Photo by Bryan Sheffield
Today So-Cal indie-atmospherists Local Natives release a brand new record called Hummingbird. To mark the occasion, we’re once again digging into the Studio 1A archives to bring you something special.
High school buddies Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayer and Ryan Hahn formed Local Natives back in 2008. Bassist Andy Hamm and drummer Matt Frazier were also recruited into the fledgling group (Hamm left the group in 2011, and Local Natives forged ahead as a quartet). The band moved from their native Orange County to L.A.’s musical mecca of Silver Lake, whose residents have included (at one time or another) Elliott Smith, Eels, Rilo Kiley, Jane’s Addiction, Tom Waits, Dum Dum Girls, and a boatload of others. Local Natives’ debut full-length Gorilla Manor hit the U.K. almost a full year before its stateside release in 2010. In their 2010 review of Gorilla Manor, Pitchfork gave the record an 8.4 (pretty darn high if you’re at all familiar with those ornery, fickle folks at Pitchfork), and called them a “sort of West Coast Grizzly Bear.” It’s a not at all unwarranted comparison when you take a listen to Local Natives’ vocal harmonies and dream-like, genre-bending melodies.
The band got to show off their musical chops in the old Studio 1A back in April 2010, fresh off their second tour of duty at South By Southwest. One of the songs they performed is today’s song of the day “Airplanes.” This version is a slightly folkier arrangement than the one that appears on Gorilla Manor; an earnestly strummed mandolin augments the piano as a driving melodic instrument. But those lovely vocal harmonies are on full display. Local Natives, they’re another fantastic addition to the Studio 1A archives.