Nathan Asher & the Infantry
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Nathan Asher & the Infantry

Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Band Rock Folk

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"Sex Without Love Album Review"

Nathan Asher & The Infantry are not impressive for their ages. They’re impressive for the ages. Nathan Asher’s voice sounds like a combination of Rhett Miller, Bruce Springsteen and Conor Oberst, fully delving into each of the respective genres while somehow transcending them all to create something wholly individual. The Infantry, comprised of Daniel Abbate (drums), Lawson Bennett (keyboards), Chris Serino (guitars), Nick Abbate (Bass) and Turner Brandon (harmonica) in their brilliance have created an album that is not only timely, but timeless. The relevance of Nathan Asher and the Infantry is boundless, as is their musical potential.

Their latest endeavor, Sex Without Love, is a pretention-free concept album analyzing life and love in modern America. Lyrically the album is uncomfortably honest, only through pop-infused y’alternative rock melodies reminding you that you’re not a peeping tom, but were invited to this naked expression of soul revelation. Sonically, the only thing the album is missing is the soft crackle of a turntable needle, which is a minor complaint, if a complaint at all.

It is surprising that someone so young could not only have something of value to say, but can say it in a way that speaks to any generation, past, present and future. Young virtuosity in musical storytelling seemed to be reserved for past greats like Springsteen, Dylan or Simon. The likelihood of modern music being graced with such talent seemed like nothing more than wishful thinking. My generation can now proudly add Nathan Asher & The Infantry as our contribution to the encyclopedia of musical genius.
- Altsounds.com


"Sex Without Love Album Review"

If passion isn't your question, Nathan Asher & The Infantry isn't your answer.
On Sex Without Love, the follow-up EP to last year's promising, bursting-at-the-seams LP, The Last Election, the six-piece Infantry delivers an apolitical stance on the same key-charged anthem rock that made them initially noteworthy. (Former seventh member, Jay Cartwright, is busy with Eyes to Space.) There's no "The Last Election" here, a pre-November 2nd tirade about phony rappers and pretty girls that defined the last record. There's not even a reference to a politician. Sans politics, though, Asher's social ideology--think Springsteen's populist bent, Lennon's escapist maneuvers and Dylan's self-perpetuating puzzlement and folk-ethic pursuits--rises at the center, embittered, imploring and embattled by what it senses.

On "No More Colleges," Asher twists Dylan's "Idiot Wind" verse--"Down the road to ecstasy"--to the indecisive, "Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to pain ... or glory," underlining indecision, beset by the uncertain possibility of it all. Those questions--safety and easy glory versus risk and hard-won transcendence--push Asher's cigarette-streaked voice to new places.

The band takes Asher's wail well, roaring through its most complex and convoluted passages yet, driving from an initial Brit-pop-meets-American Beauty lilt to a thundering eight-minute mark on "No More Colleges," slapping out on snares, cymbals and an everybody-sing cadenza: "No colleges, graduations, We know who we are!" They channel Neil Young's Ol' Black Gibson unrest on the exploratory "Storms," an apocalyptic vision of the loner's possible deliverance. Paired with Asher's husky, strained voice, the band's grand statements do swipe the obvious influences at times, though: Guitars bounce around with The Edge's ping-ponged delays on several tracks, and "Sex Without Love" tucks War in its back pocket. The E-Street Band may feel a bit cheated here and there.

But the entire unit takes a different path on the most accomplished song here, "You Cannot Quit Smoking." It's a brilliantly written diabolical, poisoned lullaby, a tarred blade cutting quick to modern entrapment and vicious cycles--if she quits smoking, she gains weight; if she gains weight, he leaves; and, by the way, she doesn't want an abortion.

So long, so short.


- Independent Weekly


"Get Out--Music Worth Leaving the House to Hear This Week"

Saturday, October 22
Nathan Asher CD Release Party, The Never, Starting Tuesday, Owen Fitzgerald
Local 506

Nathan Asher doesn't mind telling you what he thinks of your predilections and proclivities, habits and hankerings: "You Cannot Quit Smoking," one of the most gripping, narrative philippics released since Steve Earle's "John Walker's Blues" and the centerpiece of his Infantry's new second album, is as an acerbic commentary on the grim standards of society fit for his heroes--Smith, Dylan and Springsteen. Speaking of his heroes, The Infantry--six-piece and explosive--sounds like a legendary hammer, bearing down and browbeating with volume. - Independent Weekly, by Grayson Currin, 10-19-05


"Think Globally, Listen Locally--Our Great Eight are Hot Right Here"

[Nathan Asher & the Infantry listed as the Number One local band to hear by the Raleigh News & Observer]

Duos and armies, loud and quiet bands, guitarists and
turntablists, country crooners and rappers - our latest
"Great Eight" local acts ranges all over. Some of these
acts are almost brand new, others have been around but
are making breakthroughs. And they're all great.

NATHAN ASHER & THE INFANTRY

Hometown: Raleigh.

Sound: Arena rock with a cause.

On-record: "Nathan Asher & the Infantry" (Local Honey
Music, 2004).

Web site: www.nathanasher.com.

Upcoming shows: Saturday at Local 506, Chapel Hill;
Jan. 29 at Nightlight, Chapel Hill; Feb. 12 at Martin Street
Music Hall, Raleigh.

When it comes to musical agitation, Nathan Asher has
found that there's strength in numbers. If you're going to
play anti-war songs in a red state, that's safer with a seven-piece band than going solo.

"Now that I have a drummer in a tank top behind me, there are a lot less threats," he says laughing.
"But I thrive on that, in a way, as long as I'm not feeling like I'm about to get hit."

Fittingly, Nathan Asher & the Infantry come on like an army, playing anthemic rock just made for
righteous fist-waving. Although the last election supposedly made left-of-center politics obsolete, the
unashamedly liberal Asher vows to fight on.

"We lost this election and it was a good focal point, but I think the underlying issues are a lot deeper
than that," he says. "Like why aren't people in this country as happy as they should be? What is a
meaningful life in the face of technology? That's the stuff I'm writing about more now."

Fun fact: Asher's day job is writing text books and children's books with titles such as "What Are
Robots?"
- Raleigh News & Observer, by David Menconi


"Taking the Triangle by Strategy--Nathan Asher & the Infantry are on the move"

"Do people feel OK?" It's well past midnight on a Monday night at Lillie's in downtown Raleigh, and--after three beers, a washout band practice and an hour spent explaining the origin and direction of this Infantry--Nathan Asher really doesn't have the answers, but the questions come quick and cutting. He doesn't know why so many people need antidepressants just to feign happiness. He doesn't know why teenagers are frightened into a mold of beauty. Frankly, he doesn't know if the kids are all right. "Really, do people feel OK?" he asks again, rubbing his closely shaven head. "I don't think so. Somehow, we're the richest people in the world, and people don't feel fine."

Welcome to Nathan Asher's world, a place where questions constantly get asked and nothing is ever finished, a place where being in a rock band isn't about making a scene or inking a deal. It's about airing the troubles in his head, no matter how confrontational, controversial or contradictory they may be.
As such, Asher is an utter perfectionist. Tonight, lounging at a bar-side booth with three of his bandmates, no one is sure which master tape they mailed to the factory last week, just 15 days before their CD release show two floors above in Martin Street Music Hall.

Drummer Daniel Abbate, a hulk-ish sort whose triceps are rivaled only by the snare-splitting solos he sometimes hammers out mid-set during one of the band's marathon shows, claims it was the most compressed of the three test discs. Asher and keyboardist Lawson Bennett are only moderately confident that it was the master with medium compression that went to press. Chris Serino, ensconced in the opposite corner with a cool rock-star laxity, just takes another drink, admitting that none of them could really tell a difference at all.

Everyone agrees, but it's obvious that Asher is worried. Mixes and masters aren't the only thing on his mind, though. Eleven hours from now, the band will meet on Hillsborough Street directly across from N.C. State to hoist two massive billboards totaling some 300 square feet as invitations for the upcoming party. Two business owners have agreed to it, but Asher is worried that something will go wrong, that the city will take them down, that the property owners will object to advertisement for such an upfront, brash band in their storefronts.

Two days ago, he had a litany of questions and concerns for the Kinko's employee responsible for printing the signs' pieces. He gave the employee his phone number no less than three times, and he wanted to know which printer would do the job. Cost wasn't a factor.

Perhaps it's fulsome self-promotion, a local band's take on publicity, gimmicks and over-indulgence gone too far. Or, more likely, it's six guys living an E-Street Band dream, guys with enough will and audacity to stand by the claim that they really do believe in the music they're making. "We do a lot of promotion for this band, and that can burn you out really quickly. But it would burn me out a lot faster if I didn't believe in this and what we have to sell," Asher says, entering one of his characteristically tangent explanations. "We've got no intentions of turning it into a cash cow, but we hope that this band and this music is useful and somehow meaningful to people."

That belief is the tie that not only holds the band together 10 months into its existence, but it's also what led them to one another in the first place. Asher and Bennett have been playing together since Asher--a classroom delinquent--jumped from his seat one day in sixth grade at Ligon Middle School to impress his classmates with a bold rendition of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA."

"From the time that Nathan did that in school, I knew...Well, I don't know what I knew," laughs Bennett, explaining the bond the two have had in music for nearly a decade. "When Nathan first started writing stuff, I could tell he didn't know what he was doing, and I would hear the painful process of him trying to write his first songs. It was awful."

Bennett, who was on course to become a classical pianist, took to Asher, teaching him the fundamentals of music theory. The two eventually landed in Phantom FM, which came crashing to an end shortly after college. The duo's long-standing musical dreams seemed to die with the band, but they kept busy writing, practicing and planning.

"I was very frustrated with the world when this started, and these songs were a way to express this frustration with pop culture, politics, getting older and watching people around me change," Asher remembers of The Infantry's inception. "I felt myself changing, and I needed these songs to remind me of what I was and what I didn't like and didn't want to be."

Looking for a team of musicians to hire for the recording of those personal numbers, Asher hit the clubs, hunting for a backing band. He quickly noticed Nova Cancy drummer Daniel Abbate, and--after scouting the band for three more shows--he approached Abbate, who agreed to record the songs. NovaCancy guitarist Chris Serino joined on bass, but he shifted to his familiar role behind lead guitar after Abbate's older brother, Nick, joined. Eyes to Space frontman Jay Cartwright also signed on for the sessions with Bennett, Asher and the core of Nova Cancy.

"Nathan recorded the very first session we did in his basement, and when I went back and listened to it, I realized that everyone in that room was a really great player, and that we had connected," the younger Abbate recalls. "That just impressed the hell out of me."

Following a subsequent tour in New York full of bad experiences and busted gigs, Serino and the Abbates disbanded Nova Cancy and joined Asher's Infantry. The move from full-on, radio-ready pop band to the politically spirited, intellectually fueled bent of Asher was a bit awkward, but Serino knew there was real potential in "this next level of songwriting." "It's really empowering for me, and I feel and understand what he's expressing in his lyrics," Serino says. "To be able to stand up and have the balls and the means to sing songs that need to be sung--it's very empowering, and it's important to be a part of that."

Asher's songwriting isn't simply empowering, though. It's empowered, emotionally charged stuff built on bedrock hope and full of an earnest, deadfaced devotion to his political pulls and lofty social aspirations. "The Last Election"--the band's banner and the title track of the heavily anticipated debut--is a five-minute, barn-burning philippic that finds Asher denouncing "His peons, adoring morons worshipping the Koran / Misinterpreting the verses to avoid feeling human" after pointing out that "The president is driving air force one / His daddy gave him the keys and he's drunk," in a scathing Stipe growl set above Springsteen-styled rock heroics and Turner Brandon's harmonica licks.

Sincere, earnest and charged, Asher and The Infantry is a band that realizes it comes as an anathema to an area known for its wealth of ironic, indie detachment or guttural, emasculated rock chops.

"For me, this music is not ironic. I'm tired of rock 'n' roll having to be ironic, because it seems to say that, 'Oh, we don't take this seriously'," Asher says, digging into the argument. "I'm fucking scared...we're 24 or 25, and—right now--this is it in our lives."

Nathan Asher and The Infantry host their record release party at Martin Street Music Hall Friday, Sept. 17. The show starts around midnight.
- The Independent Weekly, by Grayson Currin


"Nathan Asher & the Infantry Live is the Best Show You Will See All Year"

Nathan Asher and the Infantry live is probably the best show you'll see all year. Their new album, Sex Without Love, is probably the best album you'll buy all year....

Nathan Asher and the Infantry, out of Raleigh, NC will be coming to a town near you. Do yourself a favor and go see them. You work hard, you deserve it.

Nathan Asher might just be the next great american songwriter. Backed by his fantastic 6 peice band that adds elements of pop, blues, folk, and rock, the 23 year old singer/songwriter has so much confidence in his words on stage that he could sell bubble-gum to man with tetnus.

He writes such captivating, thoughtful, and beautiful lyrics. He is the first lyrical inheritor to Springsteen and Dylan::

From "Sex Without Love" (title track off the new album)

...And the telephone takes the truth from your voice,
Your friends draw their swords,
Scream "freedom of choice,"
And spin into the breach,
Travel or die,
The planes that we ride,
Drag the sun through the sky,
So the sun never sets,
The timezones just change.
You travel all night,
You don't make up one day....

(The mp3 of this song is available here at alternativeaddiction.com)
Remember when you first heard Bob Dylan, or Springsteen? The feelings you felt when the lyrics made you think? Put you in a zone that you could stay in for hours? Made you cry when you're driving home, alone in a rainstorm?

Lyrics from "Storms"

...What happend to the face in my wallet?
When I went traveling why didn't it follow?
Now the cheeks are hollow,
I turn on the pillow,
The maid looks at me,
As she opens the window,
Says, "Senior. The end is near."........

Check em out: www.myspace.com/nathanasher or www.nathanasher.com

I don't know if this is a review for the album, but I guess it is now. 10/10 - Weirdears Magazine


"Hear This Band"

With a fist to the face courtesy of a longtime bandmate, Nathan Asher knew Phantom FM was through. But, following the band-breaking fisticuffs, Asher still had plenty of songs and ideas, and he knew better than to waste them.

What he needed was the same as most any other unestablished songwriter: a band to follow him somewhere into a basement, rehearse for a few days and then record a five or six track demo.

Asher had been impressed with the pounding of Nova Cancy's Daniel Abbate
when they had shared a bill earlier in the summer, so he recruited Abbate and his bandmate Chris Serino to man the session's rhythm section. FM's Lawson Bennett would return to the fold on keys, along with Jay Cartwright III from Chapel Hill's Eyes to Space on organ.

"I had all of these songs I needed to record, so I found these guys and told them I'd pay them to play," remembers Asher. "We got together and went through a few songs, and it was a really, really great feeling playing with these guys in a room. Pretty soon, I didn't have to pay them anymore."

Serino soon moved to his customary position behind the electric guitar, opening a spot for Abbate's older brother, Nick, on the bass. The sextet--a hybrid of two upstart, trans-interstate 40 rock bands and a second ivory man--exploded, somehow reworking and conquering some 15 Asher sitting-in-the-basement-with-an-acoustic musings in just over a month. And the product--Nathan Asher & The Infantry--is better than the work any of the players have done in their previous bands.

Asher is a first-rate social satirist, commenting on life, politics and entertainment in a vintage Michael Stipe plea that somehow manages to strike a balance between being necessarily nervous and irritatingly paranoid. "MC Big Money looks funny as he's accepting his Grammy / Stammering thanks to God and family for a song called 'Drugs and Pussy,'" he sings in the band's first finished cut, "The Last Election," a smart, organ-washed affair that calls Americans to thought and international malcontents to self-respect with the help of Turner Brandon's riotous harmonica work.

Abbate's drumming roars in the mix, turning Asher's analytical refrains into intensely perfect hooks and giving his work teeth just at the points where the words of similar writers backed by lesser bands begins to fizzle. The keyboard/organ work plays out much like Jay Bennett's ideas for Wilco's Summer Teeth, dancing with countermelodies and a few perfectly placed notes as organ sustains bolster the soaring, cracked vocals of Asher--more a Darkness on the Edge of Town Springsteen than a Jeff Tweedy.

These guys know they have something special. Asher plans to have an EP finished and packaged before the band's big debut at The Lincoln Theatre on January 2, and he hopes to record a few more numbers with The Infantry in the next four weeks as part of developing a proper LP by February.

These guys need Steve Lillywhite's phone number. Judging from "The Last Election" and a set of six more impressive demos, this band and the right producer (Lillywhite or Mitch Easter) could make one of the best first-take, power-pop albums you will ever hear.
- Independent Weekly, by Grayson Currin


"Asher and the Infantry Bring Their Brand of Rock to Marrz"

Nathan Asher and the Infantry, one of the more politically oriented and talented bands to come out of Raleigh recently, will be opening for Pico Vs. Island Trees at Marrz on Saturday the 16th. NA and the Infantry offer a more intelligent and original spin for those looking to move beyond the under 18 crowd that tends to frequent college-rock shows.

To compare Nathan Asher to Conor Oberst isn't particularly fair to either of them. While their vocal styles may be similar, Oberst tends to focus more on, oh, himself, while Asher is all about awareness. Formed in Raleigh, Asher handpicked every musician in the Infantry and the unified sound of six musicians with the same messages is impossible to ignore.

"We're a big band, there are six of us; drums, piano, organ, bass, two guitars, and a harmonica player. When we started, we would usually play two, two and a half-hour sets. We'd make it a real kind of event, bring the audience from a certain point, give them highs and lows without using cheap gimmicks or stupid cover songs. That was our goal," said Asher in a recent interview.

Asher's sound (as well as his lack of fear at entering the always-dangerous realm of the political) has drawn comparisons to a certain classic folk-rock musician. It's no coincidence either.

"What we tried to do was create songs that were edgy and lyrically centered. (We) wanted to catch the spirit of early Bob Dylan and The Band, but modernize it and make it new, like the lyrical content and the technique, using elements of hip-hop and instrumental guitars," said Asher.

In the tradition of Dylan, Nathan Asher and the Infantry use their music to bravely forge a path paved with free speech and a commitment to seeking truth. Their video for "The Last Election" (off of their self-titled album) was a shockingly forthright commentary on November's election, as well as the state of the world as a whole. To see the video and learn more about Nathan Asher and the Infantry, check out www.nathanasher.com.

After one listen it is undeniable; the elements that blend together to create such wonderful music make Nathan Asher the one you want to be standing next to in the picket line... then take home with you later that night. For those interested in experiencing what it means to be passionate about music, check out Asher and his Infantry at Marrz Saturday night. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are only $6 for those lucky attendees over 21, $9 for the under 21 crowd.
- The Seahawk, by Linnie Sarah Helpern


"Asher Ever After"

A couple of months ago, pedestrians and commuters alike may have noticed a new addition to the Hillsborough St. storefront windows--an enormous addition--300 square feet of black and white billboard, with the words "Nathan Asher and the Infantry" emblazoned alongside huge pictures of all seven of the local rock band's members.

On the billboard, an intense dark-eyed young man looked out onto the busy street facing NC State campus, until about a month ago. That man, Nathan Asher, is the 24-year-old lead singer and songwriter for the band. By day, he is a freelance writer, specializing in text books and nonfiction. He is a former English major and graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill. But at night, in the local clubs where he often performs, his voice turns heads.

"He's a shameless self promoter. You can tell that he really believes in the music that he's making," said Willy Wilcox, the guitarist from another local band, The Know.

"Onstage, he's very compelling; he seems to have been born with a show business personality. Offstage, he is absolutely hilarious. I want to have his babies," joked Wally Neil, the bassist from The Know.

In the single year that his band has been together, Asher has gained an ever-growing legion of supporters and fans. His music is timely and deals with issues such as the media, the current U.S. political machine, terrorism, and dating--often all in the same song. It is heavy stuff when compared to music heard on corporate-run radio stations.

"Our music stands out as political because many song writers are limited in what they can cover. Next to mainstream radio, sure it must seem really political," Asher explained.

Asher, a tireless performer has gained the attention of the public, the press and local political organizations, including NC NARAL-Pro Choice and the NC State College Democrats. Still, with the attention of so many, Asher and his band paid for the billboards themselves and put them up as promotion for the release of their first album, aptly-titled The Last Election.

After about a month-long run, the billboards came down from the storefront windows, and thus began a new era for Asher. His first album has since appeared in local record stores, and the actual "last election," referred to in the album's namesake song, has taken place.

Like many, Asher is displeased with the results of the election. From listening to the subject matter of his lyrics, and from his Martin Street Music Hall benefit show for the NCSU College Democrats, that aimed to "Get out the Vote," one could easily guess that he would be upset by Bush's re-election. He greatly blames the media for the results of the election, and for a lot of problems that Americans face today. Asher feels that the media did not present the public with enough solid facts to allow them to be educated in their decisions.

"The media is set up like a gladiator game and there are never enough facts. It's never like, 'here's an hour on Kerry's healthcare plan.' Recognize that it's theatre, said Asher.

One may wonder where he is heading with his music after the greatly divided election. Will he still have a cause to rally for?

"I'm just going to keep writing about what strikes me," he answered.

Later on, in the back of the public access channel building, there is a small, sterile television studio with a litter of multi-colored cords snaking across the floor. The camera operators stand in readied, focused positions, shooting the first act for the Tuesday night program, NC Hardcore Live.

Asher is there, waiting his turn. He dons a worn burgundy toboggan, a dark brown leather jacket over a t-shirt and corduroy pants. He stands with his back straight and his acoustic Larivee guitar propped up against his right shoe. His characteristic slight smile (or is it smirk?) breaks into a charming grin as a taller, curly-haired young man enters the studio.

"Lawson's Ruining the party," Asher hollers.

This night, Asher and Lawson Bennett are the only two members from the band here. They confer in whispers and snickers before they go on air and perform a song. Bennett is the keyboardist and self-proclaimed "General" for the band, and also Asher's long-time friend, music partner and also former roommate.

It is not an unusual Tuesday night for the pair. They have been working together on various endeavors for years. They've played music together since their days at Enloe high school. They also worked together in college, when Asher ran for Student Body President at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"I had a progressive energy reform platform," and "Lawson was the campaign manager," said Asher. It was a daring campaign, especially in a time where it's popular for student government candidates to promise to do things like lower tuition or throw big parties. Although Asher lost that one race, he and Bennett have never really stopped campaigning. It is something they do well together.

After tuning, the performance begins. Asher is seated, his guitar resting on his knees, as he stares out, confronting the camera head-on. "The Last Election" starts in its characteristic folk-rock fashion, but with a slightly sparser sound.

"Well, I guess that this means that we have to choose now. There went the millennium and the world hasn't ended. But I wouldn't start wiping the sweat off your brow; there are still enough weapons to kill all seven billion of us." Asher sings as he looks ahead with a deadpan stare and taps his left foot in time.

Although he is only playing one song tonight, it is not uncharacteristic of him to give it his all. The music accelerates and the performance increases in intensity until the song reaches climax. With his medium frame rocking in time to the music and a furrowed brow, Asher adapts the song lyrics to suit the situation.

"I'm a great believer in the freedom of the press, and it's been a huge success judging by the way we dress. Everything we buy gives someone else a voice. Those shoes were a choice, this TV show was a choice," Asher scorns.

The song ends with a bang--whistles, hoots and hollers from the small audience in the studio, comprised of the two other acts for the night, the television crew and a handful of lookers-on.

A short interview followed the performance. Most of the answers are ad-libbed by Asher, in his usual unusual style. Like a comedian or actor, he is known to often take on various personas. Sometimes it happens on-stage, other times, it happens during interviews. In this interview, Asher says that he moved to Raleigh from "Guernica, New Mexico."

"Gue-Gue-Gue-Guernica," he leads the pronunciation with a twinkle in his eye.

"I decided to write a political song for the ladies, so they wouldn't be afraid to come near me, despite the odor," he joked. That is definitely false.

"I'm about as left as it comes," Asher said, when asked about his political leanings by the Hardcore Live interviewer. That is definitely true.

Later on in the evening, Asher is seated outside at a local restaurant with Bennett and I. It is a chilly night and the three of us share a pitcher of beer, and a heap of French fries. The conversation doesn't include much political discussion, but Asher has many stories to tell. I look at him, trying to best discern between what is true in what he says and what is entertaining fable. The fables, invented by Asher, seem to be just as telling.

"I want to create a unified persona," Asher says, with the subtlest irony.

Still, a few key facts stand out from the many stories. Before the forming of the Infantry, Asher played in Phantom FM, along with Lawson Bennett. Asher is Jewish, and recently went on a pilgrimage to Israel; and, he has been greatly influenced by one of the biggest names in rock music, Bob Dylan--also Jewish.

Like Dylan, Asher often looks outside of himself at the world when he is writing lyrics, but maintains a delicate balance of subject matter with his own narrative and anecdotal voice, which literally, buzzes and hums. He has a very Dylan-like endearing rattle.

"The first time I heard Dylan was like getting electroshock therapy," he attests. Each major show of Asher's always includes a powerful rendition of the Dylan song, "Like a Rolling Stone," and the influence is tangible. Other Asher influences include the likes of musician Bruce Springsteen and the writers Charles Bukowski and Ursula K. LeGuin, among many others.

When asked if he still has any ambitions in politics, he answers "I'd rather be a rabbi than a politician. To be a politician, you have to be tamper-proof." Perhaps he says this thinking and reflecting on his own fallibility. Or, perhaps he feels most connected to his role as satirist: entertainer, comedian, artist and critic. In order for him to provide the best commentary on the structure of power around him, he can not be a part of the controlling faction, but only powerful against it.
- Americana, online magazine, by Amber Reavis


"Nathan Asher & the Infantry Show Review"

Nathan Asher & The Infantry formed in February of 2004 and became an exceptionally popular band in the Triangle. The News and Observer recognized them as the best emerging band of the year in North Carolina. The Infantry fills premier nightclubs such as Local 506, The Library, Cat’s Cradle, Lincoln Theatre, and Martin Street Music Hall in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. They also headlined at Wolfstock, a student festival at North Carolina State University.

The Infantry began its conquest of new regions by performing in downtown Wilmington at Marrz on Saturday, April 16. The concert opened with drivingly intense drumming by Dan Abbate, accompanied then by guitarists Nathan and Chris Serino, with Dan’s brother, Nick Abbate, playing bass. Pianist Lawson Bennett and Turner Brandon on organ thereupon keyed a synchronized melody to fuse acoustic rock with a blend of traditional rock, hip-hop, and ultra-modern.

Because the six gifted studio musicians mesh so many forms of music, it cannot be categorized or defined, but it’s unmistakably fresh and innovative. They merge searing, anthemic rock-n-roll with contemporary musical styles. Steven Heller, three-time Grammy award-winning producer, said, “The Infantry drives with power. They play like a single, inseparable instrument.”

Nathan conceives and composes thought-provoking lyrics. Heller observed, “Nathan is a powerful songwriter and astute social commentator. He sees with an unflinching eye.” Nathan said he attempts to produce an “accurate, non-sentimental” point of view. “I’m not trying to promote any viewpoints or positions. I’m just describing life as I see it. Let the listener draw from it as they see fit.”

Captivated by the music’s riveting energy, the audience was propelled to a high-spirited pulse. It’s difficult for a listener to decide which is best – the lyrics or superb music, whose style varies throughout the songs. But there’s no need to decide, because regardless which you choose, The Infantry will capture you.

You can experience Nathan Asher & The Infantry’s musical dynamism on their self-titled album. It contains songs such as The Flag Is Waving You, The Great Divide, and They Won’t Find Me. Nathan’s piercing lyrics examine the soul of our society, should one exist. Find out more about these symphonic soldiers and purchase their album on the web site www.nathanasher.com
- People's Civic Record, by Christopher Scanlan


Discography

Four song EP, "The Last Election," released in August 2004.

Self-titled album, "Nathan Asher & the Infantry," released in October 2004. "Turn Up the Faders" was selected for National Public Radio's Open Mic podcast and recently won the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest.

"Sex Without Love," sophomore album, released September 23, 2005.

New album to be release in 2008.

Songs off the album recieve a great deal of airplay on college radio stations nationwide. The band was also selected for National Public Radio's Open Mic podcast.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Artist Information

Instrumentation
Nathan Asher; Vocals, Guitar
Turner Brandon; Organ, Harmonica, Synth
Chris Serino; Guitar
Nick Abbate; Bass
Dan Abbate; Drums
Lawson Taylor; Piano, Synth

Recent awards and recognition:

- Winner - John Lennon International Songwriting Contest. (10,000 + entries)
- Winner - Great American Song Contest.
- Finalist in the 2005 International Songwriting Competition, surpassing over 15,000 entries from 80 countries.
- Awarded Best Rock Band and nominated for Best Rock Album, and Best Rock Song in the Independent Weekly's Annual Indy Music Awards.
- Airplay on 20+ independent radio stations including National Public Radio's Nationwide Podcast, and BBC's Your-o-vision.

Biography

The Infantry is a six piece indie rock band that combines the songwriting and topical content of artists like Dylan and The Clash with the beat driven instrumentation of modern hip hop and dance rock. Asher's lyrics punch through the music, and tell stories with plots, characters and topical themes. The six young men from Raleigh, NC have created a sound that is both traditionally influenced and with a distinct new sound.

The songs are driven by interwoven synthesizer, piano, guitar and harmonica lines. A fiercely ragged but controlled stage show has emerged from these six long time friends and who push the envelope to create meaningful music that is greater than the sum of its parts. The rhythm section is pounded forward by two brothers who have performed together their entire lives. Asher, an award winning poet, songwriter, and playwright, has an innate gift for writing and performing.

The Infantry proves a band can hold crowds that are equal parts Indie rock arthouse snobs and classic rock fans captive for two and a half hour marathon sets without resorting to cover songs.

The band's latest album, Sex Without Love, was released in September 2005 to an audience of 320 local fans. To date, it has sold over 3,000 copies. The album, recorded live during a 3-day time period to analog tape, captures the band's raw, live sound, stripped down to its roots to better focus on the band's synthesis of sound and Asher's lyrics about the mechanization of society and the human heart.

LIVE

Nathan Asher & the Infantry began setting attendance records when headlining Raleigh, NC venues like the Lincoln Theatre and Martin Street Music Hall prior to the release of their first self-titled album in October 2004. Since that release, the Infantry has headlined sold out shows around their home state, and opened for national acts including Cake, Better than Ezra, The Walkmen, The Finals, The Hero Patter, and more. They recently performed at NAMM in Los Angeles and have tour the east coast and into the south and Midwest. In April, they will be touring with Val Emmich (Epic Records).

THE REVIEWS

"My generation can now proudly add Nathan Asher & The Infantry as our contribution to the encyclopedia of musical genius." AltSounds.com

"The Infantrys latest effort, Sex Without Love, has all the makings of an indie/underground hit with the accessibility for mainstream success. No matter your taste in music, a great song is a great song is a great song, and Sex Without Love has more than a couple of them. (4.95/5) -- Kingsofar.com

"Sex Without Love is one of the most impressive albums to come out from the independent league of acts for a long time." -- NeuFutur.com

"Nathan Asher might just be the next great American songwriter. He is the first lyrical inheritor to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. NAI live is the best show you will see all year" -- Weirdearsmag.com

"The Infantry, six-piece and explosive, sounds like a legendary hammer, bearing down with volume." -- Independent Weekly

"Whatever else can be said about the state of rock 'n' roll nowadays, it's definitely running low on grandiose, over-the-top, larger-than-life, take-over-the-world ambition. Which is why it's so cool to have Nathan Asher & the Infantry in our midst, a group that does not think small. Front and center is Asher himself, a singer unafraid to reveal the deepest depths of himself in the most intense display of vocalizing emotion this side of American Music Club's Mark Eitzel. - David Menconi, Music Critic, News & Observer of Raleigh, NC

Producer Rob Farris (CountDown Quartet, Kenny Roby) recorded the album. Farris commented about the new album, "The fact that they recorded these complex, well-developed songs live, faithfully executing such intricate arrangements, speaks volumes to their skill. This record is firm evidence of how they've gelled as a band since their first album. The songs are thought-provoking, fun, and full of imagery. Sex Without Love is wholly representative of the powerful live performance this band delivers at every show they play."

"Buy it because it has the grit of The Walkmen, the intelligence of Bright Eyes, and the America of Bruce Springsteen, (4.5/5)-- Ant