Recently, it’s been difficult to drag me away from groups like Death Grips or Brockhampton; but one of the few to do it is Naked Giants. While I knew nothing about them prior to a few weeks ago, their opening performance for Car Seat Headrest made a lasting impression on me; forcing me to learn more about them immediately after the show. Their fun-loving, unique style of garage rock caused me to fall in love with them, and given how small/unknown they currently are, I decided I should make a piece on them; highlighting what kind of music they play, why I like them, and why I think you should check them out.
A melting pot of inspirations and styles; their first full-length release, SLUFF, came out earlier this year on March 30th. I would say the style(s) they stick to are very reminiscent of both the 70’s and 90’s; including many genres such as punk, grunge, noise-rock, psychedelia, and even funk. Not only is it simply evident from their music, but they actually have a playlist attached to their Spotify page, highlighting several songs that influenced the band’s latest album. Featuring 20 songs, this playlist includes bands such as Nirvana, and the Velvet Underground, as well as James Brown and DEVO.
And this diverse taste displays itself throughout the album. “TV” displays some really good and interesting guitar-distortion. Immediately following that, “Slow Dance II” is a (albeit frustrated) heart-felt ballad, featuring some pretty fantastic guitar licks as well. Even “Everybody Thinks They Know” is a simple, yet catchy, pop song. For a first release, the songs are incredibly solid and distinct from each other. And even within each song, rarely are they repetitive. Aside from “Everybody Thinks They Know,” I think each song has its own tempo, mood, or style changes throughout it. A good example of this; my favorite song of their KC performance; is named “Green Fuzz,” and isn’t even on any of their albums or EPs. I still recommend checking out a live performance of it, which you can find here.
To go along with their fantastic, interesting music, they have really fun personalities. The first thing that caught my attention was less their music, and more their stage presence. While they may have been playing for hundreds of people, it felt like a jam session at a bar, or in someone’s basement. Recently, many openers I’ve seen have been more stiff, and less entertaining, but they were cracking jokes, dancing around, playing their instruments behind their backs, and going crazy. Where many openers fail to engage the crowd, I thought they did a great job, and most people seemed to love them. To just get a taste of their playful sound and personalities, I recommend you watch their live performance on KEXP.
While they’re quite obviously not the world’s best band, for a new, up-and-coming group, they’re incredibly unique, interesting, and fun. SLUFF is an incredibly solid release. Almost every song on it hits hard. And if “Green Fuzz” is any sign, they hopefully have more great songs up their sleeve in the future. They only have 41,874 monthly listeners according to Spotify, which isn’t bad, but I could be much better, so I hope both you, and others enjoy them. If you do, they recently stated via instagram that they’re looking to record more this winter.
[You can find them on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music (probably other places as well). They have a couple music videos on their own Youtube channel, but their recent ones are now on New West Records’ Youtube channel]