Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You Should Know: Local Natives

If you haven't already been introduced to Local Natives, allow me the honor of doing so right here, because it's quite necessary. Already heralded as one of the next big things by Pitchfork, these LA natives have crafted an excellent debut record, Gorilla Manor, which combines the folk harmonies of Fleet Foxes with a blend of modern influences (borrowing from psych-rock, surfer pop, etc.) for exceptional results. Their pedigree may be easy to hear, but the band never sounds repetitious or uninspired, and their songs are so fantastically executed it doesn't matter much anyway - they've produced the best debut so far this year and you should hear it.

Local Natives use afro-pop-esque guitars, shimmering piano, and all sorts of excellently played percussion to create their rich, warm sound. But while there always seems to be a great deal happening, the songs never feel crowded or overstuffed. Instead, the boys prove themselves to be not only talented musicians but intelligent ones as well, who restrain themselves when necessary and hit you with everything they've got when the moment is just right. Their songs are often joyful and sunny, even when there's darkness lurking below the surface, and there's surprising emotional depth here to discover after multiple listens. No matter how deeply you dive into the music, however, it's just about endlessly enjoyable. Highlights from the record include most everything from Gorilla Manor's first half, especially the entrancing "Sun Hands" and the beautifully melodious "World News."

You can download "Sun Hands" over at Pitchfork's Forkcast, which of course I recommend you do immediately. Also, check out the group's MySpace page for more.