#TBT: Does Anybody Remember Native America?
2014. What do I remember? Not much.
There were terrible things (Ebola, the rise of ISIS, and Taylor Swift's 1989).
There were great things like How I Met Your Mother finally ending, the super-powered vitamin shot that got injected into #feminism, and let's not forget that Vine was still alive and well (RIP, I miss you every day). There were even new additions to the English language like "conscious uncoupling," "ice bucket challenge," and whatever the hell John Travolta called Idina Menzel.
My own 2014 is a bit fuzzy. I was a junior in college. I had an internship, a new obsession with film photography (how cliché) and most importantly--I had just discovered Game of Thrones. As far as music goes, I remember scouring bandcamp for little-known artists that would make me feel superior to everyone else walking around campus with buds in their ears.
Sitting here in 2017, wiser but just as obsessed with Game of Thrones, I now realize those "little-known" artists were actually nationally-known buzz-bands that I thought were my hidden-gem discoveries only because I had my head so far up my own ass.
Of those "discoveries" one remains that I regularly listen to to this day: Native America. Their 2014 LP Grown Up Wrong--released on the very hip Inflated Records--hit me hard. I loved every single track of melodic, garagey-pop goodness, and would get pumped whenever I saw the distinctive album cover pop up on shuffle. I had no idea Native America was a trio from New Orleans, or that they got write-ups from Stereogum, Paste, Vice, and Consequence of Sound. All I knew was "Dance With Me" was irresistible, and I wanted more.
If you haven't heard them before, "Caroline" sounds like the Beach Boys, "Naturally Lazy" sounds like Mac DeMarco, "All About You" sounds like a goddamn party, and the whole album sounds a bit like the early Shins stuff. You're gonna love it. I promise.
Our next order of business of course is what happened to these guys? You've got Ross Farbe on guitar and sleepy lead vocals, John St. Cyr doing that wild stuff on the bass, and Ray Micarelli on the skins. They seemed destined for greatness. Who doesn't love catchy, well-crafted guitar-pop you can dance to? Whether it was touring burn-out, schedule conflicts, or just plain-old life getting in the way, we can only speculate.
Luckily for us an incarnation of Native America is alive and well! The trio shrunk to a duo (Farbe and Micarelli) but Inflated Records was smart and kept them on board as the appropriately 80s-sounding Video Age. I'm happy to report that Video Age is basically Native America but with a New Wave, synthy edge. Think less Beach Boys, more Cars.
They released their first LP in 2016, the excellent Living Alone, they're still getting write-ups from Vice, and after a thorough Instagram stalking session, I've discovered they're currently playing shows down south and toiling away on a new album!
My 2014, chopsticks-wielding self is one happy camper, and I'm begging you to check out the stuff I posted below. At least "Throwing Knives," which is very Public Access T.V. and the perfect transition between Native America and Video Age. Also, the "Dance Square" video is pure gold.