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MP3 Nathan Oliver - ROCK: Modern Rock

Touches on The Pixies, The Postal Service, Nick Drake and The Beatles with equal prowess.

10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: Acoustic

Where has NATHAN OLIVER been hiding all this time? Do classmates of 24-year-old UNC Dentistry student Nathan White know what a talent they have in their midst? Little do they know, their buddy that pokes at Chapel Hill’s molars by day may have just recorded one of the best debuts of 2007; they’re about to find out.

NATHAN OLIVER, the self-titled debut of this quiet phenomenon, is the result of years of bedroom songwriting. Before assuming the recording name Nathan Oliver, White performed in high school bands in his hometown of Greenville, NC. Arriving in Chapel Hill in 2000, White put his studies ahead of music, which only appeared as demos on his website.

The germ for this album came in 2004 when White befriended Mark Lebetkin and the two bonded over their common obsession with The Pixies. After two years of infrequent jamming, the two entered Pox studio in March, 2006, with producer Zeno Gill (Des Ark, The Rosebuds, Portastatic), looking to make a nice shiny document of what White’s songs were supposed to sound like. They rounded up local wonder-drummer Lee Waters, who, away from his band Work Clothes, has played with Destroyer, The Rosebuds and Portastatic, and currently tours with The Essex Green.

With no advanced billing, WKNC in Raleigh immediately put the 3-song Alphabets into heavy rotation and invited White, previously unknown, to perform on air. The airwaves of Raleigh were abuzz with the slinky, distorted viola of “BLACK SHIP WHITE SAILS,” the buoyant, Arcade Fire-esque “STATE LINES PT. 1,” and the chamber-pop epic “PRAY TELL.”

Sensing something great, Gill offered to record a full album for his Pox World Empire label, bringing in drummer Matt McCaughan of Portastatic, The Rosebuds, and Mosadi Music. The band combined these seven tracks with the three from Alphabets for a proper full-length.

Comprising only ten of the dozens of songs White has written, the album is a showcase for his musical breadth. Nathan Oliver touches on The Pixies, The Postal Service, Nick Drake and The Beatles with equal prowess. The X-inflected fury of “OLD SLOW POKE” soon gives way to a murder-ballad recasting of Ace of Base’s “ALL THAT SHE WANTS.” The explosive “GREYS AND BLACKS” sounds like a lost Sonic Youth track, and the closer “SLEEP SONG” like Elliott Smith swimming in a sea of backwards guitars.

For live shows, Nathan Oliver is now joined by John Tokarczyk on drums and Tripp Cox of Schooner on bass.

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