| a gloriously ragged In Stereo one sheet
The Act: DALTON
The Release: 'ONLY NAMES'
The Format: DOWNLOAD SINGLE
The Label: IN STEREO
The Release Date: DECEMBER 8TH 2014
The Truth: "I've found that the best songs are the ones written in ten minutes or less…" So says DALTON, aka one Nate Harar, a scuffed-up American dreamer who is poised on the very cusp of releasing his first record in the UK. ‘Only Names’ is that debut single and a subtle, slow-burning introduction it is too, in ever sense of the word.
Like much of the rest of his imminent debut album – due on fierce panda next February – ‘Only Names’ captures the anti-rock ethos of the DALTON muse: too enigmatic to be epic, too instinctive to be self-important, you can hear that Nate Harar has heard The Big Music, but has decided to deflate it with a lo-fi sensibility and some excellently simple melodies. “The best songs are the ones that come out of you and sound so natural that you think, 'I hope nobody's written this before',” shrugs the man with the golden melodic pen. “Usually if you're struggling with a song for a long time, it's not worth it."
The best songs might be polished off within less than a quarter of an hour, but it’s taken Nate his whole life to get to this point with DALTON. Blame the parents (always blame the parents): by the time Nate was an 11 year-old in Washington DC he and his brothers had already been taken to see Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, CSN, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles and BB King. He got his first guitar when he was 13, was forming bands at High School and, as a grown up, ditched the day job and locked himself away for two years accompanied only by dreams of David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Nirvana and Blur to write songs and inadvertently try to right the music industry’s wrongs. Driven? Individual? This is a man who recently decamped from the hipster postcode of Brooklyn and moved to Los Angeles "for a change of scenery".
Starting as it means to go on, 'Bedford & Grand' opens the album with a melancholic piano refrain which captures the essence of Flaming Lips re-writing Badfinger classic 'Without You'. Ending much like it started 'So Long So Well' polishes things off with a broken guitar and a bruised microphone. In between DALTON pays his own subtle tribute to the history of alternative North American rock with a sound which nods at the maverick ghosts of Talking Heads, Neil Young, Afghan Whigs, Guided By Voices and beyond, at one particularly surreal point actually rekindling the sunshine-shuffling flame of Blighty’s very own Mungo Jerry.
So it's sad rock, but hard-edged, forever accompanied by Nate’s terrifically lived-in vocals. It nods at the super cool collegiate rockings of the early ‘90s, but also acknowledges a roving range of ragged stadium rock glories - even first single 'Only Names' nods coyly at the restrained hysteria of 'Joshua Tree'-era U2 - but suggest this is blue collar rock in full effect and DALTON will frown.
“I'd prefer maybe ‘no frills/stripped-down/unapologetic’," he muses. “It’s always hard to peg oneself but I do like to think that I'm anti the whole "rock n roll" image stereotype (girls/partying/eyeliner). That whole lifestyle seems so calculated and boring to me. I can't really be bothered with it. Who cares about all that other stuff? Just write good tunes!”