Local Natives break out of ‘indie’ box

Reid Engwall

The “indie” music genre isn’t characterized by any specific type of music, like rap, rock, or pop. Instead, it’s more indicative of how a group chooses to make its music, using smaller record labels rather than the larger labels chosen by most of what is considered mainstream music.

For this reason, much of indie music never gets heard by mass culture. Bands like Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, Fleet Foxes, and Deerhunter have been around for years but haven’t received artistic recognition until now.

Arcade Fire and The Black Keys triumphed at this year’s Grammy Awards. Arcade Fire received the award for Album of the Year and The Black Keys picked up awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best Alternative Music Album. It seems the indie genre is earning recognition.

As the indie music movement begins to popularize, it’s important to take a look at the other bands present. Local Natives is one of those bands.

video credit: Youtube

The indie rock group hailing from the greater Los Angeles area is comprised of five members: Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayer, Ryan Hahn, Andy Hamm and Matt Frazier. The guys have just started to break onto the scene, but with an appearance on the “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and a spot on Spin Magazine’s Top 25 albums of 2010, they won’t be stuck in the shadows for too much longer.

The band’s sound relies heavily on unique percussion, pinpoint accurate harmonies, and a creative writing style causing critics to draw comparisons to other prominent indie bands such as Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend. However, with occasional dueling guitar riffs and screaming breakdowns, it’s evident the band is forging its own path.

Local Native’s first and only album “Gorilla Manor” is filled with a psychedelic folk style. It’s paired with the band’s beautifully chaotic stage performance and is creating huge buzz. It’s clear that with the current popularization of the indie music genre, the Local Natives and others bands like them will soon receive the same kind of attention.