Hot on the heels of Neil's Californication Season 2 Soundtrack success, comes The Nearest Future. Ironically, it was the first batch of songs he recorded as a solo artist back in 2005. It includes the original version of Glide, which was featured in the Rosario Dawson film "Descent." Neil re-recorded Glide on his debut EP.
The Nearest Future was recorded at NYC's Quad Studios (where Tupac got shot the first time)in mixing maestro Michael Brauer's (Cold Play, My Morning Jacket, Bob Dylan) seriously swanky studio. Some very cool vintage analog delay effects make it all warm and gooey. Keith Gary engineered and produced with Chris Buckle(The Picture) on guitar and Howard Rappaport on pedal steel.
Sensitive singer/songwriter or glam rock animal?
If you think no one can be both, you've never met Neil Nathan.
The NYC-based singer and songwriter says the first two singles he ever bought were Cheap Trick's 'I Want You to Want Me' and Neil Diamond's 'Desiree.' The first may have fed his fondness for big trashy rock hooks and catchy thrashed out choruses, the latter his respect for songwriting craft and skill.
Since then, he’s cut his teeth in a hard rock band and as the mirror ball masked lead in the Off-Broadway rock opera, Automatic Superstar. He's also landed two mostly acoustic songs from his debut EP Glide in the indie film 'Descent,’ starring Rosario Dawson. And one straight-up rocker, from the Motor City Recordings, produced by Detroit garage mainstay Bobby Harlow of The Go.
Now with Songsmiths, a six-song EP of mostly covers, Nathan pays tribute to both sides of his musical heritage, covering power pop classics like ELO's 'Do Ya' in stripped down songwriter style, and treating Ludwig von Beethoven's 'Fur Elise' to a garage-surfy, lap steel heavy reinterpretation. Nathan and long-time collaborator Mike 'Slo-Mo' Brenner (Slo-Mo, ex- of Marah, Jason Molina, and The Low Road) worked out lo-fi arrangements to songs including 'All or Nothing' by the Small Faces and 'Mia' by Chris Malcarney of the Philadelphia power pop band, The Donuts.
Even the song credited to Nathan and Brenner is, in some ways, a cover. In the movie Descent, filmmaker Talia Lugacy pointed out a scene where actresses Rosario Dawson and Nicole Vicius are singing a song acapella. From this fragment, Nathan and Brenner wrote 'Old Man Time;' a menacing, funk-tinged cover in a low vocal range reminiscent of Mark Lanegan.
Songsmiths was released by Nathan on his imprint, Pirate Vinyl, in September, 2008, and is available through iTunes. His cover of ELO's 'Do Ya' was featured on the Showtime series Californication, and on the Season 2 Soundtrack alongside Sheryl Crow, Nick Cave, and Warren Zevon. Nathan says the best thing about the whole experience was that Jeff Lynne had to approve the song and loved it. The two versions could hardly be more different, ELO's a huge power pop production and Nathan's nakedly acoustic. “It just speaks to how well written a song it is that my little folky, finger-picking Dylan version is still powerful, though in a totally different way,” he says.
And on the heels of his Californication success, Neil has recently inked a licensing deal with North Star Media; home of such luminaries as The Go, Mudhoney, Gutter Twins, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt, and the one and only, Cher.
True to form, Nathan already has another project in the wings, a full-length, garage-rocking album entitled The Distance Calls, and recorded last spring at Tempermill Studios with The Go's Bobby Harlow. Harlow brought together many of the Motor City's top rock-n-rollers, with Dean Fertita (QOTSA, Raconteurs), Kenny Tudrick (Kid Rock, Detroit Cobras), John Krautner (The Go), Joey Mazzola (Sponge, Detroit Cobras), Danny Methric (The Muggs, The Paybacks), Loretta Lucas (Sisters Lucas) and Ross Westerbur providing support.