Alright, here goes. Sometimes there are people in our particular music community who just stand head and shoulders above most others. True musicians with innate abilities and quite obviously encyclopedic wells of reference with a grasp on their craft that most can never hope to achieve. Individuals who seem almost too talented, clever, and fully-realized to belong to what “outsiders” would consider a genre built on cutthroat delivery-yet-amateur ability. For me, from the first time I heard “Flash Infatuation,” Nato Coles has been one of these rare gems. While the Modern Machines gave us a glimpse of Nato’s gifts, and Radio Faces showcased even further progression into what he’d become, it wasn’t until Used Kids’ 2009 LP Yeah No that I feel like Nato found his own stream. For four years I’ve spun this record constantly, repeatedly shocked and awed by the Westerberg-by-way-of-Springsteen-via-classic-Motown-yet-somehow-unique songwriting and performance. And fuck, I was truly heartbroken when I learned that I was seeing what was reported to be Used Kids’ last show at Fest 8. I knew, however, that it’d be no time before Nato was back with something new, and if history were any indication, even better. Fast forward to Awesome Fest 5 in San Diego and my first peek at the Blue Diamond Band. Granted, the set was peppered with tracks from Nato’s previous output, but the band was on point and I was thrilled with the potential that jumped and howled and strutted before me. Skip to The Fest 11 in Gainesville and a setlist comprising the band’s new material. Jaws on the floor, mile-wide smiles, and beers being danced happily from their cups: Nato and company tore Nelly’s down and I knew that my man had trumped his already-amazing earlier self. And now, listening to Promises to Deliver, care of that cutie Mike Dumps, I can barely believe my ears. Immediately, I knew that I was hearing something I’d deeply love forever. Flawless performances and a sound reminiscent of one crafted by a young Jimmy Iovine aside, these songs are on an entirely new level. To attempt to justly describe them individually, or as a whole, or even how I personally feel when listening to them would inevitably fall well short. It is quite simply a brilliant, passionate, unbelievable record from a man (and his band) who has reached the staggering potential hinted at in those Modern Machines songs. To me, it could very well be the high point in our little world, in recent memory. It is almost too good. Almost. And at the risk of getting way too corny about it, I honestly want to thank Nato for these songs and so many before them. Dude: wow. I really hope you’re so proud. Because I’m even fucking proud that this came out of something I’ve been a part of for so long. Dang. Dude has delivered.
–Dave William (Dead Broke)