California Sounds: New music from Local Natives (remixed by Classixx), SiR, Thundercat and Ryan Adams


Local Natives, “Dark Days (Classixx remix)” (Loma Vista). The catchiest song on Local Natives’ 2016 album “Sunlit Youth” gets the remix treatment by the soulful Los Angeles house duo Classixx. Both the original and this remix feature harmonies and a verse from singer Nina Persson of the Swedish alt-pop acts the Cardigans and A Camp, who acts as a foil for the Natives’ sun-drenched harmonies.

Classixx — Michael David and Tyler Blake — let Persson and Natives’ singer Kelcey Ayer breathe a little in the remix, adding Roland 808 beats, sibilant snares that recall “Off the Wall”-era Michael Jackson and digital wooshes and zaps to make the rework bounce.


Local Natives, who are performing at Coachella, also commissioned the New York production team Sofi Tukker to remix “Dark Days.” Its take is more urgent and loops the original version’s guitar line to create propulsion.

Thundercat featuring Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, “Show You the Way” (Brainfeeder). Bassist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner accomplished quite the feat to commence 2017: He united the platinum pop-rock singers Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins onto a single, lubricated slow jam called “Show You the Way.”

The three take turns singing. Thundercat plays host, seducing with the first verse before introducing Loggins — “Tell ’em how you feel, Kenny” — who takes over as sampled applause echoes behind. “Your heart is struggling, baby, trying to believe,” he sings. Thundercat adds the chorus, then welcomes McDonald, who suggests that you “hold your face into the light.”

“Show You the Way” is the first tease of Thundercat’s forthcoming third album. Called “Drunk,” it’s due out Feb. 24 on Brainfeeder, the label owned by Thundercat’s longtime collaborator, Flying Lotus.

As if in a 2017 sibling relay race, another Thundercat-affiliated song, “Take the Time” by his brother, Ronald Bruner Jr., was featured in this column last week. That track is jazzier and more progressive than “Show You the Way,” yet another illustration of the skills at the Bruners’ disposal.


SiR, “W$ Boi” (TDE). The singer-rapper known as SiR is one of the newest signees to the Los Angeles rap and R&B label Top Dawg, best known for being the home to Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. Last year the artist, born Darryl Farris, issued a breathtaking EP called “HER,” which featured half a dozen tracks with wobbly beats that deliberately played with meter.

SiR continues to confuse on the new “W$ Boi,” which is presented atop a drunken beat that would certainly get a D.U.I. were it tracked by the cops. “I grew up on the other side of Figuero, Figuero,” he sings — a shortening of Figueroa Street in L.A. — while explaining to an East Side lover that he can’t stay long.

The reason? “I’m a West-Side boy,” he proclaims, an excuse sure to find purchase with anyone who’s traveled the westbound 10 during rush hour.

Ryan Adams, “Karma Police” (BBC Radio 2 live performance). The Los Angeles transplant Adams has been busy promoting his forthcoming new album, “Prisoner” (Feb. 17), as well as its first single,“Doomsday.” During a January performance on BBC Radio 2, the gifted singer and songwriter teased its release with an acoustic set.


In introducing one song, Adams explained that he challenged himself to work out a few cover versions that morning. He settled on Radiohead’s “Karma Police. “I don’t know if I’ve learned it in a great new and interesting way,” he said, “but I also thought it’s fitting.”

Never one to pull punches, Ryan cited “a pretty awful person who just got elected in the United States” as his inspiration for the choice. “I don’t know why, but that song popped into my head this morning.” Here’s hoping Adams is allowed back into the country.

For tips, records, snapshots and stories on Los Angeles music culture, follow Randall Roberts on Twitter and Instagram: @liledit. Email: