By Charlie Swanson
Both born and raised in Napa, Thomas Fine and Justin Altamura have been musically attached at the hip since Fine gave Altamura his first guitar lesson. Together, the pair has toured nationally in rock band The Iron Heart, and now they’re taking a new musical direction in electro-pop outfit Native Sons, starting with a debut release, Super American, out on Friday, August 4.
As performers, Altamura and Fine got their first taste of the big stage in 2013, when the folks behind the original incarnation of BottleRock music festival approached them two weeks before the event and asked if they could fill a spot in the lineup. Though they didn’t exactly have a band at the time, they agreed, feverishly wrote seven rock songs under the name The Iron Heart and opened the inaugural festival.
“I had to go to a psychiatrist,” Fine jokes. “ I basically blacked out, but we got through it.”
From that first set, The Iron Heart became a touring act for three years, though all the while Fine and Altamura tinkered with making synth-heavy pop like the music they grew up on. “That kind of sound was always in us,” Fine says.
In 2016, Fine and Altamura put The Iron Heart on hiatus to focus on electronic exploits under the name Native Sons. “We sat down and said let’s push this thing forward, work with the best people, and make it the best we can,” Altamura says. Sonically, Super American is a sophisticated blend of pop, dance, rock and new wave in the vein of M83 and Phil Collins.
With eyes on touring extensively, Native Sons still sees itself as local. “We have a love and appreciation of the scene,” Fine says. “Napa keeps calling us back; this is our home. We would love to contribute to the place that’s nearest to our hearts.”
‘Super American’ is available Aug. 4 on ntvsns.com and all major streaming and download services.