The Bowery Ballroom
Local Natives

CMJ

Local Natives

SKATERS, San Cisco, Pacific Air, Solid Gold

Wed, October 17, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY

$17 advance / $20 day of show

Sold Out

This event is 18 and over

Local Natives
Local Natives
Local Natives make soaring, sky-scraping harmonies, dreamy orchestral melodies, and throbbing tribal beats that bash their way into your soul. Theirs are songs you can dance to almost as well as you can swoon to them. Drawing a line from the vocal stylings of Crosby Stills Nash & Young and the Zombies through the more esoteric edges of post-punk and Afro-beat, this California five piece have communally crafted a brand of indie rock all their own.

For Local Natives everything is a collaboration, from song writing duties to the band’s self produced artwork. The three part harmonies come courtesy of keyboardist Kelcey Ayer, guitarists Ryan Hahn and Taylor Rice. Then there’s Matt Frazier on drums and Andy Hamm on bass, who look after the band’s equally impressive graphics and artwork.

One of SXSW 2009’s biggest success stories, the band drove for two days to get from Los Angeles to Austin in order to play nine spectacular shows that saw them sprinting, instruments in hand, from one gig to the next. Their hectic schedule paid off as Local Natives left Austin with the attention of the UK music Industry.

Based in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, three of the five-piece originally hail from Orange County. Kelcey, Ryan and Taylor attended neighboring high schools and hooked up with bassist Andy a year after they graduated, later meeting drummer Matt. They’ve been playing – and evolving - together for three years. Last year, however, the band realized that the new songs they were writing were the sounds of a new project entirely.

It was in December 2008 that the band decamped to Silver Lake, where they all live in the same house. But the Silver Lake digs isn’t the first house the band have shared. They lived together in Orange County too, in a place affectionately known as Gorilla Manor. “It was insanely messy and there were always friends over knocking around on guitars or our thrift store piano,” says Ryan, “it was an incredible experience and I’ll never forget that time.” The original Gorilla Manor, where the band wrote the majority of their record, had such an impact that the band has paid tribute to the house by naming their debut album in its honor.

The self-funded Gorilla Manor was recorded by Raymond Richards in West Los Angeles at his own Red Rockets Glare Studio.

Featuring twelve sumptuous slices of dappled California sunlight and beguiling percussive rhythms, the album kicks off with the moody, driving, ‘Wide Eyes’. Says Ryan, “It’s about people’s obsession with the miraculous and disastrous…with witnessing extraordinary events”. The effervescent, mandolin boasting ‘Airplanes’ follows, which Kelcey explains is about “longing to have met my grandfather, a great man and pilot, who died before I was born.” Also included is the glorious ‘Sun Hands’, which was released as a limited edition single on Chess Club back in July. According to Taylor, the lyrics describe “that all too familiar feeling of wanting what you can’t have – especially when you once had it.” There’s a cover version in the mix too, a barely recognizable version of Talking Heads’ ‘Warning Sign’. “We’ve basically flipped the song on its head,” says Matt, explaining how they switched David Byrne’s original yelped vocals into a beautiful three-part harmony.
SKATERS
SKATERS
New York City quartet SKATERS' music, ethos, and attitude are remarkably entrenched in the late nights, eclectic characters, and punk roots of their hometown. That's why it's almost criminal that the group's birth can be traced to a crazy 24 hours in Los Angeles in the summer of 2011, when singer and songwriter Michael Ian Cummings met English guitarist Josh Hubbard at a party at a "really fancy-ass house," as Cummings recalls.

A few months later, the still band-less Cummings got a call from Hubbard announcing that he'd be arriving in NYC the following day from the U.K. Hubbard landed 24 hours later and crashed drummer Noah Rubin's birthday party. As Rubin and Hubbard got reacquainted, Rubin suggested Josh come to jam — and Hubbard flipped. "I'd just fucking flown 3,000 miles, I didn't want to fucking jam," he explains. He wanted a band. The Englishman threw down the gauntlet: He was in town for a month and a half and wanted the group to play a gig. So they hooked up with local bassist Dan Burke, booked three shows, learned the songs Cummings and Rubin had been tinkering with (and a handful of Pixies covers), and SKATERS arrived with a band.
San Cisco
San Cisco
Coming out of the small Australian coastal resort of Fremantle, a beautiful town nestling in the shadow of Perth's gleaming monoliths and separated from the more fashionable parts of Oz by thousands of miles of red dirt, you might expect the music of San Cisco to be limited in vision, comprising flimsy surf-ditties extolling the ephemeral pleasures of sun, surf and sex. You would be wrong, however. For while it would be untrue to claim that the unholy trinity of sex, sun and sea are absent from their songs, on their new album, "Gracetown," the band -- singer Jordi Davieson, Josh Biondillo (guitar), Nick Gardner (bass) and Scarlett Stevens (drums) -- extend their sonic palette to new territories. There is a deeper, chillier feel to songs such as 'Snow' and a looser, funkier feel to ones like 'Jealousy' that signals a new sophistication and maturity. Less sun, then, and more muted shades, as well as a deeper exploration of the hormonal tangle that is postmodern sexual politics. If there is a band that better explores the ache, paranoia and oestrogen-rush of young love I don't know it. The album shows San Cisco growing up, and this growing up is scary and magnificent to behold.

San Cisco are not newcomers to the scene, of course. They released their debut self-titled album in 2012 to international acclaim and have toured the world several times since, headlining shows and festival performances such as Lollapalooza, Pukkelpop and Reading. The fruit of this time on the road is reflected in the new sound, and sound which has paid its dues and has a sharpness born of hangovers, air-miles, homesickness and displacement.

The band first touched a global nerve with beguilingly fraught earworms such as 2011's 'Awkward', a song that garnered almost universal critical and popular acclaim. San Cisco's sound at that time approximated to their own definition of 'squelchy, crispy, streamlined, hairy indie', an acknowledgement of the band's eclecticism, embracing as it did a quirky mix of ringing Rickenbacker guitars, pounding rhythms and soulful vocals. Yet there was always more at work than energetic pastiche. Other hits from their 2012 debut such as 'Wild Things' and 'Fred Astaire' managed the trick of being great pop songs that nonetheless contained a hint of menace or madness, something that suggested the band was more interested in classic pop than indie navel-gazing. Their sources of inspiration always came and still come from unlikely sources. Guitarist and songsmith Josh has admitted to a deep love for US satirical cartoon series such as "The Simpsons" and "American Dad," and you can see it in the music. Think a sonic version of Neighbours scripted by the creators of South Park. Think quirky humour, twisted desire and bright colours, and then add danceability. If the original mix was intoxicating the new album is even more so.

On "Gracetown" San Cisco have enlisted the help of producer and long-term collaborator Steven Schram, and the presence of this 'fifth Beatle' is manifest from the first. Schram has furthered the band's experimentation with new styles and textures to great effect. Prior to visiting "The Compound" (studio-home of fellow Fremantle friend and musician John Butler) Josh and Jordi crafted the bones of the album at Rada Studios with friend and musician Matt Gio. Schram then encouraged them to tread boldly where they had not yet gone in sonic terms.

And so to the album itself. The mysteriously titled "Gracetown" is no homage to Paul Simon's 1986 anti-Apartheid opus Graceland, for the band doesn't address a preoccupation with world beats and racism, but rather their own more prosaic roots and backyard. 'Gracetown is a small coastal town in the South West of WA where our families have second homes and where there's an annual music festival,' Josh explains in a Skype interview across a scratchy line. The title is symbolic, he and Jordi say, of a nostalgic fondness for a childhood retreat, one that evokes the "Swallows and Amazons" hedonism shown in the video of their sun-dazed hit 'Golden Revolver' on their debut LP. The new album feels even freer in artistic terms, I say, and they tell me why. 'We're releasing Gracetown on our own label (Island City Records),' explains Jordi. 'So there were no men in suits from the label sitting in on recording sessions and demanding hits. We were in control of all facets of the music, and that was a massive relief. We could do anything we wanted, and we did.'

This freedom extended to matters of look as well as sound and feel. Guitarist Josh explains how the band commissioned the sleeve's eye-catching cover-art from Pete Matulich. He explains that this forms part of the album's self-crafted sensibility, comprising as it does memories, found sounds and serendipitous encounters. This search for 'authenticity and localism' is present in the lyrics too. Jordi explains how the words are rooted in personal experience, either his own or that of those he has closely observed. 'Lyrics must have some truth about them otherwise they're just a bunch of words,' he says flatly. 'I can't just fabricate a scenario. If I make stuff up I can't remember it, and the song falls apart.' His method, he continues, is to 'objectify' the words so they are not too literal but, rather, universal. 'We don't include a lyric sheet in the CD for that reason. We don't want to dictate a response. We want the listener to encounter a song and make it their own, even if they mishear it,' Jordi says with a sparkle in his eye.

When I say that new songs on the album -- songs such as 'Jealousy' (which features Isabella Manfredi from The Preatures), 'Super Slow' and 'Just For A Minute' -- are a massive leap forward in terms of depth and texture both guitarist and singer look humble. Instead of citing contemporary influences they speak of 'golden oldie' artists that inspired them -- Isaac Hayes, The Turtles, The Beatles, Bob Dylan. 'We like timeless, ageless melodies,' Josh explains, 'and a solid groove. We may not have written a classic of our own yet but we are getting closer.' This growing interest in classic song structures shows itself in the new sophistication of the sound, one that tips its cap to disco and soul, funk and hip hop but still remains defiantly its own beast. There is a lushness and sense of space in the new songs that the band once filled with youthful brio, with clattering and frenetic la-la-las. Now there is gorgeous languor and a supple muscularity that pulses under the beat. Jordi's voice, especially when wrapped around drummer Scarlett's or guest vocalist The Preature's Isabella Manfredi's, reveals itself to be what it always promised to be: one of the great soul voices of all time. And yet paradoxically the singer admits to worrying that the well of the global creativity may soon run dry. 'The world is running out of melodies,' he confides in a moment of seriousness, for all the world as if cosmic entropy will consume us before the end of the interview.

Fortunately the band's ease with melody and beat gives an elegant riposte to that fear. Jordi looks up again and grins, showing himself to be no precious artiste and far from the 'narcissist' he feels he might become as the band's fame grows: 'We don't write to fulfill our own musical fantasies,' he says passionately. 'We want to communicate and touch people. We want to write great pop -- there's no shame in that. We don't want to record a hundred year old piano and run it backwards through a shoe just to make a statement. We are entertainers, not artists.'

On the strength of this album the band are both, and there is much to look forward to, for both us and them.
Pacific Air
Pacific Air
The origin of Pacific Air is not your typical band of brothers story. Yes, they are two brothers who also happen to be in a band but without a destination, Ryan (24) and Taylor (20) were perpetually on the move. Relocating twice a year along the West Coast until finally settling in Southern California when Ryan was 16, the Lawhons have the luxury of never experiencing winter, just eternal sunshine.

When they were young, the precocious siblings took an early interest in their mother’s record collection. Growing up on Ray Lynch, Laurie Anderson, and Enya, the Lawhons were undoubtedly influenced by the nurturing groove of ‘90s new age. However, they also possess an uncaged childlike aura akin to more contemporary auteurs like Andrew Bird, Michael Angelakos, and Trevor Powers. Taylor pinpoints their sound as “peaceful yet energetic”, a visceral dichotomy that bridges decades of music therapy.

First they were KO KO, named after a dream boat the brothers were eyeing, much like in the OC when Seth names his boat after his dream girl, Summer. They never got KO KO, the boat or the hot drink, but instead they became KO KO, the band. Although they had to eventually change their name to Pacific Air for legal reasons, it came to embody their inspiring, youthful persona. Despite his attachment to the name KO KO, Ryan admits, “Pacific Air further displays not just where we are, but who we are right now."
Solid Gold
Solid Gold
"A slinky, sexy, sophisticated mix of indie, electro and soul; like if the Purple One fronted Death Cab For Cutie." - MTV Buzzworthy
"This totally, TOTALLY addictive piece of laid-back, twinkling Minneapolis funkiness, has us mercilessly hooked." - NME
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002
http://www.boweryballroom.com/