Archive for August, 2011

The band’s bassist spills all about Obama’s re-election, the band’s approach to a new record, and Justin Bieber.

Regarding High Violet‘s success:

What’s taken you more by surprise — the critical acclaim or a gold record?

A little of both, I guess. We never know when we finish records how they’re going to be perceived. We’re really happy with both things — that people have really enjoyed the record, and the critical acclaim for it has been a nice surprise, too.

Click below to read the rest of the interview and for the tour dates



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yesterday, The National hit England’s Reading Festival, and hard.

here’s a video of “England”:

watch highlights and view pictures of The National at Reading’s Official Website

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Bryce Dessner + Bon Iver + St Vincent performing “Roslyn”

and, an oldie from a Dark was the Night benefit gig two years ago where Matt Berninger sings “Big Red Machine” with Justin Vernon:

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As we well know, the boys of The National always have their hands full with various musical projects. Much of the time, these projects deal with classically-inclined orchestra-type albums

via NPR:

Barlande tells the musical story of a father and son: Pedro Soler and Gaspar Claus, who represent two generations separated by four decades. It combines an ancient way of playing flamenco guitar with a non-traditional approach to cello. It’s music that’s at once quiet and intense. It’s an album of acoustic improvisations, released by a label known primarily for electronica — and produced by a man behind both a popular indie-rock band and an acclaimed classical chamber ensemble. It’s remarkable.

The album was produced by Bryce and recorded in The National’s studio. listen to it on NPR’s website

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They write:

8. Bryan Devendorf, drums; Scott Devendorf, bass (The National)

The National’s rhythm section has the ultimate leg-up when it comes to locking perfectly—It’s made up of two brothers. While the two aren’t the most explosive or hard-hitting duo, the Devendorf brothers are master students in the school of dynamics. Every note and beat played is as carefully anticipated, executed and sustained as the one before it. The Devendorf brothers can sound huge and uplifting (“Bloodbuzz Ohio,” “Abel”), reserved (“Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”), and melodramatic (“Fake Empire”) all within a 15-minute span of a set. Without the two, The National’s layered melodies and baritone moans would lose their grandeur, and elegance — and that would be a terrible thing.
Defining moments: “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” “Anyone’s Ghost,” “Abel,” “Squalor Victoria” 



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I think we’ve all watched the spectacular video above of “Mr November” at Lollapalooza last year (“I won’t mess us over!”), but recently, it’s also garnered some attention from the writers at Grantland. Chris Jones writes:

This clip features the National playing their song “Mr. November” at last year’s Lollapalooza. More specifically, it features the greatest moment in YouTube’s short history of live rock’n’roll.

You might think I’m referring to the exchange mentioned in the video’s title, wherein lead singer Matt Berninger walks seemingly along the top of a hedge, like a topiary Jesus, and sings the opening chorus to a little girl. You would be mistaken. That moment, in fact, is pretty anti-rock: Berninger realizes that he’s screaming the word “fuck” in the face of a delicate porcelain doll and changes midstream to “I won’t mess us over,” which is pretty dad of him, but which isn’t quite the same thing.

(“Mr. November” is an awesome song, by the way. It’s more straight-ahead than most of the National’s stuff, both musically and lyrically, but “I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders” is one of the most heartbreaking lines in the recent history of American music, though not quite as heartbreaking as the moment Bruno Mars informs us that he’s not going to answer the phone today, because he’s not feeling particularly productive.)

But then: Berninger drops into the crowd. Our amateur cameraman can see only the top of Berninger’s distant head, so he turns to film the big screen beside the stage. And then the cameraman’s hands begin to shake, as though there’s a tremor riding through. In an instant of perfect timing, micro-geography, and circumstance, he turns back, looking straight into the faces of Berninger and his most proximate fans, who are just then launching into the chorus as it was written, all of them screaming “I won’t fuck us over!” at each other and really seeming to mean it. (Check out the dude in the singlet.)

The 2:29 mark of this video is a spectacular, spontaneous confluence of music and heart, which doesn’t happen nearly often enough anymore. But when it does—

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Earlier this year, The National released “Exile Vilify” for a video game called Portal 2, released by the Valve Corporation. Afterwards, there was a promotional contest in which fans were asked to create a video representing the song, game, or both.  Nearly three hundred people entered videos for consideration. In the end, Valve and The National couldn’t decide which of the following two videos they loved the most, so they awarded both contestants the first place prize.

Watch below:


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