A double album featuring two brand new full lengths by Portland, Oregon folk punk troubadours Destroy Nate Allen.
Tracks 1-10 Destroy Nate Allen - Perfect Recipe For A Smile, is our 5th full length and was co-written by my wife Tessa. It's a rock n' roll record and a super fun listen. Recipe also marks the first time as a band we've booked studio time and I think it shows. We knocked this out 12 hours over two days.. and it captures a good amount of what we sound like live.
Track 11-20 Nate Allen - Don't Let This Smile Fool You, is my 4th full length and features a collection of songs I wrote on my great grandfathers banjo, and home recorded. Smile is an introspective journey and is in many ways my return to being a solo singer/songwriter.
After over 400 shows and nearly 20 releases, we finally learned why some folks pay for a recording - and we're very proud of the results.
Thanks for taking time to check us out.
Below are a few reviews our CD.
"A Punk Rock I Love Lucy" - Andrew Jackson Jihad
Crappy Indie Music - CD Review.
I’ll admit, I’m not much of a folk punk fan. That said, Portlanders Destroy Nate Allen totally charmed me. Well, technically, “Perfect Recipe for a Smile” is Destroy Nate Allen, written & performed by Nate and his wife Tessa, and “Don’t Let This Smile Fool You” is Nate Allen alone.
“Perfect Recipe..” has very sparse instrumentation – guitar, male & female vocals, and the occasional shaken percussion. The aesthetics are straight up punk rock, while the lyrics mix introspective, personal storytelling in the vein of Olympia acoustic pop with the charm and humour of Jonathan Richman. In a few instances, “Recipe” and “His Lips Are Sealed Hallelujah” specifically, there’s an infusion of wacky radio theatre.
The opener, “Anchors Away”, and “White Flag” later on, are fairly simple, fun songs. I can’t quite guess whether the lyrics hint at a bigger story or were simply fun to say, but it doesn’t really matter.
The majority of the songs on “Perfect Recipe..” are super cute duets describing the story (real or fictionalized, I don’t know) of Nate and Tessa’s relationship, or Nate’s feelings about life. “Turns Out Your Perfect For Me” “Loving You”, “His Lips Are Sealed Hallelujah” , “Despite It All”. Destroy Nate Allen have a good way of capturing the victories and challenges of loving someone. My favourite is “Loving You”, which depicts the difficulties of loving someone even though “she likes the songs that I don’t like.” Nate and Tessa have amazing chemistry – I feel almost like an eavesdropper listening to them sing about their love. “Recipe” is a song I’m really sorry my old band Project Casserole didn’t write. It’s a theatrical, poppy instruction to cooking – “Follow the recipe the first time that you do it, after you do that you can add things to it.” And hey, that’s really good advice.
“Don’t Let This Smile Fool You”, is even simpler in instrumentation – just Nate and a banjo. It’s also a quick one – the longest song is 2:48. Track 1, “Phil Collins” has that purposely-fuzzy, ancient wax cylinder microphone sound. “35, 35, 35” is a great song. I can’t explain exactly way – it’s just fun and poppy and makes me feel really good.
The next three, “Guitar Strings”, “Glow in the Dark”, and “How To Make a Girl Cry”, are love songs. And for the record, “How To Make a Girl Cry” is so sweet that I did start to cry a little while I was listening to it. All Allen’s love songs contain the kind of sweet, emotional things that most guys won’t hardly admit to saying to the person they’re saying it about, much less tell the whole world – I give him double kudos for that.
The next two songs, “Grandpa”, and “Ain’t Gonna Rain no More” are something completely different, but related to eachother. The first is Nate asking his grandparents what life and his history is about, and the second is a goofy song his grandpa supposedly taught him – “How the heck gonna wash my neck if it ain’t gonna rain no more?”
“Suffer” is about the necessity of dealing with things you don’t want to deal with, with a little bit of political commentary mixed in. The pair of records end with “Pardon Song” which reminds us that “In the end it doesn’t matter, in the end we are just fools – if we haven’t made a lot of friends and broken a few rules.”
I know I’ve thrown a lot of lyric quotes in here, but for this sort of music, that’s the best way to explain it. Actually, the second best way. The first best way is for you to go listen to it yourself.
Room Thirteen - UK CD Review:
Coming out of Portland, Oregon, Nate Allen is a guy that can pick up a guitar or banjo and write a catchy tune quicker than the time it takes to make a nice cuppa. Here we have two albums rolled into one. The first one ‘Perfect Recipe For A Smile’ is under his Destroy Nate Allen guise, and is a duet with his wife Tessa consisting of 10 songs with an acoustic guitar, whereas the second one, ‘Don’t Let This Smile Fool You’ is under his cut down name of Nate Allen, and is written and recorded in his apartment and played on a banjo.
So on the first slice of this double CD we start off with, ‘Anchors Away’ which is a real toe-tapper and reminds me a little of Chuck Ragan’s tunes sung with a less gravely voice. ‘Turns Out You’re…’ really showcases how well Nate and Tessa’s voices go together. The song is a catchy love song that shows you early that they are not afraid to lyrically explain their feelings for each other, and this is done in a silly, but enchanting way, not a sickly throat-chugger way! ‘Recipe’ is about as catchy as you get mixing folk/playground chants with a little wackiness. ‘Loving You’ is another high-tempo song that is up beat and has all the markings of a great song. I can’t say better than that!
‘White Flag’ is a little deeper, mixing in the likes of Rocky Votolato and a stripped down Dusty Rhodes And The River Band, whereas there is a Rock’n’Folk-Punk feel to ‘His Lips Are Sealed…’ that spouts out a feverish anarchic side to the pair that borders on mischievous. ‘Despite It All’ is a fast-pace plod along song that is a fine stripped down tune. ‘Steady’ although slower of pace, sounds like a Punk song that has been slowed down and stripped of pounding drums and big riffs. Of course this song is less than two minutes long so I would think that a fast version would be less than a minute. It could be a song by The Stooges or Racer X. ‘I Am Alive’ is an acoustic Rock’n’Roll song that has flashes of a Religious hymn in the chorus, whereas ‘Smile’ is just a great ending to this album.
Now to the more raw album of, ‘Don’t Let The Smile Fool You’, which starts off with the great ‘Phil Collins’ that has the nice lyrics of, “I’m not Phil Collins, but I might be Henry Rollins-// Banging out, a tune // On this old banjo…”. It’s simple like all of this double album in fact. The one instrument doesn’t complicate, doesn't distract from the melody or the vocals nor the poetic lyrics. The album title track is again fast tempo and catchy, a little more like Langhorne Slim. ’35, 35, 35’ is pure Folk/Pop and with a band behind it this could be a smooth and great song, which isn’t to say that in this raw form it’s not still a nice song. ‘Guitar Strings’ is a sappy Blues/Folk song, whereas ‘Glow In The Dark’ is a more Country influenced Folk track.
There is a hint of self-indulgence in ‘How To Make…’ as Nate sings a love song about his wife. ‘Grandpa’ is a little more sentimental constantly asking questions, then in, ‘Ain’t Gonna Rain No More’ which could be one of those Traditional Folk tunes that have been passed on down the generations, with a sing-a-long chorus, “How the heck, am I gonna wash my neck// if it ain’t gonna rain no more?”. Things are a little more thoughtful in, ‘Suffer’, whereas the banjo has a beauty that seems to have been missed in the earlier song here, and with a touch of humour, ‘Pardon Song’ is a great ending, a little like if Ben Folds did a song with just a banjo.
This is what music should be all about as Nate shows that he enjoys what he does, and this is music that anyone can appreciate. It’s a cracking good musical offering!