Local Natives Best of the Decade Artist Survey

Andy Hamm

Dec 16, 2009 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Web Exclusive
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Under the Radar’s Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue features our Best of the Decade Artist Survey. For Under the Radar’s 7th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to the last decade and asked them for a list of their best albums of the decade. Some of the surveys didn’t make it in the issue and some answers from surveys that did make it in the issue had to be trimmed for space. Those surveys and answers are posted on our website. Pick up our Best of the Decade/Year-End Issue to read surveys from Camera Obscura, The Dodos, El Perro Del Mar, Final Fantasy, The Hidden Cameras, The Horrors, The Invisible, Ladytron, Sondre Lerche, Jamie Lidell, Loney Dear, Los Campesinos!, Mew, Midlake, Okkervil River, Stars, Telekinesis, The Twilight Sad, and Vivian Girls.

Andy Hamm
Local Natives

Top Ten Albums of the Decade

In no particular order...

1. Grizzly Bear: Yellow House—I hated it the first time I heard it because everybody was yelling their name in my ear. I had a long drive by myself one night and finally got to listen to the whole album. Turned out to be an incredible album from start to finish
2. My Morning Jacket: Z—One of those rare rock albums where every single track is an immediate classic, which is almost impossible for me to come by.
3. At The Drive-In: Relationship of Command—This was the first band that blew me away when I moved to CA in 2001.
4. Broken Social Scene: You Forgot it in People—Just great music all around.
5. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion—The more I listen to it the more and more I hear Brian Wilson using a synth, but in a good way-and Pet Sounds is one of my all times.
6. Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak—Every song on here reminds of some fun time I had with friends 2004-06? More about the association of the music and my memories than the music itself.
7. Radiohead: In Rainbows—Not only all great songs, but also represents and reminds me of a point where everything in my musical life started to click.
8. Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime Discs 1-6—I had to include this because it is what introduced me to one my favorite bands.
9. Glassjaw: Worship and Tribute—Can't really pinpoint in what "genre" this album fits into. So it's a good representation and holds a special place for me of when I was trying out for band after band in the early 2000s figuring out where I wanted to go musically. One of the only albums in that "scene" that I really latched onto when I was younger.
10. Regina Spektor: Soviet Kitsch—I immediately wanted to get to know this girl after hearing the album. Her honesty and delivery was so unexpected. Musically opposite of a lot of the other music I was listening to at the time

What was the high point of the last decade for you, personally?
Waking up after getting fired from my job and realizing that all I have to do today is make music and art.
 
What was the low point of the last decade for you, personally?
My first semester of college in Boulder, CO before moving to CA.

What are your hopes and plans for the next decade?
I've never liked to plan too far ahead, but I hope as long as I feel like I am pushing myself into new and uncomfortable places, that's a good sign things are progressing. 
 
Which musical trend or scene from the last decade do you feel was most overrated/overhyped? Which one was most underrated/under-hyped?
I don't think there was a true "scene" that existed in the last decade. Unfortunately, everyone finds out about new music too quickly now and moves away from it just as fast.
 
Do you think what is considered "indie rock" is different than it was when the decade started? With the commercial strides made in the past decade, how do you think the definition of "indie" rock has changed?
"Indie rock" is what my Mother likes to say when describing her son's band to her friends today. That's just how things like that progress. Naturally as humans in our society, we feel like we have to label everything so that we can try and fit in. It's always struck me a little funny and sort of odd how artists are consistently trying to create something unique/different, but the mass of popular society always begs for an end product they can immediate relate with, make comparisons to, and feel 100% comfortable with after the first listen. This worries me. Indie rock just sounds so warm and fuzzy though right?
 
What big issues and challenges do you foresee musicians and the music industry facing in the next decade?
I think the biggest challenge I see for new musicians is not having enough time to properly grow and naturally progress. The second the winds start to shift and someone gets even just a small waft of some good new music in the air, it is immediately hunted down, posted, blogged, commented, analyzed, complimented, criticized, synced on a car commercial, and then spit out if its not completely perfect compared to the MP3 right below it from another artist who's been writing music for 10 years. It seems like it's becoming harder and harder for us to take the time and listen to artists for simply who they are, not on how they are ranked or graded by someone we've never met before.
 
Which political and societal change/development from the last decade most concerns you? Which one most gives you hope?
I worry sometimes about the ups and downs of universal healthcare. I currently don't have enough in my back pocket to afford it, and not exactly sure I have a solid plan for if and when I might have an accident. I also, however, am realizing some of the downsides of making it universal after visiting overseas. I'm wedged between the asses of a Donkey and an Elephant while trying to keep my morals from puking up out of my stomach. I need to get more information.

What are your thoughts on President Obama's job performance thus far?
To be completely honest, I have never been super informed on politics and am slowly moving into a space where I am eager to educate myself more. I can't pretend to give an accurate answer to this question.
 
Which global issue (or issue within your own country) would you most like to see resolved by 2020?
I'd love to hear and feel comfortable about a resolution to our depleting natural resources, particularly oil, of course. Our dependence is gross.  
 
How do you think you'll describe the last decade to your children, grandchildren, or other young people in the future?
I am definitely not old enough to answer this with a valid answer. Time to reflect and look back is very important. For the most part, I have been very fortunate and lucky with my life especially over the last decade. If I had a child now, I would hope the moral of the last decade for him/her would be: "If you truly want something, you'll have to work very, very hard to get it."
 
What was your life like in January 2000 and how has your life most changed since then?
To keep it brief, I think learning that I needed to be completely happy, honest, and comfortable with myself first was the only way I could make those around me happy as well. I learned people respect honesty even when the answer isn't a good one. I'm still learning how to play the seesaw balancing act with this one.

How are you most like your parents? How are you least like them?
I get the logical and often looking at life as a harsh reality side from my Dad (along with his nose) and I get my stubbornness and "do what the fuck I want when I want it" side from my Mother. Money was always a big issue for both of them, and I'd like to think I don't concern myself as much with that evil.
 
What were some of your favorites of the last decade in terms of movies, TV shows (which ones did you watch most religiously), books, comic books, websites/blogs, and video games?
TV: The Wire, Lost, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and what happened to Wonder Showzen (loved that show)? Movies: The first time I saw Requiem for a Dream in 2000, it gave me an unsettling feeling that stuck with me for like a month (probably like most people). That has to be one of my favorites. Web: The usuals-blogs, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube. Video Games: Never was a huge video game nerd. Mario Kart was pretty great though.

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nosesmaller
August 21st 2010
10:45am

I worry sometimes about the ups and downs of universal healthcare. I currently don’t have enough in my back pocket to afford it, and not exactly sure I have a solid plan for if and when I might have an accident….
nose smaller

Josh
December 14th 2010
6:24pm

I agree with Grizzly Bear.  I thought it was sort of played out from my friends until I actually sat down and listened to it.  It’s the greatest album of the decade by a long shot.