All posts tagged Local Natives

The Orchard & Frenchkiss Records to launch new label group

Independent distro company The Orchard in partnership with Frenchkiss Records and label founder Syd Butler, announced today Read more…

Indie Dispatches: CHL’s year-end accolades & a peak at what’s to come in 2012

From the melodic pop of Real Estate to the undeniably retro fuzz of Yuck, the distorted dreamy noise of I Break Horses and the lo- fi meandering of Youth Lagoon, 2011 has been an excellent year for music. Read more…

Indie Dispatches: Ten Most Enjoyed Albums of 2010 (And Then Some)…

Sharon Van Etten, Epic, indeed

The torrent of those year-end lists is still coming thick and fast from all corners of the media, with some of the latest being Amazon‘s best of, Rhapsody‘s picks, Drowned In Sound and Stereogum‘s top 50. Scanning through many of the lists, the big question doesn’t seem to be, “How many places will pick Kanye West as album of the year?” but more likely “How many places won’t?” Well, I can tell you, as much as Indie Dispatches appreciates the record, and definitely got our money’s worth buying the digital album for 99 cents on Amazon.com, it’s (not so) sad to say the opus didnt make our short list. Instead here are ten picks we enjoyed an awful lot during 2010 – some you may have listened to and others you may well have not…

Sharon Van EttenEpic (Ba Da Bing) – One of those ‘word-of-mouth’ records that has benefitted from the new frontier of the internet and the marvels of social media. Friends espousing their love of this Brooklyn artist on Facebook, an album purchase, and instant love. Further posting on Facebook about the glorious nature of this album – its engaging songwriting and classic feel – and the word spreads. Pure magic.

Gold PandaLucky Shiner (Ghostly International) – Ah, the joys of laptop electronica. This record seemingly came out of nowhere and set itself apart from its contemporaries (such as Four Tet, Baths, etc) with its progressive sounds, catchy melodies and infectious beats.

Avi BuffaloAvi Buffalo (Sub Pop) – A bunch of teenagers from LBC form a band, make a record, sign to one of the coolest labels around and capture the attention of music fans across the world, all led by a diminutive (and naive) guitar meastro after whom the combo is named. The lyrics express (at times in a raw fashion) the angst of being a teen, but the songs are for the ages.

Sally SeltmannHeart That’s Pounding (Arts & Crafts) – I recently rediscovered this album, marvelling at its brilliance all over again, and ended up listening to it 10 times in a row. As great as some of the much praised artists in this ‘girl singer over electro beats’ genre (read Annie, Saint Etienne), I have a feeling the sales were terrible (probably the ‘best, worst selling record of 2010′), which is criminal, despite Seltmann being the spouse of a member of Avalanches and the writer of Feist‘s monster hit.

VillagersBecoming a Jackal (Domino) – See SVE… but from Dublin, Ireland. People who ‘got’ this record fell in love and were enthralled by its majesty. Some of the best lyrics around, and coming from a country that is known for its A-grade balladeers. And whether it was just leader Conor O’Brien on stage solo, or with his band, the live shows were jaw dropping.

Dylan LeBlancPauper’s Field (Rough Trade) –  Alas, I think this release was lost amongst the blogger frenzy for label mates Warpaint and Morning Benders, which was a crying shame. LeBlanc is steeped in the whole country-soul canon with personal ties to the Muscle Shoals/Fame recordings family of musicians, which set him apart on this album from the rest of his singer-songwriter contemporaries.

SuperchunkMajesty Shredding (Merge) – A bunch of old(er) folk make their first album in nine years, and at the same time, show all the youthful pretenders half their age how it is done. Great energy, super songs and reminding the world why Superchunk was one of the best bands in the 90′s (and still are). Come back of the year and a record that more than holds its own with anything in 2010.

Best CoastCrazy Like You (Mexican Summer) – 2010 was a bleak year to be an American, with high unemployment, economic troubles, housing traumas, political turmoil… what better time would there be to throw all the cares away with an album of summery beach pop. Pure escapism, and quintessentially Californian.

PhantogramEyelid Movies (Barsuk) – An album that might have been more at home on Warp or Modular, rather than the house that Death Cab for Cutie built, but it’s 2010, so who’s discriminating. See Gold Panda… with vocals.

Holly MirandaThe Magician’s Private Library (XL) –  Who knew that the mantle of Jeff Buckley would be taken up by the former singer of a relatively average NY indie rock band, with help from a member of TVOTR? The album got made and sat in limbo for an age, before XL Recordings stepped in (thank goodness)… Anchored by Miranda’s entrancing vocals, seemingly swooping down from heaven.

And worthy of notable mention for providing great listening pleasure at various times during 2010, in no particular order… Fences Fences , Fitz & The Tantrums Picking Up the Pieces, Glasser Ring, The Head and the Heart The Head and the Heart, Surf City Kudos, Owen Pallett Heartland, Magic Kids Memphis , Local Natives Gorilla Manor, Surfer Blood Astro Coast.

- Cool Hand Luke

Indie Dispatches: The Unstoppable Local Natives & The Shins New Album

Local Natives Building Momentum with Non-Stop Touring

One look at Local Natives upcoming tour schedule should leave little doubt that the LA five-piece are one the hardest working young bands out there. The group has always been a touring machine, but the list of forthcoming shows for the remainder of 2010 would make even a seasoned road warrior gasp in admiration. And showing that rewards are there for those who work, all their time on the road seems to be paying dividends. It was barely 15 months ago that Local Natives were playing SXSW for the first time, getting a Local who? response and a collective shrug of the shoulders from record labels; few suitors stepped-up with an offer to sign the band before they ultimately inked a deal with NY indie label French Kiss. Since then the group has become a global presence and have built a fan base the old-fashioned way, by touring, touring, touring. This summer sees them playing a host of A-list festivals worldwide – Oya, Glastonbury, Pitchfork, Reading, Leeds, Roskilde, Summer Sundae and Fuji Rock in Japan to name a few. This is all before setting off on North American dates that stretch from September 17th to October 28th.  The opening show of the tour at the Henry Fonda Theater in their hometown sold-out in a matter of hours, requiring the addition of a second date (the sell-out nights also seem to have brought some bigger labels sniffing around). Whether or not the sales of their album Gorilla Manor are commensurate with their live business, there’s no disputing that Local Natives are rapidly turning into the indie rock version of The Little Engine That Could.

In an interview for Pitchfork last week, James Mercer announced his next project will be a fourth album from his main combo, The Shins. Since the band have fulfilled their initial Sub Pop record deal, the two million dollar question is, which label is in line to release the album? Will it be the Seattle indie in some new-model arrangement? Or will Mercer follow the path of former label-mates Band of Horses and bring The Shins to Columbia Records – also the current home for his Broken Bells project with Dangermouse?   There’s always the possibility of another label stepping up with an offer too good to turn down, but Mercer & co. are also in a position to go it alone and turn their backs on the traditional label system. With the three prior Shins releases selling in massive quantities (both Oh Inverted World and Wincing the Night Away received gold certifications) and Mercer currently riding high with Broken Bells, to say the album is highly anticipated is an understatement.

-Cool Hand Luke

Indie Dispatches: Straight From the Chart

Sharon Jones' New Album Enters Top 200 Its First Week

Last week saw another independent label release break into the ‘big boy charts’ with the Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings album I Learned the Hard Way scoring a #15 spot in the Billboard Top 200 with over 20k in sales in its first week. The interesting twist to the story is that the album is on Daptone Records, a label that could be seen more as a cottage operation rather than one of the more storied independent labels. The big winner for the year so far in the indie-label chart story however, has been Merge Records, which has had not one, but two new releases hit the top five in 2010. First with the Spoon Transference album back in January and most recently She and Him‘s Volume Two. And that list doesn’t include the highly anticipated third album from the Arcade Fire that is reportedly due out this year. Could that end up being the North Carolina label’s first ever number one album?

Less than a decade ago the thought of an indie release cracking the charts in general, let alone the Top 10, was a pipe dream. Even pre-eminent artists on labels like Sub Pop or Matador in the 90′s barely scraped into the Top 100 – a reason for great celebration at the time. It seems like up until recently the only ranking an independent release could have was in Heatseekers or the tinpot Billboard Indie Chart, but all that has seemingly changed when even the Local Natives album on tiny Frenchkiss Records can hit the Top 200. While it is true independent label sales have seen a slump, and it is as hard as ever for the indies (like majors) to sell records, the drop has in some ways not been as cataclysmic as that of the Big Four.  Maybe it can be attributed to the indies’ dedication to their community of buyers, where the fans seem more invested in the artists,  or maybe it has just been a policy of good releases and reasonable prices.  But most likely it is the fact that many independent labels have simply continued to consistently put out great music.  Whatever the reason, it seems like in 2010 the kids are alright

- Cool Hand Luke

Indie Dispatches: Coachella Music Preview & Record Store Day

Band of Skulls set to rock Coachella this Saturday

It’s that time of the year again, when music fans and industry folks alike make the trek to Indio California to sit by the pool, and sip… err, we mean, visit the Empire Polo Fields for three days of the Coachella Festival. And despite the recession and the absence of single-day tickets, we hear the mega-festival has already sold out. As always, it looks to be a great weekend with a solid lineup, but going beyond the big acts like Muse, Gorillaz, Thom Yorke and Faith No More, there is a healthy line-up of more underground but equally exciting artists to check out… Friday highlights include Brooklyn’s Sleigh Bells, who are odds-on for a “most likely to…” status in 2010, and Deer Tick who count NBC’s news anchor and indie tastemaker Brian Williams‘ as a fan… Looking to Saturday, Sub Pop’s Beach House have converted a lot of fans this year with their new album Teen Dream, while Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit should be the perfect summery pop-soundtrack for basking in the afternoon sunshine. From the West Coast, the Pitchfork-approved Girls and the odd-named-but-great-sounding Portugal the Man, who recently signed to Atlantic Records, are both worth a look, while the must-see for the day could be the UK’s Band of Skulls. Expect LCD Soundsystem to wow crowds in the desert, after wowing crowds with surprise shows in NYC last week, and keep an eye on The xx, who are fast-becoming the subject of obsession by music fans on both coast. Finally before escaping the desert, a must-see on Sunday’s dance card list includes: Australia’s The Middle East, who are rolling off a huge SXSW buzz, Sigur Ros singer/guitarist Jonsi, and Local Natives, who are one of the hardest working bands in L.A… Get Coachella set-times here.

If a trip to the desert is not in your future, don’t forget April 17th is the annual Record Store Day. A visit to support your local music emporium should always be a weekly event, but this Saturday is twice as exciting with a cool selection of limited edition items available. Just like a sample-sale event, record geeks will be out in full-force when the doors open, elbowing and jockeying their way to nab a copy of the limited Sonic Youth LPs, the Bon Iver 7″ and that Pavement compilation… Happy shopping!

- Cool Hand Luke