It’s been a long time coming, but The Little Indians are finally releasing their debut LP, An Album From The Little Indians. What’s even better is that we’re hosting both a Stream and a Track-By-Track feature for the album a week early. Make sure to pre-order the LP here and to listen to the full record while reading the Track-By-Track below!
An Album From The Little Indians
I felt like a little prologue was necessary here. At the time that I started writing the batch of songs that would become “An Album From…”, I didn’t know what my intentions were, or what the goal was. The record, while not remotely being a concept album, I feel like has an underlying story of growth and change from the first track to the last. The themes I ended up writing about were very current for me, and when I had a whole batch of songs done, it felt right to arrange them in a way that tell a bit of a tale from beginning to end.
“Vernacular” is one of the earliest songs I wrote for the Little Indians project. It was late April 2011, I was feeling despondent and pretty hurt over recent events in my life. This one is about being confused and feeling a little lost. It’s about accepting that a chapter has ended, and that the future is now. When I started arranging it, I attempted to give it a slow and ethereal vibe to capture my somber headspace. However, the end of the song is big “A Day In The Life”-esque build up. Just a huge mess of ascending sounds in an attempt to symbolize the acceptance of the situation and the desire to get up and make something positive happen.
“Go” is kind of the answer to Vernacular. It’s a seamless transition from track-to-track for that reason. Lyrically, it’s very simple. It’s about conversations I had with a couple of different people basically encouraging me to stay positive and, more or less, telling me to go make something happen rather than to sulk in past happening. It’s an upbeat tune. We had recently done a tour with Hellogoodbye, and I was obsessing over Tokyo Police Club, so I wanted to do something light, fast, upbeat and happy in the vein of those bands. Forrest from HGB even had a little creative input on this one.
I wrote this one after a big batch of songs had already been written. I though the album was finished, then this tune happened. I think I wrote it in October of 2011. This one, despite being very convivial in sound, is the most outright personal song on the record. Meaning, it’s very much so about one person. It was one of those things that I wrote out of bitterness, however, after I had time to step back and soak it in…it still rang true. It’s, more or less, about being hurt by a trusted friend. Musically however, I’m quite proud of it. It features loads of Beach Boys-esque harmonies and a bridge with tempo and time signature changes (not that that makes it good, but it was fun to toy with technicalities like that).
This is another tune from the early batch of songs. It happened in either late April or early May 2011. I was home alone, feeling weird, so I started playing guitar quite loud. I started hammering away at some chords, found a couple of good progressions, and started humming along over em. The song is about simply about change. The verses serve as a personal account of my transition from moving home to Maryland from Chicago, while the chorus is a very non-specific account of being pissed and deciding it’s time to move on. I wrote it about my life, but made a very clear point to make it one of those tunes anyone can apply to their own life.
Searching (For The Same Thing)
I wrote this and Vernacular on the same day. This is an introspective account of what I was going through after YMAEWK broke up. I was feeling way out of it and I was questioning everything. It was a beautiful spring day and I was asking myself all these “Why” and “What if” sort of questions about life and ongoings. It’s kind of an account of me accepting that things simply are what they are. And in that acceptance, wondering what it really is that could make people feel good about life. It’s a mid-tempo, yet still upbeat song. Kyle and I worked together in an attempt to channel bands like Death Cab For Cutie and Spoon while arranging it.
A Moment Or Two
This song was a weird accident. It was July 2011, I was very up-and-down mentally from day-to-day because I had spent so much time bouncing all around the country living a dream of mine, and had now been home for like 3-4 months doing nothing but writing (for a mostly nonexistent band). I didn’t have a job. I just wanted to get away/travel/adventure again.
Anyway, I literally woke up from this dream about a childhood acquaintance of mine. He was never a close friend…never even really a friend at all, but he lived/lives down the street from me. In the dream, his mom was freaking out because he was addicted to heroin. It sounds stupid, but it was one of those strange dreams where you wake up feeling out of sorts. So I woke up, looked out my window, and the kid from the dream was walking down the street (no idea if he’s actually on heroin). It was just too bizarre. I picked up the ukulele, cool chords just sort of happened, and I wrote a verse about him. After I wrote the verse, the chorus just came out naturally. It’s about how I was growing accustomed to the touring lifestyle, and being in one place was freaking me out. I like this one because it’s a departure from the upbeat rock vibe of a lot of the record.
What Makes You Grin?
This could technically be the first song I wrote for The Little Indians. YMAEWK finished our full-length, and I felt the desire to start writing right away. My bandmates felt differently, but I started writing some stuff. Writing for that band was interesting, because I didn’t have to think about vocals or melody at all if I didn’t want to. So I composed this, sans-vocals, showed it to the guys and they seemed to dig it enough…but they weren’t interested. I, however, was very proud of it. I didn’t know what would become of it after we split up. But I wrote vocal parts and decided I liked it. It’s about equality and finding peace and happiness. The message is kind of, everyone is the same, so chill out, stop the mindless prejudices and focus on what makes you a happier/better person. Cliche as hell, right?
In terms of the “story”, this begins side B of the record. The track before is about wanting to get away and adventure. While this song is kind of the counter-point. It’s about taking a step back, assessing what you have in the present, and doing your best to enjoy it.
This was the last song I wrote for the record. It’s a simple tune. It’s inspired by a person in my life, who seems to never think about the consequences of their actions. In turn, it’s about how everyone kind of does that at times. It’s sad, but true, we all fuck up and do stupid things without thinking sometimes. It’s just in our nature. This song totally happened by accident, but i liked the vibe of it, and it seemed to have a different flavor than some of the other songs that would have taken it’s place on the album.
A Song For Fun Times
This one is about having a good time, but really, you’re kind of “asleep”. One could say, following the last track, it’s an example of not “thinking twice”. I was on tour for a while, and decided to move to Chicago because it was an exciting thing to do, while I temporarily forgot about things and people that meant a lot to me at home. It’s about doing stuff on a whim, then looking back and regretting what you wrote off so easily.
I wanted it to be fun and upbeat feeling, but I wanted it to be raw sounding as well. After I spent more time with it, it lost some of the raw element, but gained a little more whimsical elements. We added horns, bells, a vibraslap, a Leslie guitar solo and loads of harmonies. I like this song a lot. It was fun to write.
I Don’t Mind, Take Your Time
Kyle and I wrote this jamming around in my house in May 2011. We weren’t going to put it on the album, but decided we wanted a very mellow song on the album, and this was the one. Lyrically, it’s kind of an answer to “Fun Times”. The message is an apologetic one. It’s soft and dreamy. We did our best to get outside our comfort zone on it.
Night Owl (A Dream)
Maybe my favorite track on the record. I’m definitely most proud of the arrangements on this song. I wrote the skeleton for it in June or July 2011. The music happened before the lyrics happened for this. I actually rewrote melodies and lyrics a couple of different times. Lyrically, it sums of the record. Tt’s kind of a journey from remorse to acceptance. I was spending a lot of my days kind of backwards, waking up in the afternoon and then staying up, sometimes, until the sun came up. It was a bit of a disconnect and I echo that in the chorus. I was backwards. The lyrics in outro of the song kind of sums up the whole record for me.
I’m very proud of the instrumentation. It has a violin arrangement, a ukulele solo, lots of theremin-esque synth, guitars through a Leslie speaker cabinet, loads of harmonies and vocals, and topped off with some uplifting trumpet parts. I had a fairly grandiose vision when I first conceptualized this song, and couldn’t believe that it actually turned out as good as I imagined it would.
This is the “hidden” track on the album. It’s one of the last things I wrote for it. As “Night Owl” fades out, there’s a collage of sound in which I was trying to do something like those avant-garde tape loops like “Number 9” by the Beatles. It was kind of just a fun thing to do. Record any and everything and play it backwards, distort it, etc. It was just a cool experiment that served as a nice transition.
The tune, “Juvenescence”, itself is about getting older and just wanting love, but at the same time basking in the youth that you still have. I recorded it live without a click track. The only overdub was the toy piano solo. I put a lo-fi effect over the whole thing for effect. It just seemed a fitting epilogue to the album.
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