Local Natives


Local Natives photo 1
Local Natives 2016 (l-r): Nik Ewing, Taylor Rice, Ryan Hahn,
Kelcey Ayer, Matthew Frazier – promo photo Nathaniel Wood



Contributor: Damien Joyce

With the autumnal days shortening as winter approaches, Local Natives are a band that have always brought their Californian sunshine with them on the road, always in radiant form when playing live.

When I first caught them performing, in Dublin in 2010 in a small venue, they wowed the crowd playing killer versions of their stellar numbers from the excellent debut album Gorilla Manor which is still one of my favourite debut albums.

Back then the band were playing one of their final dates in Europe before heading back home to the studio to work on an eagerly anticipated follow-up release. They had been touring the globe and seemed to be building a loyal following in an almost fan by fan manner. With great harmonies and uplifting percussion, right from the melodious opening lines of Camera Talk

We’re running through the aisles | of the churches still in style

… I remember the small loyal crowd being totally captivated by the music. The band seemed to excel in the company of friends as the audience sang along through each stomping number. During the set, personal favourites such as Who Knows Who Cares and Wide Eyes were stunningly delivered.

Also, Warning Sign, a Talking Heads cover which also features on Gorilla Manor, looked to have new life breathed into it. This LA outfit was just so tight live with vocal duties and percussion being shared seamlessly between the band members. They weaved their way through the remainder of the set which featured Airplanes (I love it all so much I call I want you back), World News, Shape Shifter that led to a magical crescendo with everyone there charmed by their performance. The encore featured a rousing version of Sun Hands with everyone singing the chorus. That very memorable moment ended the show and as the lights came on, the feeling was like having spent time reminiscing with an old friend and we just hoped the next encounter wouldn’t be too far away.


Their second full-length album Hummingbird was released in 2013 and produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner. It was probably my most played album that year, with some stand out tracks including Breakers, Black Balloons, You & I, Mt. Washington, Heavy Feet and Ceilings.


After building up a following, Local Natives played an astonishing 188 shows covering 192,486 km for that 2013 tour and, when they played my small part of the world, they were just epic again live in the wonderful Olympia theatre.

Local Natives photo 2
Local Natives, Olympia 2013 – photo D. Joyce


Looking back, I remember being eager to hear the 2016 Sunlit Youth album and went ahead and bought the record on vinyl before even streaming it. But this wasn’t the same sound I had become so fond of and, outside of Dark Days and Fountain Of Youth, this experimental album was kind of awkward with new synths and has been gathering dust on my record shelf since, after only a handful of spins on the turntable.

Between having lost touch with the group and with the global pandemic in 2019, their album Violet Street only briefly registered with me at the time but didn’t stick despite moments such as When Am I Gonna Lose You and Café Amarillo.

During this summer, the band dropped their fifth album Time Will Wait For No One which again passed me by until I listened to a collaboration with Suki Waterhouse for their NYE song. This triggered me to go back and listen to the full album and reacquaint myself with their music.

Another interesting, notable collaboration was with the wonderful Sharon Van Etten on an EP called Sour Lemon (2020) which features the single, Lemon.


The following playlist reflects some of Local Natives’ best work over the course of their career to date and I’m hoping to see them play live again soon.

TrackAlbum / EP / Single
Fountain Of YouthSunlit Youth
Dark DaysSunlit Youth
Wide EyesGorilla Manor
Sun HandsGorilla Manor
Camera TalkGorilla Manor
Lemon (feat. Sharon Van Etten)Sour Lemon EP
NYE (feat. Suki Waterhouse)Single
Heavy FeetHummingbird

Local Natives playlist





Local Natives official website

Local Natives bandcamp

Local Natives YT channel

Local Natives Fans Facebook Group

Local Natives biography (AllMusic)

Damien Joyce can be found on Twitter @damienjoyce and on his blog.

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