Music

Listen to Nathan K. Gritty New Tune "Top Heavy" From New EP (premiere)

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Nashville songwriter Nathan K. releases gritty little tune about literally falling on his face from his forthcoming Bridges EP.

The internal duel between nostalgia and acceptance has long been a muse of Nathan Klages, known professionally as Nathan K. His knack for soul-searing lyrical directness and evocative melodies hits a new high in "Top Heavy", the latest tune from the Nashville-by-way-of-Michigan songwriter.

"Top Heavy" lives up to its namesake, having a heavier bent than much of Nathan K.'s oeuvre. It retains his signature lush, enveloping instrumentation and mid-tempo percussion, but has a grit reminiscent of Rust Never Sleeps-era Crazy Horse. A foreboding halo surrounds as it throbs with urgency, a simmering discontent building with its lurching rhythm until it reaches a sudden end. Eschewing typical structure, the song lacks demarcated verses, with Klages reciting lyrics in a stream-of-consciousness style, his wistful vocals drifting above the roiling music. The attenuated length of just more than two minutes services its first-person narrative of a relationship's sudden, curt severance and the resulting bafflement. "You just handed me a single tissue / And that was the last I ever seen or heard from you," Klages sings as his final verbal statement before giving way to exorcistic guitar.

Speaking with PopMatters, Klages elaborated on the song of experience. After a night of heavy drinking during a stop on 2012's Warped Tour, Klages spent the following evening recovering and abstaining from booze.

"I spent my time at the after party hanging out with a girl who wasn't supposed to drink on that tour and we just chatted and had a nice time," he said. "She asked if I could walk her to her bus and was being a little flirtatious and asked if I could give her a piggyback ride, which I said yes to and was pretty confident about due to my sobriety. The whole time, she kept saying, 'Am I too heavy?'"

Eventually, the woman slipped, and Klages overcorrected, causing him to fall and land on his face.

"My entire face and hands were covered in blood, and it was gushing," he said. "Turns out later that I had broken my nose and it's still messed up from this because I didn't see a doctor."

Confusingly to Klages, the woman avoided looking at or speaking with him for the rest of the walk to her bus. On arriving at the destination, the woman handed him a lone Kleenex then disappeared into the bus. Initially annoyed with the woman's reticence, Klages later learned she had suffered a broken front tooth in the tumble and quit the tour that night.

"I still haven't talked to her since," Klages said.

"Top Heavy" is the lead single from Bridges, the Midwestern troubadour's fifth studio release since 2010. The four-song EP is to be released 20 April, with preorders available on Nathan K.'s Bandcamp page.

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