By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Local Natives, the Silver Lake-based indie rock quintet originally from Mission Viejo, crushed at South By Southwest, returning home to LA with huge momentum leading up to their April 18 Coachella date. The other OC/LBC acts who made appearances in Austin surely turned heads, but Local Natives (whose drummer is ex-OC Weekly art director Matt Frazier) had critics drooling. This blowing-up stuff began last year at SXSW thanks to songs such as the brilliantly charming, lovesick single “Airplanes.” The band’s debut full-length, Gorilla Manor, named after the Orange County house the band members formerly shared, came out in the U.S. Feb. 16 on Frenchkiss Records. The timing proved spot-on; the NYC-based label is responsible for introducing the world to bands such as The Hold Steady, The Dodos and Passion Pit.
So, yeah, important publications knew better than to place Gorilla Manor in the pile of no return. And when they took a listen, well, it was basically a love fest. The snark merchants at Pitchfork praised Gorilla Manor with an attention-getting 8.4, and pretty much every other music-review outlet has also gushed about the album, which, speaking of numbers, has a most impressive 78 Metascore at press time. Adding to this year’s SXSW buildup, the Austin Chroniclefour-starred the record, saying, “There’s something in the floating harmonies of this incredible young LA band that will stop you in your tracks.” Local Natives arrived in Texas for a slew of high-profile official and totally hip non-official SXSW performances, the latter thrown by Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan, among others.
Reports—running on both sides of the Atlantic—have poured in at Next-Big-Thing levels:
Houston Press (one of our sister papers):“Local Natives, the only indie band that matters this year.”
BBC: “Acclaimed Los Angeles quintet Local Natives have returned to the South By Southwest music conference for a second year running, proving themselves a hit with nine gigs across the four-day bash.”
NME: “[The band] proved to be one of the highlights of the day, delivering a rousing late-night set to a packed house at Emo’s.”
NPR: “They played an impressive set of cuts from the album, nailing the four-part harmonies that are such an integral part of their sound.”
A.V. Club: “Local Natives won me over with the Broken Social Scene undercurrents of ‘Camera Talk.’”
So, yeah, Local Natives are doing their native Orange County proud—even if they left us for LA! From a March 22 Heard Mentality post.