Nothing excites me more than to say that the incredible Local Natives are finally back with their second record Hummingbird out January 29. Local Natives became one of my favorite bands when they debuted in 2010 with Gorilla Manor, and their folk-inspired sound. The songs on their first record were so intricately done, and their first single "Breakers" follows suit. Their sound was already huge, and I can tell it is just going to keep getting bigger. I can't wait to hear more from this record. - Maddie
All too often, fair-trade fashion feels a lot more fair than fashionable. Awamaki Lab is working to change that. The nonprofit organization hosts up-and-coming young designers each season for four-month residencies in Peru, where they work with indigenous Quechua weavers and seamstresses to produce a collection. The women get reliable and satisfying employment, and shoppers get something that looks as cool as the story behind it. The upcoming fall collection, created by Parsons grads and BFFs Andria Crescioni and Courtney Cedarholm, distills the collective's colorful handwoven textiles and nubby knits into contemporary, wearable shapes. The results—including chic cocoon coats, asymmetrical wrap skirts, and covetable bobble-textured patchwork sweaters—are equal parts Macchu Picchu and Manhattan. -Eviana
New luxury label Maiyet is the biggest thing to happen to ethical fashion since the advent of the term "ethical fashion." The brand's mission is to create lasting employment for artisans in conflict zones around the world to foster economic stability and peace, and the scale of the project is no joke. Founded by a team of heavy-hitters (including an international human-rights dignitary, the founder of KIND snacks, and the former COO of Band of Outsiders, and designed by Celine and Calvin Klein alum Gabriella Zanzani), Maiyet has already put on two top-model-studded shows at Paris fashion week, and has just debuted on the racks at Barneys. Maiyet's spring video and campaign, shot by Cass Bird and starring Daria Werbowy, makes the greater good look really, really good. -Eviana
This week, Ryan from the Local Natives meditates on a tour's unexpected joys.
The other night we stopped for dinner in the middle of nowhere at Buffalo Wild Wings. The eight of us (band, my brother J, our tour manager Alex, and Diddy, our driver) polished off a disgusting number of wings and got needlessly competitive over their TV trivia game. But while we were eating, a girl from a nearby table came over and introduced herself. She opened with “I know this is going to sound weird but…” and proceeded to explain that her and her table of friends were professional base jumpers. She had the ridiculous pictures on hand to prove it. They wanted to know if they could base jump off of our tour bus as it drove across this massive bridge. We said yes. Diddy said no. Something about insurance and that he didn’t want no ‘sombitches’ jumping off his goddamn bus.
But that encounter got me thinking about how so much of what I love about touring has nothing to do with music. It’s the side effects of music: people, places and experiences that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. Everyday on tour has its ‘how did I get here?’ moments that you could never plan, but somehow come to expect.
Sometimes it’s getting to grab a drink with a friend you haven’t seen since high school who now lives in another state. Other times it’s playing indoor paintless paintball in Omaha, Nebraska.
At Austin City Limits this weekend I met this dude in line for the shuttle who goes to the same tiny college in San Antonio where my dad went. I told him my dad and his frat brothers once kidnapped a crocodile from the zoo and put it in the school fountain. To my surprise, he knew all about this story. At that moment The Eagles were taking the stage. My plan had been to leave my dad a voicemail of “Hotel California” but now I could also let him know his dumb hijinks had become legend at his alma mater.
But my favorite moment unrelated to music this week happened during a day off in New Orleans. Some kids from Tulane had offered to show us around the city for the day. After jambalaya and beignets, they said they were taking us to a “treehouse.” I had no idea what to expect. We pulled up to this dilapidated old house and walked right in. No one seemed to be home. Our tour guides told us it was some kind of a “hippie commune.” But when we emerged into the backyard, it became clear why they’d brought us there.
Before us stood the most legit treehouse any of us had ever seen. It was a massive sculpture of junkyard objects and McDonald’s playplace tubing. And stretching between two trees, about 40 feet in the air, was a giant web of rope and netting that you could walk out on. For about 45 minutes, we were all eight-years-old again.—Ryan
This week, Andy from the Local Natives is back, to talk about how being in a band on a budget sometimes means you've got to make your own fake blood.
Right around week three everyone stops talking about touring and starts to reveal their inner geek. It's like spending the holidays with all the relatives you've only met through birthday cards, except now bitchy Aunt Betty is asleep and the rest of you are three cocktails deep and playing Yahtzee in the basement. The comfort of questions such as "So where is everyone from?" or "How was the sound up there tonight?" are now gone in the best ways possible. All of us have already had plenty of time to grow close with The Union Line. The two of us toured together on our first U.S. run and it's easy to get to know each other when there are less than 10 people at every show. The Love Language are the newbies of the touring train. Before spending the last three weeks together, the only thing I knew about The Love Language was their music. I since have learned that BJ likes to free style flow in podunk San Francisco bars; Missy gives a mean haircut with Crayola scissors; Jordan plays a mean dance synth; and Justin is only good at pool when he's not drunk (I won $10). Short story short, all of us have become friends. My first friends ever from South Carolina, in fact. The Union Line will continue with us until N.Y., but sadly we part ways with The Love Language in Houston.
I have included two videos here. The first of which is the product of Kelcey's new 'toy,' a.k.a. first digital camera. Among the chaos of what sounded like Mozart in our heads was the reality of a sloppy jam captured after a long night in Oklahoma. It's a good visual to go with the above words.
The second is our new video for "Wide Eyes." We paired up with a wonderful director Cat Solen and continued on a somewhat gory aquatic adventure. Ryan sparked the idea of the land shark and we ran with it. Scene ideas were soon flying out of our mouths like fruit flys to a rotten banana.
Deleted Scene #1
Man sits at dining room table with parents and girlfriend.
Mom brings out the main course which is covered by a beautiful sterling silver handle top.
Dad grabs knife and lifts the handle top to reveal the shark's head.
Camera cuts to main character's screaming face.
Camera cuts back to Dad's arm, now lodged in the sharks mouth and as mom tries to tear Dad free, his arm is ripped from his body (blood spewing).
Cut back to main character's face screaming with sheer terror.
Cut back to now Mom's arm is suddenly also being devoured by shark as Mom tries desperately to pull away.
Deleted Scene #2
Man walks into house and immediately notices blood on his new white carpet.
Man's eyes follow a blood trail to the foot of the stairs.
As the eye follows the blood, it starts to reveal the shark.
Camera pulls back to reveal shark standing with a grin on his face and the man's pet dog's severed head dangling from his left fin.
Deleted Scene #3
Camera close up on a picture of the man's dog surrounded by roses.
Camera pulls back to reveal a funeral in progress The man slowly walks toward the casket, doggy toy in hand as he wipes a tear from his cheek.
Right before he reaches the casket a shark fin busts out of the top.
In the end, it really came down to that we didn't have enough money to pull any of these scenes off and hence they got the axe. I'll let Ryan tell you about the fridge scene. Budget was tight enough that even getting enough fake blood was an issue. Please take notice to the end scene, where two liters blood I personally made out of corn syrup, food coloring and chunks of ground beef play a leading role. Hope you have as much fun watching as I did learning to make fake blood. Enjoy.
Local Natives' tour blog entry number three comes from vocalist/guitarist Taylor Rice. Here he pays homage to their increasingly important tour bus, affectionately named "Mrs. Hippo."
Matt prepares mentally for the show.
We have a tour bus. It’s monstrous. It sleeps twelve, operates six independent air conditioning units, and between the girth of its walls manages to contain a small kitchen. Should the last couple sentences appear distastefully boastful to you, let me offset that impression by letting you know: Nobody is more grateful or surprised to have a tour bus than us. We jumped up and down like an award-winning seventh grade Girl Scout troupe when “Mrs. Hippo” (which she was immediately named) first rolled into our lives. The once seemingly insane idea of spending most of the money we’ve saved over the last year to lease the twelve wheel behemoth for this six week US tour came when we saw the drive schedule and venues we’d be playing.
Millennium in-store show.
Two nights at the Henry Fonda in Los Angeles, the Fillmore in San Francisco, the Showbox in Seattle, etc, etc. The list of legendary venues rolls on to Webster Hall at the end of October in New York. Any band should count their lucky stars to get the chance to perform in so many inspiring spaces. That’s why we got the bus. Not because we deserve it, not because it makes financial sense, but because we owe it to the fans who come out to support us to be our best.
Being on the road the last two years straight, we’ve spent enough sleepless 48-hour periods trading off driving through the night and pissed in enough shaking, empty water bottles while barreling down the freeway to appreciate the finer comforts Mrs. Hippo affords the touring life. However, it's not the two satellite televisions or the ability to pour myself a bowl of cereal en route between Portland and Boulder that makes me fond of that incessantly sputtering hunk of metal. It’s the early morning instore performances we’ve been able to add (and hit our harmonies at). The time to finally let the new songs start kicking their way from my mind into existence. The capability to stay out at the bars with our new friends The Love Language and watch them freestyle rap battle with the house hip hop band.
Stu Love Language and I at the Boom Boom Room post Fillmore.
It’s the best six shows we’ve had all year in a year full of hundreds (literally) of great shows. This is going to be the best tour we’ve ever done. A special thank you to Mrs. Hippo, and to the crazy kids, you men and women of the west coast. Eastward ho!
After Local Natives' bassist Andy Hamm wrote a blog post last week, the rest of the band decided they'd like to give it a try. Here, guitarist and vocalist Ryan Hahn weighs in on the time warp that touring inevitably becomes.
Something I’ve noticed about this last year and a half is the way time seems to speed up and slow down. One week on tour can very seriously feel like a month. A three-day break at home sleeping in your own bed suddenly becomes an extended vacation. We had two whole weeks off between our last tour and the start of this one, but it may as well have been a few months. In that time we didn’t play a single note together as a band. So when we met up to rehearse on Wednesday, it took a moment to shake off the rust, but I’ve got to say that once we did, it felt great to be back at it again.
We were all aware that in some ways, the shows at the Henry Fonda were the biggest shows our band has ever played and the fact that they were at home made them that much more momentous for us. We’d asked our friends at Yours Truly to film and record both nights to mark the occasion. And in an attempt to do something a little special, we also arranged to have a small string and horn section play with us on “Who Knows Who Cares” and “Stranger Things.” We found someone last minute to design a simple light show and Andy came up with an intro video to play before we walked on stage. The combination of all these new variables started to weigh on us a bit as we pulled up to the venue. I remember getting pretty stressed out when both mine and Andy’s amps stopped working during sound check. But as it got closer to stage time and the room started to fill up, all of our energies started to shift.
It’s easy to lose perspective and get bogged down by things that don’t actually matter. It really is. But over the course of the past year, I’ve made a conscious effort to just be appreciative and enjoy myself. Moments like those I experienced during the Fonda shows keep you grounded and show you what’s really important. The sets were far from perfect and not everything worked smoothly, but experiencing the crowds on those nights is something I’ll never forget. Watching people sing along with such intensity and reacting so supportively, the energy in that room was just incredible. Most of our families were in the audience, seated in the balcony and while they’ve been to countless shows since we’ve been a band, the looks on their faces on these nights was something altogether different. At some point during the show, Taylor asked if anyone in the audience had been at our Spaceland residency last August and I remember having trouble deciding if playing those shows felt like yesterday or forever ago.
The morning after our second Fonda show, we drove to San Diego for a show at the Belly Up Tavern—but not before stopping at the beach to play an acoustic set for a local radio station. We were blown away by the turn out. And as we looked around, still groggy from sleep deprivation, surrounded by strangers and their dogs and palm trees and sailboats, I thought how ridiculous our lives were. At that point I realized we were once again on tour, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
From the stage at FYF Fest a few weeks ago in L.A.
-verb (used with object)
The act or 'life adjustment process' of spending most of your young adult life living/eating/breathing inside a 16-passenger Ford E-350 Econoline Van and/or Mercedes 7 passenger Sprinter Van (trailer optional).
Touring with four of your best friends is something we asked for. In fact, we begged for it, dreamt about it and worked our asses off for it. I've always believed that to truly realize and soak up something that's special, you have to dive head into it. We have spent the last year (minus a few weeks) on the road. Playing 12 tracks from our first album as a band in places I never thought I'd end up this soon.
The beast of mixing work, with travel, with what you love hasn't been as breezy as I imagined it always would be...and that has to be a great thing. A constant reminder of how much further we have to go as a new band along with how lucky I should feel to be where we are currently at. This Friday is the first show of our biggest tour to date. I am currently busier now with more things I care about than I ever have been. College blue-books have been replaced by trying to learn exactly what a Moog Murf pedal can do for my bass tone. Being uncomfortable is comfortable for me...and that doesn't need to make sense to anyone but myself.
They just don't make neck pillows like they used to.
The sensation of my initial head first dive has come and gone in blink of a few months. I am now in the midst of trying to clinch my knees mid-air as my body attempts the perfect cannon-ball off the high-dive. We asked for it and we got it....now what do I do with it?
There's a chance I'll hit my tail bone on the aqua-green concrete at the bottom of the pool. Right in that spot that makes it a joke to all your friends as they watch you try and sit down on a bar stool. Or perhaps, just maybe I'll hit that shit just right. I imagine a tidal wave of chlorine being shoved under the eyelids of everyone within 20 feet of the impact. The lifeguard will blow his whistle and yell muffled gibberish from his oversized cone. Mothers will be frantically looking around for their children, and I'll be wrapped in a damp towel that I got from the zoo, laughing...just laughing.