Alive Naturalsound Records

Independent record label based in LA. Home to The Black Keys, Two Gallants, Buffalo Killers, Radio Moscow, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Hacienda, John The Conqueror, Brian Olive, Black Diamond Heavies, Left Lane Cruiser, T-Model Ford, Thomas Function, Waves Of Fury, etc. More at

Monday, June 23, 2008


If you wanted proof of Dane Auerbach's (The Black Keys) worth as virtual A & R man for Alive Records you need look no further than this 'un.

Pulling together a red hot band from the likes of himself, SSM, The Sights, The Dirtbombs and Outrageous Cherry, Auerbach has provided a musical platform for Detroit '60s soul veteran Nathaniel Mayer to ply his ravaged vocals over nine, taught garage tunes. Auerbach didn't throw Meyer a lifeline - Fat Possum did that a few years earlier - but he maintained the momentum.

Let's stop the nonsense about this sounding like a damaged soul-man fronting the Stooges. That's a nice sentiment but pure lazy hyperbole. The Stooges have an entirely different thing happening. These guys apply a nimble but more minimal backing with psychedelic overtones. It's primal but much more sparse, and thankfully not a mention of her taking his money or ATMs. So let's not label anyone out of the Motor City (as the bulk of this band hails from there) as the new Stooges.

But Mayer does sound ravaged. And how. Never the sweetest soul singer but always a vital one with his roots in the garage, he strains but never fails to nail these songs with an intensity and desperation that matches the playing. I'm thinking the lusting after pretty girls in "Everywhere I Go" sounds less The World's Forgotten Boy than The Planet's Horniest Old Man (with absolutely no apologies to Hugh Hefner.) Explosions anywhere above the waist seem the least of Meyer's worries on "Please Don't Drop The Bomb" and the old retrobate's not asking for his lunch money and a pensioner's concession fare on the bus home on "Why Don't You Give It To Me?"

He might be an old bloke but he sure keeps his end up on an extended funk rumble like the nearly nine-minute long "Doin' It". Shadowy, dirty and dark, turn it loose and lose yourself. The real oddity here however is the closer, a syncopated skeletal bone-jangler called "Dancin' Mood" whose playful touch seems out of step with the rest of the skanky fare.

What a dirty old man. Just the sort of man the safety-first promoters need to bring out to Australia for the East Coast (aka "White Bread") Blues Festival. – The Barman

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