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Grand Nathaniel

At The Lagoon
(Self-Released)
Release Date: September 25, 2020

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"At the Lagoon"

A musical chameleon, J Burton has been a prominent figure of the Lafayette, LA music scene over the past 25 years. He has fronted some of the area’s most popular indie outfits and has even produced some as well.
Burton might be most known for his work with his folk-rock group Dire Wood. The band was a staple of the local music scene throughout the 2000s, but when the group split, Burton switched from acoustic ballads to upbeat synth-pop with FIGHTs. After FIGHTs, he carried on with synthesizer in hand to form the synth pop trio Talker, and then on to the ensemble, prog-rockers Grand Nathaniel and the Ghosts. Never afraid of change, J is now performing solo as simply Grand Nathaniel.
For all his singing about light and fire, J Burton is most comfortable in darkness. He’s a long-suffering songwriter with a knack for a pessimist’s nostalgia, preferring to cast the amber of the past as faded glory. Burton cribbed his artistic cues from years living in the fallout era of post-R.E.M. Athens, GA, picking through the ashes of the southern American underground to find the scribblings of obscured legends like Pylon and The dB’s. Grand Nathaniel begins in the 1990s and works backwards, traveling from Athens up the East Coast on a reverse musical timeline, taking in the post-hardcore, prog positivity of DIY Washington D.C. and the chipped-tooth chic of the disco punk of New York City.
Grand Nathaniel’s latest record ​At The Lagoon​ is a seemingly simple, pop-leaning record that deals with redemption, love, loss, hero-worship, nostalgia, pain, more loss, and mortality…(the basics). It’s short, but it feels complete despite its brevity. It is a respite in a lot of ways, recorded during an unexpected burst of freedom in March of 2020. It sounds at times like an afternoon in a park, sitting at the lagoon maybe. On ​Lagoon G​rand Nathaniel takes tips from The Blue Nile, David Sylvian, PreFab Sprout and Mark Hollis, crafting songs that feel both new and old, and sings with the voice of an old soul struggling to hold on to innocence. Luckily, s​omehow, this gem of an album is here with us now and is not lost in some 1981​ ​pop-rock private press record bin, collecting dust.


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Photos: Sara Crochet and J Burton


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