Musicfest NW: Local Natives

photos by Kyle Johnson
intro by Christy Thacker

The Local Natives may be L.A. locals, but they’re foreigners in the pop music mecca when it comes to their tri-harmonizing indie sound and do-it-yourself approach. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because up until last year, the five played under Cavil At Rest. While recording their debut album, Gorilla Manor, the band thought it necessary to shed the old name created in high school by Taylor Rice (vocals/guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals/keys/percussion), and Ryan Hahn (vocals/guitar) to incorporate members Andy Hamm (bass) and Matt Frazier (drums) who joined in 2007.

The fresh title not only reflects their collaborative song writing and instrument sharing (they often switch instruments on stage), but their move from a “guitar band” to a “vocal band” as Taylor puts it. Don’t get me wrong, they still have marching drums and sweet-sounding violin, but organizing and perfecting harmonies has become their main focal point, and is, in my mind, what sets them apart from the countless folksy indie groups attempting to survive and thrive.

And talk about staying alive, the unsigned five rely on networking with fans to get noticed and stay in the music game. Aside from playing gigs, the band created Outta Site, a super personal blog, which features everything from Hamm’s hangover experiences to new tour dates and live video performances.

The Local Natives are hitting up the Northwest before embarking on a mini month long UK tour. But fear not, they’re making their way back to the States in November.

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