New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Sometimes when you hear a new artist it's not hard to hear the spirit, heart and soul of and another artist channeling through them. Grunge rocker Just Nate does just that and he does it rather well indeed. Listening to him on his latest release, Medicate, you just can't help to make this comparison to the late great Kurt Cobain. Close your eyes as the record plays and you'd swear that the Nirvana
front man had never left this mortal coil and was again cranking out classics in some earthly recording studio. This guy's just that on point with what he's doing here.
On Medicate Just Nate rips the heart right out of his chest and willingly hands it over to all who will listen. The tortured outsider quality in the performance reveals the deep honesty which this musician relates to his music. For Just Nate, writing and performing is not just a job or passing the time away, it's the chosen form of therapy he utilizes to heal his own psychic wounds, and in that way it is certainly how he medicates himself when whenever needed. It's not a "…take two before you go to bed, then call me in the morning…" prescription for this dude. To him this is all totally serious and that clearly comes across with each note played on Medicate. His music is his Rx.
Medicate opens with a guitar riff that sounds like the player's using a twisted rusty nail as a plectrum. The threat of feedback bubbles dangerously below VU meters as if it's smoldering, white hot lava oozing down the steep sides of an actively erupting Hawaiian volcano. The lead in eighth note pattern on the bass drum feels like it being repeatedly kicked by some brutal Neanderthal with a grudge. By the time the singer rasps out the first lines of the lyrics, "There's no point anyway, I feel so sick. There's no point anyway, I feel like sh*t!" the overall sense of malaise has traveled from your speakers, to your ears, into your brain, and settles like heavy molten lead deep down in the pit of your stomach.
Whereas Cobain's song Lithium from Nirvana's 1991 Nevermind
is about someone suffering for suicidal thoughts and turns to religion, Just Nate's Medicate offers us no such solutions. Both artists favored the technique of alternating single notes with open chords and double stops to create a sense of looseness in their music. They also were each keenly aware of how the attack and decay of a note, as well as the fluctuations of tonal dynamics, could be successfully employed as shading and coloration to their sound. Medicate ends with a reaped coda of "Get me help, get me help…" We may only hope that these similarities I've observed here between these artists do not carry over into the same life choices for two of them. So, with that being said I'd like to wish in closing, long live Just Nate, and R.I.P. Kurt Cobain.