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Animal House 

Local Natives produces familiar music with enviable results.

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If certain biblical sources are to be believed, there is nothing new under the sun. And Los Angeles band Local Natives don’t exactly do anything to disprove the Good Book.

Theirs is an amalgam of indie music influences — baroque pop to melodic folk. The five gentlemen who make up Local Natives aren’t setting out to do anything new. But it’s not like they’re saying that unoriginality is their goal.

Guitarist and vocalist Ryan Hahn is painfully honest: “The ideas that were there in the beginning were drawn from borderline classic bands, and they’ll continue to influence us, but we’re moving in new directions.”

For the time being, Local Natives wield an altogether recognizable sound. Drawing on the vocal harmonies of Grizzly Bear and the kitchen-sink mentality of Broken Social Scene, they sound less like a new band and more like an ideal synthesis — a band that fuses the strengths of their contemporaries.

Hahn says much of that is drawn from a shared experience: All five members of the band lived in one house just out of high school, naming it Gorilla Manor. They carried that name over to their first album, a record that debuted on the Billboard 200 and at No. 3 on the New Artist chart. Recording close by in a warehouse, their common interests turned into a musical philosophy.

“We hunkered down in this old avocado warehouse near our house with these old wooden ceilings — a great environment to jam together in one room,” Hahn says. “Someone would bring a simple idea to the table, and we’d all expand on it.”

And while that process may not have produced revolutionary results, Local Natives have panache and a confidence that belies the imitative nature of their work. What this band is doing is promising — and it sounds damn goo

“We were all very confident and assured of ourselves — we all knew we had something special between the five of us. Everyone took a big leap and a big risk,” Hahn says. “Everyone’s jobs were wavering, we were eating peanut butter and jelly and dollar burritos. But everyone was invested in it. It was never just a hobby.”

And perhaps someday soon Local Natives will find their own path. But for now, there’s nothing wrong with a little ancestor worship.

Local Natives play with Suckers and the Sassmatrons at Empyrean on Tuesday, May 25, at 7 pm. Tickets: $9. All-ages. Visit: or call 838-9819.


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