We’ve been waiting to jump into coverage of Nate Mendel‘s coming solo album because there wasn’t much to go on. The unknown, however, is now known…and there’s promise.
The first news of Mendel’s project came just one month ago. The bassist subtly announced that he was the driving force behind Lieutenant, a new band with a whole lot of mystery. Word came without giving any detail regarding who else was behind him – not even a hint at what role Mendel would be taking on. However, a small amount of hope came with the release of two free singles titled ‘Belle Epoque’ and ‘Rattled’. The former song was available on Dine Alone Records’ winter sampler and the later was accessible after signing up for the Lieutenant mailing list. It wasn’t long before two California tour dates popped up. That was when things got interesting.
On January 6th and 7th, Nate Mendel took a guitar in hand and sang lead vocals, likely for the first time that the greater public has witnessed. He was be joined by Christian Wargo of Fleet Foxes on bass, Paul Wilson of Snow Patrol on guitar, Jorma Vik of The Bronx on drums, and Toshi Kasai on keys. The new frontman performed a short set of almost-exclusively original material each night – he threw in a Dead Kennedy’s cover before the final song for good measure – and created some buzz for himself.
While the solo footage isn’t completely awe inspiring, the studio releases have been intriguing. Mendel adopts a less raucous sound than that of his other bands and takes it easy for the most part. You can hear all of the up to date releases at the bottom of this post, including more footage from Lieutenant’s shows earlier this month.
And finally, some legitimate news came from the band’s label. In an email blast last week, Dine Alone formally introduced this new group to the public:
Lieutenant is Nate Mendel, known as the bassist for Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate, and The Fire Theft.
After two decades of honing his technique on bass, Mendel is venturing into uncharted territory as the primary songwriter, guitarist and vocalist for his first solo project.
The album was produced and engineered by Toshi Kasai (The Melvins, Helmet), and features drummer Joe Plummer (The Shins, Modest Mouse), guitarist Page Hamilton (Hemlet), Josiah Johnson (Head and the Heart), vocalist Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate) and Foo Fighters bandmate/guitarist Chris Shiflett.
[The band] recently debuted with a string of warm up shows in Southern California. Additional spring dates will be announced soon, including a performance at SXSW in Austin this March.
Not only do we know who is involved and where they’re headed, but we also have a release date. Lieutenant’s debut album If I Kill This Thing We’re Going to Eat for a Week will be released by Dine Alone on March 10th. The nine-song release is already available for a nicely priced iTunes pre-order, but you can also find a crop of tangible packages here.
Before you get ready to buy, make sure to give each song a listen. Don’t expect to hear the New Foo or Sunny Day pt. 2, but don’t expect the worst either:
‘Belle Epoque’ released Dec 10
‘Rattled’ released Dec 12
‘Believe the Squalor’ released Jan 20
‘Some Remove’ live on Jan 7
‘Belle Epoque’ live on Jan 7
01 “Belle Epoque”
02 “The Place You Wanna Go”
03 “Believe The Squalor”
05 “Prepared Remarks”
06 “Some Remove”
07 “Sink Sand”
08 “Artificial Limbs”
09 “Lift The Sheet”