum fills on “Wooly Mammoth” on full volume and try telling me otherwise.

I previously said that there’s no use comparing Local Natives two albums, but I do think that this is the better one, and time will prove that as these songs have room to grow on listeners as quick as a hummingbird can fly.

Rating: 8.5

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