Although recorded in late 2008, Gorilla Manor wasn’t released until 14 months later, allowing Local Natives the chance to build a strong blog buzz before their debut hit American shores. The delay wasn’t entirely beneficial, however, as Gorilla Manor sounds quite similar to a number of albums that flourished in the interim. Local Natives’ sunny harmonies call to mind Fleet Foxes’ debut and Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, while the band’s polyphonic hand percussion — which, at its most frenzied, is almost tribal-sounding — evokes memories of Yeasayer’s All Hour Cymbals. For all its familiarity, though, Local Natives’ first album is still an enjoyable piece of work, filled with enough pop melodies and multicultural quirks to make the yearlong holdup fairly worthwhile. The band pitches itself somewhere between the post-punk camp and Afro-beat village, with the musicians often yelping their verses in multi-part harmony before barreling into Technicolor choruses. Matt Frazier’s percussion is sharp, crisp, and always in the foreground, often assuming as much importance as the vocals themselves, while the album’s production — courtesy of the bandmates themselves, along with fellow Silver Lake resident Raymond Richards — stretches a layer of pan-ethnic atmosphere over all 12 tracks, a move that bridges any gaps in the young group’s songwriting. Local Natives may have arrived several months late for their own party, but Gorilla Manor is a refreshing example of good quality trumping bad timing.
Here’s a live version of their song “Wide Eyes”
About Tinashe, in his own words.
I was originally shipped over from Zimbabwe so I could eventually grow to become a doctor/lawyer and wire money back home via Western Union, that didn’t go so well… I blame/thank MJ.
I smiled & nodded to avoid bullying over my African accent at school until the Eastenders elocution lessons started to pay off… I can now slip in between both rather seamlessly… I grew up in Hackney. I will always be a Hackney boy but I’m enjoying being in a state of flux. Life is bigger than London.
I’m currently more in love with my guitar than I have ever been. I make guitar music. I am not ashamed to say l love pop music. That’s what its all about for me. Good music fuelled by the world around me.
YEASAYER “ODD BLOOD”
Don’t judge a book by its cover…or an album by its first track. Odd Blood gets off to an odd start with “The Children” — a robotic, plodding song that prizes mood over melody — before settling into a more balanced groove, mixing the multicultural sounds of Yeasayer‘s debut with a new emphasis on electronica, global trip-hop, and digital production. Like All Hour Cymbals, this is a thinking man’s album, one that requires its listeners to put on their thinking caps as well as their dancing shoes. It’s more urban than its predecessor, though, with most songs ditching the tribal harmonies and lo-fi analog ambience of the band’s earlier work in favor of an electric, textured sound. “Love Me Girl,” with its mix of Balearic beat keyboards and sampled female vocals, could have come from an Ibiza nightclub, while “Madder Red” strikes an unlikely balance between synth pop, Middle Eastern folk, and ‘80s dance music. Anand Wilder often abandons his guitar entirely, focusing instead on the keyboards that serve as Odd Blood’s bedrock, and he sings the latter song in a voice that’s clear, pleasant, and devoid of the yelping that characterized some of All Hour Cymbals’ tracks. Chris Keating has similarly improved, so much so that he delivers a rather stunning ballad — the Air-influenced “I Remember” — with warmth and understated confidence. Odd Blood’s emphasis on genre-mashing can overwhelm the weaker tunes, whose melodies are sometimes less interesting than the arrangements themselves, but the album has enough highlights to outweigh any filler on side B. All in all, this is a rare sophomore album that widens the band’s sound without narrowing its appeal.
An enticing blend of twee indie pop hooks and crisp electronic beats in the style first perfected by Saint Etienne‘s Foxbase Alpha, Little Dragon are a showcase for Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano, a mainstay of the European downtempo and lounge scenes. Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Nagano first broke through in 2000 and 2001 as the singer on several singles by Swell Session, the project fronted by Swedish DJ and producer Andreas Saag. She later sang lead on the club hits “Summer Sun” and “Bright Nights” for the Swedish electronica duo Koop, as well as Hird‘s house singles “Keep You Kimi” and “I Love You My Hope,” along with several contributions to the acid jazz collective Stateless‘ 2003 album Art of No State and the stylistically similar Sleepwalker‘s 2006 album The Voyage. Little Dragon, by way of contrast, are Nagano‘s own band, featuring keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand, bassist Fredrik Kallgren Wallin, and drummer Erik Bodin. Bodin is also the percussionist for Swedish alt-folkie José González; in fact, Nagano sings harmony vocals on González‘s second album, In Our Nature. Little Dragon debuted in 2006 with the “Test” single, on the Scandinavian label Off the Wall. The following year, Little Dragon signed with the larger British indie Peacefrog Records (Nouvelle Vague, etc.) for their self-titled debut album. Machine Dreams, showing flashes of new wave inspiration, followed in 2009.
Vanity Fair had released an article regarding El Paso and it’s thriving music scene.
The article is available in it’s entirety HERE in case you missed it.
Hello All That Music & Video Customers. We’d like to thank you for making “Record Store Day” a success. It was a great day, and it was wonderful to see & visit with many old friends and customers! Thank also to the El Paso Times and the great article on Record Store Day. If you missed it-click HERE.
We also appreciate your patience during our remodeling phase. We are still adding a few finishing touches to make our store look the best it can be. Stay tuned for more great merchandise and sales. Thank you for your business. We appreciate you!
Kid Sister is Chicago. She makes rap music and works at a children’s clothing store slanging bibs and teething rings. Yes, her hype man J2K of Flosstradamus is her real brother, and yes that does rule. Together they took the Chi-town music scene by storm, rocking parties and causing all around dancefloor mayhem. This was followed by tours with Kanye West’s DJ A-Trak (her boyfriend, one of her main producers and co-owner of Fool’s Gold Records). 2006 found Kid Sister selling-out shows from Chicago to Paris, including an appearance at the Pitchfork Music Festival. The media responded favorably, with features on MTV (“My Block”), Pitchfork, i-D Magazine, XLR8R, the New York Times, Billboard and the cover of URB’s “Next 1000” issue, among others.
Building on the strength of this early buzz, Kid Sister hit the studio and released two singles on Fool’s Gold (“Control” and “Pro Nails”). Frequent international touring followed throughout 2007, including an appearance at Coachella, a sold out show at SXSW, and a full US tour with her fellow labelmates. Kanye West also took notice, adding a verse to her “Pro Nails” single (which he released on his “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” mixtape) and appearing in the music video, which quickly became an MTV favorite.
With her full-length debut on the way this year featuring A-Trak, Xxxchange of Spank Rock, and others on production duties, Kid Sister is taking this.
To get the formalities out of the way, Miike Snow is not a singer/songwriter named Mike. Miike Snow isn’t even a he, actually. It’s an indie-electro pop trio, made up of singer Andrew Wyatt of Fires of Rome and Swedish (hence the double “i” in the name) mega producers Chris Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, otherwise known as Bloodshy & Avant. Those familiar with Bloodshy & Avant‘s track record — working with Britney Spears, Madonna, and Kylie Minogue — will know that they’re capable of making top-notch pop gloss geared for the dancefloor. But the question here is, “can they create music that isn’t designed for club-goers and teeny boppers?” With their self-titled release, they do make light, inoffensive pop with twinkling synths and unshakable choruses, but it’s a pretty substantial shift in style from their past gigs. Consistent throughout, the album’s more suited for a coffee shop or a Sunday morning drive than a night out with the girls, with its fill of slick mid-tempo beats and Swedish twee glee. Starting with a hook that doesn’t sound too far off from a Vampire Weekend cut (not a surprising reference point, since Miike Snow‘s repertoire of remixes includes a version of “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance”), dubby synths circulate around flighty vocals with heavy sentiments: “I change shapes just to hide in this place, but I’m still, I’m still an animal.” Slight of hand seems to be one of the group’s best tricks, as they take lyrics with moody undertones to unexpectedly joyous heights. When the second track, “Burial” — a slice of pop that’s as instantly accessible as the first — starts with the line, “Misery is all we know lately,” the music box keyboards never hint at anything but a sweet little ditty. Production tricks are used just enough to keep the sound fresh as Karlsson and Winnberg rifle through their folders of synth sounds and plug-ins, all the while adding arpeggiated bleeps, Moog pads, and the occasional octave effect to enhance vocal parts. As talented as they are, they could have easily gone overboard with the studio wizardry, but they show enough restraint to never break the illusion that this is a simple, easy listening, electro-pop record. There’s no lack of artists making similar sounding music — MGMT, Pop Levi, White Williams, and even Animal Collective come to mind — but Miike Snow is ambitious and fun enough that they’re worth checking out.
Miike Snow’s video for “Animal”