Coming from Chicago, Illinois, NATURE’S NEIGHBOR features members respected in small sections of the DIY music scene, with fans in people and bands like Ratboys, Sen Morimoto & NNAMDÏ. The band has worked closely with many prominent Chicago musicians and have played shows alongside Spencer Radcliffe, You Folk & Pinegrove and have been around since 2011. This year, on May 15th, NATURE’S NEIGHBOR are releasing their new album O t h e r s i d e, and today we’re pleased to give you a proper teaser in the form of their new eclectic standalone single ‘Tall Order’!
‘Tall Order’ is a medley of all the music from our upcoming album Otherside. It is actually not included on the album, but rather meant to be a stand alone single. It is filled with more than ten separate references, lyrical and melodic, to the 12 track album that is due to come out this May.
Comments the band: “We have never before attempted to make a song that sums up an entire album in the ten plus years that we have writing music and we are very proud of the way it turned out.”
“The track includes all 6 musicians that are featured on the album, but is the only track where we are all playing together on the same song.” – they continue.
‘𝑇𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑂𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟’ 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑙𝑦 𝑝𝑢𝑙𝑙𝑠 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑝𝑠, 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑖𝑐 𝑏𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑠, 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑑𝑟𝑢𝑚𝑠, 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑝𝑖𝑎𝑛𝑜 𝑐ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑠, 𝑎𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑜𝑔𝑢𝑒 𝑠𝑦𝑛𝑡ℎ𝑠, 𝑎𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐 𝑔𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑟, 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑐 𝑔𝑢𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑟, 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑗𝑎𝑚𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑒𝑡𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠.
“Tall Order” features three different vocalists, all taking center stage at different moments throughout the song. It is a very special song in the Nature’s Neighbor canon and we’re stoked to give you its first listen, which coincides with today’s Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, marking a season of renewal, reflection and joy.
Story Behind the Single ‘Tall Order’, by Terrill Mast:
The story of ‘Tall Order’ and its long-form companion, ‘Otherside’, begins sometime in April 2020. I hit up my buddy Mike Walker and offered to write a single for Nature’s Neighbor. Mike at the time was in a refractory period following the 2020 release of ‘Windy City Airport’ and took some convincing, but we eventually produced ‘The Otherside of Town’ in our respective quarantine spaces. We had intended for it to be merely a single, but the project quickly became a three-song EP. Then a five-song EP. Then seven. Finally we settled on a solid album with 12 songs featuring our friends from around the country.
Four months later we had completed production for the album and began the mastering stage with Nate Amos. I was experiencing my usual separation anxiety when wrapping up any project. Mike and I had so much fun making this album and I didn’t want it to be over just yet, plus we had gotten sidetracked from the original goal of producing only a single! So I sat down at my keyboard and jammed along with a very basic 808 beat that could serve as a seamless transition between ‘Monday Morning Drive’ and ‘Pocket Lullaby’. I played around with several chord progressions until finally settling on a seven-minute take which became the skeleton of ‘Tall Order’. The name was inspired by something our drummer, Seth Engel, had said to me earlier that year when he was mastering one of my solo albums. I showed Mike the demo and he thought it was cool but stipulated that we had to focus on finishing one thing before starting another and, of course, he was right about that.
As we continued putting the finishing touches on the album I would escape into ‘Tall Order’ to keep adding layers until it became a medley of almost every song and style on the album. Then we took it a step further and decided it would be cool to get every artist featured on the album back for the single. It took months to figure out who went where and what each section needed, and even in the final days of it’s mastering I was still changing things around. Now, almost a year later, we both feel like it’s finally time to close the book on the ‘Otherside’ saga and let other people hear it for a change. The irony of it all is that we’re starting at the end of our journey with this single release but, after all, that’s what we set out to do in the first place.
Story of the Nature’s Neighbor (the band) Past, Present & Future:
Nature’s Neighbor was formed in 2010 by myself, Daniel Lee (You Folk) and Mike Nardone while we completed our studies at Columbia College Chicago and were all living in Lincoln Park under the same roof. In the fall of that year we began writing and recording songs at home for our debut album, ‘You Me And The People’, which took about 13 months to produce before its release in November of 2011. By that time we had all moved out of the Lincoln Park house and were living in separate parts of Illinois. This, combined with the ability to use the internet as a meeting ground for our ideas and contributions, made us rethink the notion of Nature’s Neighbor being more of a collective rather than a standard band with fixed members.
Since our debut we have released at least one album every year with a rotating lineup of musicians, the only constantly recurring members being myself, Terrill Mast (Murphy Mast), and Seth Engel (Options). Each collection of songs has a different sound and feel due to its unique cast of characters, and we’ve placed great importance in our open door policy as the years have gone by. For example, although I am the primary vocalist there have been many others who have contributed their own lyrics and melodies, such as my wife, Cheer Zhao, who sings occasionally in both English and Mandarin. For our 12th release, ‘Otherside’, we introduced Benni Perkins (Benni Blue) into the mix as our bassist and featured vocalist. Inclusivity, evolution, and change are the core tenets of this group. We want Nature’s Neighbor to be a vehicle for any of our musician friends to tell their own stories. It constantly keeps things new and interesting, and prevents us from making the same album twice.
TOP TEN Albums That Shaped Nature’ Naighbor:
1. OK Computer: When I was in high school, this album changed the way I thought about and heard music. It might be my favorite album of all time. To me, it is a flawless record and I will always cherish it. – Mike
2. It’s Album Time by Todd Terje: This album makes me want to drive a car really fast until I turn into a cartoon. Perfect instrumental energy, super clean production style, and just overall one of the most fun and enjoyable albums I’ve ever heard. – Terrill
3. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: Before the pandemic I used to spend a lot of time in China. Whenever I would feel a little tinge of homesickness, I would put on my headphones and listen to this album from start to finish. To me, the sound of YHF is quintessentially Chicago. I would put it on real loud, close my eyes and I’d be able to assassin down the avenues of downtown Chicago in my mind. – Mike
4. With Teeth by Nine Inch Nails: Angsty, gritty, and yet vulnerable, this album was my introduction to Trent Reznor’s vast body of work, and got me writing a lot of terrible poetry in my teen years. – Terrill
5. Looking In: Spencer Radcliffe‘s debut album is my favorite album to come out during the 2010s. There is just nothing like it at all. Spencer really created his own crazy world with Looking In and it really strikes a deep chord in me. – Mike
6. Demon Days by Gorillaz: Another seamless work of music that illustrates the very idiosyncratic emotions from hopeless melancholy to planet-crushing triumph. This album got me through a lot. – Terrill
7. Clean & Clear: Jowall is an indie musician from South Korea who makes albums that serve as portals to other worlds. His album ‘Clean & Clear’ is the perfect mix between shoegaze, acoustic, post-rock & avant garde electronic music. It sounds like aliens made this record after listening to My Bloody Valentine on acid. – Mike
8. Jaws Original Soundtrack by John Williams: This album scared me so much that it made me realize how powerful music is, and I wanted that power. I was maybe 7 years old when I first heard it, and it shaped my love for film scores and narrative driven music. – Terrill
9. For Long Tomorrow: Toe are one of those bands that are such proficient instrumentalists that they sound like they are communicating directly from their souls through their instruments. ‘For Long Tomorrow’ is by far their most emotional release and I have many precious memories that I associate with this album. Every note of it has been burned into my heart. – Mike
10. Abbey Road by The Beatles: From top to bottom an incredible album with recurring themes, seamless transitions, a wide range of emotion. Top tier songwriting. – Terrill