Native Tongue
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Native Tongue

Carbondale, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Carbondale, Illinois, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Ambient




"Cause God ain't got your limbs on strings."

There’s often a bit of bias towards local and unsigned acts as far as musical or sound quality goes. The outfits that play clubs and bars at quarter capacity are often assumed to be lesser simply due to their low level of exposure, raw unbalanced production jobs and sloppy musicianship held against them less because of their status. It comes with the territory, some might say. “For an unsigned band, they sound pretty good.” The expectations are simply lower, and with good reason. Some bands almost seem to expect to shoot towards stardom with amateurish home recordings featuring tacked on album titles. However, Native Tongue are the kind of act that defy these stereotypes. Their debut EP, Driftwood Head, is a fantastical blend of genres, with a cohesion mostly seen in artists with a record label behind them and organic production to match, that lets them stand head and shoulders above the pack.

As far as genre classification goes, it’s fairly hard to pin Native Tongue down. Opener “Dimly Lit” is atmospheric and drawn out, displaying the band’s post rock influences proudly, but the first true song is more a blend of alternative rock and post hardcore. Shoegaze makes itself known more than a few times, and there are even dashes of noise on tracks like “Future Ghosts”. It’s an eclectic blend of styles with ambition in abundance, but it doesn’t feel sloppily pasted together at any point. Rather than a palette of separated colors that they would draw from one at a time, the flavors are mixed together naturally into a new creation. This cohesion is a great deal of why Driftwood Head succeeds in its execution.

Vocally and instrumentally, Native Tongue brings it all to the table. Vocalist Jon Emling commands a vulnerable, at times conversely delicate or powerful, croon that lies somewhere between Kyle Durfey (Pianos Become The Teeth) and Jesse Lacey (Brand New). The rhythmic backbone is as solid as needed, and pushes the atmospheric guitar work to the forefront. Whether it’s the booming riffs in “Rorschach”, fragile arpeggios in “Prism”, or the euphoric post rock climax in exemplary closer “Strange Light”, the music shifts as needed to get just the right mood. There’s an unpredictability to the EP that keeps each moment tense in anticipation for what might come next, an unpredictability that rarely fails to pay off across Driftwood Head’s run time.

Driftwood Head is the kind of low key release that shatters expectations concerning where the band is coming from. Organic production, varied and intense music, and stylistic cohesion are not things that come with every unsigned band out there, and it shouldn’t go unnoticed here. It’s not exactly like finding a “needle in a haystack”, so to speak, but it’s pretty close and all the more remarkable for it. -


Driftwood Head - 2015



In September of 2012, in Carbondale, Illinois, the thoughts and ideas that would soon become Driftwood Head began to take form. Two years later, the musicians who would form Native Tongue came together for the first time. With each member of the band carrying with them years of experience playing and performing regularly in local and regional bands, the winter of 2014 was spent writing and re-shaping these ideas. In March of 2015, the band traveled to Forty-One Fifteen Studios in Nashville, TN to record with producer Tate Mercer. On September 25, 2015, these ideas finally came to fruition, and their debut EP Driftwood Head was released to the masses. With an energetic live performance as unique as the music implies, Native Tongue is sure to catch your attention in one way or another.

Band Members