Nathaniel Sutton
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Nathaniel Sutton


Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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Under normal circumstances, I can't stand compilation records, with the exception of 'Greatest Hits'-type albums from bands with such mammoth-discographies that newcomers don't know where to start with them. I can't stand listening to a good song and not having some knowledge or relation to the album it comes from, which is why I flat out dislike the single format as well. So, not knowing the series "The Emo Diaries", I pretty much expected this new edition to be a way for Deep Elm to sample a parade of Mineral-soundalike's in the name of the 90's revival.

Turns out, as usual, that I should do my homework. "The Emo Diaries" as a series has been released regularly between 1997 and 2007, with Deep Elm picking songs from an open submission pool, and the final selections appearing exclusively on these records. Bands from all corners of both emo, indie, alternative and electro have been exposed this this way, and despite a four year break, this new installment of the series is no difference, as it proves to be rich in both versatility and quality.

Personally I find the most appeal in the female-fronted offerings from Summer Hours and Dedicated To Dedications, "Still With Me" and "Strange Neighborhood", the latter of which opens the record with some great singing and classy arrangements of classical instruments. I'm also surprised to hear how good Nathaniel Sutton sounds on his contribution "Far More", and at the same time not at all surprised to hear Late Night Condition put in an enjoyable tune. Other bands that I haven't yet encountered, like Arms Around The Stereo, Ease The Medic and especially The Dandelion War, also put in strong showings respectively with "It's Good To Have Options", "Churchill's Down" and "Wonder".

Overall though, the artists showcased are quite an eclectic and interesting ensemble, and while I admit my attention drifts a bit during the more post-rock-ish additions from the likes of Goonies Never Say Die, I love the fact each artist has contributed a song exclusively for this compilation, effectively giving you a better feeling of cohesion, which wouldn't have been here I think, had the songs merely been singles picked off various albums. So while I may hate compilations in general, I think I might have to recognize that this is how to do them right, while I start thinking about checking the previous issues. -

On the 12th Emo Diaries compilation — a series once made popular for its unreleased tracks of Jimmy Eat World and the Appleseed Cast — up and coming bands from around the world hope to get their music heard. Tracks span from orchestral heavy heart-sobs, to breathy instrumental rock, to six-minute jam sessions, each capturing the heavy desperation related to the emo genre.

The opening track by Dedication To Dedications spotlights impressive vocals (reminiscent of Florence and The Machine) and decent songwriting, standing as a solid opener . The album fluctuates from there, showing promise in tracks like “As We Speak” and Ease The Medics fiery “Churchill’s Down,” but loses ground somewhere in the middle. Luckily, the brooding voice of Nathaniel Sutton helps close the album on a very positive note, with his track “Far More” possibly being the strongest on the album.

Collectively, the compilation, grimly titled I LoveYou But In The End I Will Destroy You, brings more of the same to emo lovers across the country. But with a few promising acts, there’s glimpses of the potential that made Jimmy Eat World what they are today. It’s worth checking out for those who like to keep tabs on solid newcomers.

- Dan Chapman - Verbicide Magazine

Nathaniel Sutton brilliantly captures the sound and feel of the New Wave/Romantic age. Aurally painting in pastel hues, sepia tints, and melancholic tinges. Melt together a record collection from the era - Iggy's The Idiot, Ultravox, Simple Minds, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode and The Cure. Starlite's really that good. - Wonka Vision Magazine.

Edmonton Canada guitarist, singer-songwriter Nathaniel Sutton releases “Starlite” in September, 29 2009. Released under Oak Apple Records. This is his debut release.   

Logging in at just over 64 minutes the CD kicks things off with “Starlite” a dark, hypnotic groove complete with steady beat, rhythmic guitar, and impressive vocal layering from Sutton. Track 2 “Fragile” delivers yet another melancholy piece with impressive techo-type flow, rich rhythmic guitar layering, and powerful vocals and lyrics. Track 3 “High Holy Day” is yet another thought provoking melody with driving rhythm, impressive vocal harmonies, and industrial-type textures and overtones. The music itself has a vibe that will remind you of Nine Inch Nails with robotic techno grooves, and unique sonic layering. Suttons vocal style sounds strikingly similar to Trent Reznor, or Marilyn Manson, however it's not as genuine and sounds more like NIN sung to us by Napoleon Dynamite  - which is not as bad as it sounds. As you dive head first into "Starlite" you will quickly discover Sutton’s music possesses a lot to depth - both musically and lyrically. The true meaning of some of these songs is  buried deep within the lyrical content. The musical textures and overtones are amazing, and full of variety. Songs like “Creepy Crawlers” “Blow my Mind” possess a lot of amazing keyboard, and Industrial type accents that keep you entertained. Other songs like, “Starlite” and “High Holy Day” and “1933” are well crafted gems. The defining moments for me are the sad but true moments like - “Five Years Later” this is where we see the true brilliance of Sutton’s music shine through – never afraid to shy away from the naked truth. The chorus on “Five Years Later” is simply brilliant.

Overall this release from Nathaniel Sutton has some very impressive moments. Technically speaking it's an industry standard production from start to finish. It's strong suit is the amazing musical depth, rich sonic layering, and Industrial-type beats and sampling. Sutton displays some brilliant creativity not just in some of his songwriting, but with his vocal harmonies, and accents as well. “Starlite” possess a lot a lot of rich musical variety, deep emotional peaks and valleys, and  thought provoking subject matter  It will not only keep you guessing the entire time, but looking over your shoulder as well. I look forward to hearing more music from Nathaniel Sutton soon, as I get the impression his best materialis yet to come. 
- Cyrus Rhodes - Indie Music Digest

If you sneak a peak at your typical hipster shoegazer's iPod playlist you're likely to find offerings from the following artists: Film School, The Cure, Ministry, The Whitest Boy Alive. I'm not suggesting that Canadian artist Nathaniel Sutton spent his teenage nights painting his fingernails black while pining for cheerleaders and reading The Bell Jar but those artists pop up so often on his debut effort Starlite that it wouldn't surprise me if he walked the halls staring fireballs into his black Chucks.

"High Holy Day" and "Night of Graduation" cover the gamut of raw teenage emotions. The former calls out a former friend for their betrayal after the opening chords, which sound similar to The Smithereens' "Blood and Roses", set the tone for the fictional meeting Sutton has set up with the accused. The latter wistfully recalls a girl in a red dress who might actually be a minion of evil. Then again, aren't they all?

There are a couple of surprises on the album. On "Subliminal Messages" Sutton channels the nicotine-soaked sex of the Afghan Whigs with enough success that a cute goth would probably take the bait. "Serious Crime" lets the harmonica take the lead throughout the track, which adds a Neil Young-like quality to it.

Most of the disc is a definite reflection of Sutton's influences. The highlight of the album, "Five Years Later....", pays homage to synth-goth pioneers Human League while "Killer In The House" would fit on Ministry's With Sympathy. If your average listener heard "Blow My Mind" they might wonder when Trent Reznor decided to come out of retirement.

In general, this is a decent effort from a new artist. The production's clean, which isn't always easy for indie-label new artists. Just don't expect any groundbreaking sounds.
- Marc Daley - Associated Content

The first thing i like from this Juan Palomo from Alberta, Canada, is that it's a one-man band. He plays it, composes it and produces everything. Then, through the 15 tracks of his second disc, after his debut 2 years ago, Dramatic Scene, there's no track similar to another one. His lo-fi with lots of electronic and percussion moves among one thousand and one influences. It comes to my mind the most experimental Bob Mould, Chad Vangaalen, Lucky Thirteen's Neil Young, The Faint, Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, The Folk Implosion), the most tripping Grandaddy, Eric Bachman (Archers of loaf, crooked fingers), ed harcourt or cursive. In fact, you can find refferences that either him could imagine, such as these Japan-like rythms in Fragile, this dancing touches Visage-like in 1933 or the syncopath rythm Talking Heads-like in Blow my mind. Metaphors and imagination in the lyrics are another "puntazo" and more accoustic moments like Subliminal messages can surprise too. What a dude!
- Txema Maneru - STAF Magazine

Nathaniel Sutton cannot be pinpointed. His overall vibe is electronic, similar to Chromeo, with a hint of mellow-rock intertwined with lengthy, rural, harmonica pieces. He manages to create catchy songs that you can’t help but repeat over and over in your head, while still maintaining credibility as a fantastic lyricist.
- C. Molly Smith - Campus Circle

From the opening and title track of Nathaniel Sutton's "Starlite," there are hints of new wave and post punk via stiff programmed drums and layered baritone vocals but also included is a refreshing and current perspective. By the second song, it's apparent there are few limitations to these artistic arrangements as tasteful harmonica takes the foreground and is followed by an upbeat dance pulse. "Creepy Crawlers" begins with a Crystal Method-type noisy synth and develops into an industrial vocal oriented pop hook. What you will really like about this record is that it keeps you guessing while never feeling out of place with its own identity; it has broad influences but is cohesively assembled to mesh with modern tastes. Expect catchy melodies and curveball instrumentation that's both experimental and welcoming.
-Max B. -

Nathaniel Sutton may just have written the press release for this album exclusively for me. Talking about how he found inspiration in artists like The Tragically Hip and Foo Fighters… naming my favourite band and Grohl’s always fun rockers is a good start. Worryingly though, I can detect little of either in the music here. Sutton certainly doesn’t rock like the Foos and he lacks the idiosyncratic Canadiana of Gord Downie and company. Thankfully Sutton makes up for it with a versatile approach and a really rather pleasing vocal. It’s not a beautiful voice by any stretch, but much as when listening to Jonathan Richman, Sutton’s vocal is immediately engaging. From the pop of the title track to the Wintersleep-esque ‘Serious Crime’, Sutton leaps through genres and you sometimes wish he would settle down and stay in one place, but at least this bodes well for future releases as there are plenty of avenues here worthy of further exploration.
- Matt Merritt - Subba-Cultcha

Trying to brand Nathaniel Sutton with a Music Genre is certainly a Tricky Task. His album “Dramatic Scene” is full of Fast Beats, Slow Beats, Acoustic Tracks, Rock Tracks, Weird sounds and a very unusual singing voice. Songs on his album don't even sound remotely the same, each song is a skillfully crafted for a unique sound. Nathaniel has an interesting Musical Background and Plays all the Music that you hear throughout the album. He also Writes each song with some impressive ideas. Nathaniel is truly a talented Musician and a Musician that will go very far!
- - Rocklinks

It opens like an epic march of doom. Slowly the beats rise as the notes rise in intensity. A piano hook enters the fray and the track continues to build. There is a sense of foreboding mixed with a sense of adventure and a very definite feel that something is about to happen. All this happens in the first three minutes and fifty one seconds of this album in a track called ‘An Intro’. If it’s this exciting at this point could anybody handle a whole album of this? Only a fool would not attempt to find out.

Bands like M83 and Decoder Ring found a niche for albums that mixed electronica and rock for true rock music that you could dance to, not like the type that Kasabian profess to produce. Nathaniel Sutton has found a new version of this. At times he almost brings Goth into the equation. Not out and out Goth with specialist shoes, dark makeup and a fine line in conversation but that breed of pop Goth that bands like Sisters of Mercy and The Cure adopted for the chart crossover look.
- Andrew Dolton -

This Canadian does it all: vocals, guitar, drums, piano, harmonica, recording, mixing and production. Hell, he may even have drawn the cool comic book hero brandishing a guitar above a cityscape getting attacked by a giant toothy monster featured on the album cover.
- Sean Lambert - Verbicide Magazine

Hailing from Edmonton Alberta, Canada, singer-songwriter Nathaniel Sutton began his musical life back in high school, followed by stints in cover bands, until he discovered his own poetic style and went solo,
three releases ago. This new self-titled 14-song collection, the listener is struck from the get-go by a commanding vocal coming at you instantly, alongside solid acoustic strumming.

The production values on this recording are high, and they just may cause you to float away like
“an old, yet familiar dream”, before you realize there’s a Master of Disguise behind Track 2. You may also feel a slight sense of melancholia from this 27-yr old indie artist. However, there’s also light, and calmness, and air in that Dirty Old Town and for a Nickel or Dime, a kiss. “We can go out in the alley if you insist. I’ve never felt so dirty before, but I’ve never felt so good”

With Francis Levesque on saxophone, Track 7 strikes a chord that makes this song, with its sense of urgency, a definite standout. Previous musical offerings had Mr Sutton presenting himself as a one-man-band, but on this outing Kayla Nickel brings the cello to the forefront Like a Bullet, and the electic guitar of Dan Mabee appears on 3 songs, while he plays banjo on another. Olivia Street helps Bring it On with a dreamy violin, just before the atmospheric moodiness is brought to a luscious close.

For more on Nathaniel Sutton, please go directly to his website...

- Lisa McDonald
Live Music Head
- Live Music Head


Nathaniel Sutton - Dramatic Scene (2007)
Nathaniel Sutton - Starlite (2009)
Rock 4 Life - Vol. 3 (2009)
Ultrapop Overdose - Vol. 2 (2009)
Rise Up - Vol. 4 (2010)



Once upon a time, in far away land, was a man they called Nathaniel Sutton. Born in Edmonton Alberta, Canada on September 27th, 1983, he grew up being a slave for that lovely sound called music.

While in high school, he was offered a guitar class and the lightbulb above his head nearly exploded with ideas. A budding indie star was born. After a few years passed, Nathaniel felt strong enough in the way of the guitar, but wanted a greener musical pasture, so he took it upon himself and created a new challenge, He decided to learn how to play drums. He drove himself over the edge with this new instrument at his fingertips, and started playing in cover bands ("You gotta start somewhere, right?" he exclaimed). Nathaniel knew the 'cover band situation' was not working for him and felt his inner, more eclectic tendencies were gnawing his insides.

Nathaniel went solo and started recording ALL the songs inside his head. Incessantly, he created a vast array of songs as a "1-man-band," and recorded all the instruments and vocals himself, becoming quite the self-contained unit. Noticing the poetic quality in his narratives, his passion was even greater and he knew this was him, inside and out, take it or leave it. He writes songs made up of stories stemming from life and imagination, metaphors jumping out in every verse.

With a style to call his own, though not too far distant relatives to Lou Barlow (Folk Implosion, Sebadoh), Eric Bachman (Crooked Fingers, Archers of Loaf) or even Tim Kasher (Cursive, The Good Life) and Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), Nathaniel is a man with a unique throaty croon and a guitar acting as the paintbrush for his quietly yet brilliant abstract pallette.