As a young lad out of high school, I decided to embark on my own Easy Rider inspired trip to manhood by packing up and leaving for New Zealand. That year not only became an important rite of passage point in my life, it's where I first become immersed in indie music. Whether it was Maori-inspired music or some trash-rock band, I'd hit the small clubs, hang with the bands and brought back a collection of vinyls I still prize today.
So I was happy to see that The Naked And Famous (Aaron Short, Alisa Xayalith, David Beadle, Jesse Wood, and Thom Powers) are bringing some of that awesome Kiwi talented to U.S. shores with release of their hit debut album "Passive Me, Aggressive You" on March 15th. While not technically indie - the album's being released on Universal/Republic Records - their story and sound certainly has an indie feel to it.
The video for their debut single "Young Blood," directed by Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali for Special Problems, is both scenic and full of energy, youth, and inspiration, more than earning its props as a pop track with an infusion of electro and an 80's sound. The song's simple, but catchy melody are well matched by the feel good and fun to listen to music - mainly synthesizer, guitar and drums, reminding listeners of MGMT overall, while the vocal performance may bring Martika to mind.
Coming together in 2008, Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith met at music college and formed a songwriting partnership that would become the life force of The Naked And Famous (TNAF). Aaron Short, a high school acquaintance of Thom's, was also studying at the same college and soon became a production foil to the duo as they toyed with song and recording ideas after hours in the college studio and various bedrooms. These eventually became TNAF's first releases, the twin EPs No Light and This Machine. Soon after Jesse Wood and David Beadle, two of their high school mates, joined the band and completed the final lineup. Working furiously throughout 2009 on developing a new live set and dozens of demos, TNAF embarked on an expansion of their sound, as together they experimented with the epic turns and cinematic moods that define them today.