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Archive for June, 2011

Dry wit and The National go together perfectly as seen in this (hopefully) mock interview.

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Here are a couple links to two interviews done this year with Matt that take a closer look into the process of making albums, his take on the sadness frequently associated with the band, and why The National chose to create a track for the Paul Giamatti film “Win Win”.

Here’s a sample:

How has your personal definition of success changed from the release of the first album in 2001 to now?

Matt: Back then, it was just getting anybody to notice us at all, which took a long, long time. In the beginning, all we wanted to do was have some people listen to us so we could at least know we made some tiny scratch in the history of rock and roll even if we were forgotten the next day. Our definition now is somehow trying to avoid turning horrible. Our biggest motivation is fear of writing a bad record. I think at some point we’re not going to know and my biggest fear is not being able to recognize whether your own songs are good or not. My definition of success now is to figure out a way to have the band continue, but without it ruining the rest of my life. I think all of us are trying to figure that out. It’s easy for your life to get lopsided and there are plenty of really successful, miserable musicians.

To read the rest of the articles:
http://read.mtvhive.com/2011/04/06/the-national-interview/

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/immaculate-noise/posts/hitfix-interview-the-national-pulls-double-duty-at-sundance

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Two friends called me up within one day to tell me Mumford & Sons had covered The National in their recent VH1 Unplugged set. Since I’m a fan of both bands I figured I shouldn’t let my National bias get in the way and would give it a fair listen. While I think I’m being honest in saying it didn’t live up to my expectations, singer Marcus Mumford does add a certain folksy twang I quite enjoy. It’s worth a listen – even if it’s just to fully realize the importance of Matt Berninger’s baritone on a song. The absence of his voice in this cover changes the meaning of the song for me. The lurking sadness is gone along with a few layers of meaning.

Mumford & Sons filmed April 13 in NYC and the full Unplugged episode has been airing on VH1 throughout June.

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As this is the first post I’m writing for The National News, I have to say one of the greatest things about The National as a band is the caliber of their live performances. While they are known for staying true to a specific set list for awhile, there are always a couple surprises that sneak their way in. A prime example of this is a video just posted from a 2010 show at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. This clip gives just a small sampling of the overall experience of the night (that also included an a capella version of “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”) but it’s the quality of the sound and of course, the rarity of hearing “90-Mile Water Wall”, off their second album Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, live that makes this something special.

 

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I introduce this site with bias and hope. The National are one of my favorite bands and a site like this is one I would read religiously and participate in regularly.

My hope is that this becomes the destination source for news about the Brooklyn-based band, reporting on everything from concert video to news about new tracks and everything in between. I will read this site daily and I think, because of the quality of The National, you should do the same.

Angelica Diamond is an even bigger fan of The National than I, so it’s with great excitement with which I hand the site over.

-Eric Van Dril

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