screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Band Profile: The National

The National (from their myspace)

The National (from their myspace)

Well, I was going to drive into Boston to see if I could scalp a ticket to see The National at the sold out House of Blues, but 1) I’m still getting over a cold, 2) if I was in the mood for anything, it would be something “low-key”, which the newly opened HOB on Lansdowne Street clearly isn’t (yes, I’m still smarting a bit over the loss of Avalon and Axis, and haven’t been there yet), and 3) Leonard Cohen is in town next weekend, and I absolutely don’t want to be sick for that! So, to assuage my guilt, I’m going to do a mini-band profile for them.

I’ve only just began listening to these guys and have the middle two of their four albums – Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003) and Alligator (2005). Which are both wonderful. Their debut, The National came out in 2001, and their most recent, Boxer, in 2007.

Brooklyn-based, they’ve been around since 1999. Gorgeous baritone vocals (and lyrics) from Matt Berninger and two sets of brothers – Aaron and Bryce Dessner (guitar, bass, and piano – and Bryce on guitar) and Scott and Bryan Devendorf (Scott on bass and guitar; Bryan on drums). Padma Newsome, (from the Clogs) contributes strings, keyboards, and other arrangements. Grand, sweeping, lush, dramatic, literary and lyrical. I promise to revisit when I’ve had a chance to listen to everything.

They’re currently on tour around the U.S. (including the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago on July 18 and All Points West in NYC on July 31. From there, it’s off to Europe for various festivals and shows there. They’re also recording a new album, for tentative release late this year or early next year.

Sixeyes interview with Matt Berninger, from March 23, 2009

Dallas Observer, September 13, 2007


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  1. I have their first and most recent albums. I like them when I’m in that kind of mood, but overall, they’re a little tame for my taste. But talented, definitely.
    Hope you feel better real soon, girl 🙂

  2. Alligator + Boxer best 2 albums of the decade!!

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