Album Review: Nate Allen & The Pac-Away Dots – “Take Out The Trash”

Written by on August 18, 2015

Nate Allen & The Pac-Away Dots is the new rock n’ roll project from singer/songwriter and Portland native Nate Allen. The Dots’ debut album Take Out The Trash is an emergence for Allen both musically and thematically.

Nate Allen’s music career has been a long and prolific one. Having played in punk rock bands in his youth, he began performing solo under the name Destroy Nate Allen. He toured the US over and over as DNA, releasing music constantly. Returning to Portland after a long tour, he wrote what would become Take Out The Trash in 2013. After relocating to Kansas City , Allen launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording and production of the album.

It is easy to see why Allen would release this record under a new name; it is a departure in many ways from the lighthearted folk punk singalong stylings of DNA. Nate Allen & The Pac-Away Dots deliver an album that is eclectic and dramatic, ranging from full band blues rock live sessions (Westside Blues, Open To Everything, More Money Than We Have) to heartfelt melodies over a quiet guitar and distant banjo (Social Equality). Lyrically, Allen says Take Out The Trash is “an honest look at privilege, racism, unemployment and feeling burnt out,” and admits that these themes are “a step in a new direction” for him.

It’s clear that the money raised by Allen’s Kickstarter campaign was put to good use; Take Out The Trash is the best sounding Nate Allen release to date. An array of instruments and tonal qualities are introduced throughout the album, and fun production tricks keep an attentive listener searching for something they didn’t notice the last time through. 

 Nate Allen is one of the hardest working and most original artists in American DIY. With Take Out The Trash, The Pac-Away Dots are inviting us to acknowledge privilege and pain, but also to stay hopeful that we can build a more understanding future.

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Nate Allen & The Pac-Away Dots are gearing up for a national US tour beginning this September, although no dates have been posted yet. Take Out The Trash will be released on vinyl, CD, and digital download September 18th, and preorders are available here.

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