Local Natives Record a Live Version of Their Unreleased Album

Classically rock music seemed to hint at a possible alternate existence outside of workaday society. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the music and lyrics of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, or the Grateful Dead seemed to imply that there was a viable alternative to the humdrum existence of a 9-5, that there was still something mysterious left to find in the world if you looked hard enough.

As time passes and music has increasingly become a heading under the category of the mantra “follow your dreams”, many times fueled by well-to-do parents, rock bands have proliferated that have little to do with alternatives and are more about being a tongue-and-groove soundtrack to the situation humanity has found itself in. Rock songs used to be about how cool the world could be, now they’re just about how goddamned boring it is.

Drugs are played out, government has failed utterly to have any imagination whatsoever, science has promised everything and delivered nothing, and technology has increased communication but somehow also made us intolerant of difference. Things are okay in this situation as long as they’re knowable and predictable — genuine weirdness is most definitely not okay.

This general cultural ennui leads inevitably to nostalgia. When all possibilities are known, when all artistic forms are exhausted, the past looks much rosier than it actually was. Nostalgia is what underlies all current movements in music and fashion. The Urban Outfitters catalogue is a love letter to a bygone era of comfort, fulfillment, and safety.

On stage, Local Natives is a band that looks like its members stepped out of the latest UO catalog. But this is certainly not a put-down of them. They write well-crafted songs, and despite what seems like a mass movement in indie music towards harmonies and the ubiquitous use of the phrase “la, la, la” in choruses, they do them as well as anybody.

PopMatters was invited to an in-studio recording of their soon-to-be-released album Hummingbird for live broadcast on Los Angeles’s premier music program, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic. It was recently announced that KCRW has become Spotify’s only radio station partner and will select much of the new music they promote to their 20 million users. The Local Natives program is set to air at 11:00am PST on January 11th, which will also stream live for those not within reach of the radio waves bouncing around the LA basin.

The set list consists of more than half the tracks off of Hummingbird, plus some of the well-known songs from Local Natives’ first record Gorilla Manor. Since Hummingbird won’t be released until January 29th this live session serves nicely as an album preview.

While you’re on KCRW’s site on January 11th, make sure to browse their selection of archived live performances. There are some true gems, including an all-acoustic set from Sean Rowe, whose performance of his song “Jonathan” is a haunting reminder of what music can be when stripped of pretense.

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Garcia

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Garcia

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Garcia

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