| a ruggedly gregarious fierce panda one sheet
The Act: DALTON
The Release: 'DALTON'
The Format: DOWNLOAD & COMPACT DISC ALBUM
The Label: FIERCE PANDA
The Release Date: FEBRUARY 23RD 2015
The Tracklisting: 1 'Bedford & Grand'; 2 'Breaker'; 3 'What Never Should End'; 4 'New Time'; 5 'For The Last'; 6 'Only Names'; 7 'Control'; 8 'Autumnal'; 9 'Second Life (Afterglow)'; 10 'So Long, So Well'
American trooper DALTON, aka one Nate Harar, is warming up for the release of his debut album by streaming one of the tracks at *insert link here* to kickstart the new year. ‘What Never Should End’ is that track, and beefy alt.rock with grungey powerchords a’plenty it is, too. Both brainy AND brawny it acts as a crunchy counterbalance to some of his more delicate piano-led moments. Loud or quiet, Dalton is a man for all melodic seasons.
"I've found that the best songs are the ones written in ten minutes or less…" So says the scuffed-up American dreamer who launches that first album through fierce panda in the USA and Europe on February 23rd. For a man who gets straight to the point with his songwriting it will come as little surprise to hear that DALTON's album is called 'Dalton'.
Excited blogsters and excitable indie kids alike got a teaser of DALTON / 'Dalton' at the tailend of 2014 with the ‘Only Names’ single release on In Stereo. A subtle, slow-burning introduction it was too, which in a very real sense captures the very real 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 'Dalton' 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 rekindles the sunshine-shuffling early '70s 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 that 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!”