Traveling troubadour Nate Allen is better known as one-half of the uplifting, neon-hued folk punk duo Destroy Nate Allen. Backed by his sometimes-band The Pac-Away Dots, Take out the Trash is his first solo effort since 2006. Its ten stripped-down tracks marry his authenticity-over-polish musical sensibility with introspective, socially aware lyrics that pack an emotional wallop without sacrificing his trademark sense of fun. Tracks like “Hunger Pains” and “We Don’t Even Know” challenge listeners to reevaluate their privilege and preconceptions while boasting gang vocals and chord progressions reminiscent of the “kids songs for adults” vibe made famous by Destroy Nate Allen. With plenty of raucous barnburners (“More Money”), quiet and evocative soul-searching (“Photograph”), and even some uncharacteristic darkness (“Goodbye Letter”), Take out the Trash is an eclectic and cathartic must-have. – Kelley O’ Death / Razorcake
Nate’s thoughts on Take Out The Trash:
I had planned to take 2013 off from touring. I was burnt-out, unemployed, and living in my parents’ spare bedroom. I had finished yet another tour with just enough gas money to get home.
Something needed to change. I needed to slow down and apologize for the nonstop pace I had dragged my wife/bandmate, Tessa, through. Staying constantly busy (including going back to college, recording MANY albums and playing over 800 shows since 2007) had earned me press quotes like this: “The stats on local folk-punk duo Destroy Nate Allen are daunting and damn near exhausting even to contemplate” – Willamette Week.
Tessa told me to start a solo project so she could have a break. I listened to her, and in short time wrote an entire album in stark contrast to our bubbly Destroy Nate Allen persona. “Open To Everything” begins the collection of songs with the lines “hating myself for what I have done…” Like much of the album, it’s a song that balances optimism and frailty. “I want to be open to everything, but I don’t want to be broken.” Apparently I have limits.
During this writing season we attended a small, multiracial community group where stories of people’s pain and privilege hit me in new ways. As my friends told me their stories, these songs were my response. I grew up as a 3rd generation timber worker in a very white, working class, West Coast small town. In much the same way that living in San Francisco and reading Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution had opened my eyes to homelessness and poverty, I was now becoming aware of how cultural biases and skin color affect people’s experiences in ways I would never have imagined on my own.
On “Social Equality” I contrast my experiences with those of my friends as we share the same streets. “Blinded by innocence, not fearing anyone, walking with great confidence. Chosen by providence, raised with such ignorance, vindication I do seek.” The upbeat “We Don’t Even Know” contains realizations such as “if climbing the ladder defines success, I know I have stepped on someone.” These songs sit next to reflective and mournful tracks about life, death and friendship like Death Is Overrated and Goodbye Letter.
Underneath the bummer is a ribbon of silliness. “More Money” is a goofy blues number mixing real life need with frivolous desire. “Wanted to buy a satellite TV, wanted to buy a VCR, wanted to buy an ice cream sandwich, but no money doesn’t go far!” Throughout the album, when the lyrics take you down, the music is quick to bring you back up again.
As I focused intensely on looking for work, Portland doors kept shutting but Kansas City seemed to open up. There was work to be found, a cheap place to live and an unknown land. We took the jump. Before moving, I dived into recording with a full band, wanting to document what the songs had become. This was a Portland record, and I had no idea how relevant it would be to my new home, or to the rest of the country for that matter.
Other Points of Note:
- Take Out The Trash was funded via Kickstarter pre-orders.
- This is Nate’s first non-Destroy Nate Allen since 2006.
- The Pac-Away Dots are Nate’s backing band when he has one.
- Nate will be touring the album starting in October around the US.