"It can get stressful and tiring but it never really feels like a job. I've had a lot of different jobs and this isn't like any of them. It's more like a safari. Sometimes it's a cool adventure and other times you're just lost and afraid of dying." - Matt Berninger, on the success of The National in a 2009 interview with Sixeyes
The National are a Brooklyn-based indie rock band with roots in Cincinnati, Ohio. They formed in 1999, after making the move from Cincinnati to Brooklyn. The band is led by Matt Berninger, who has a very deep and distinctive baritone vocal style, and two pairs of brothers; the Dessner's (Aaron and Bryce) and the Devendorf's (Scott and Bryan). In the studio, the band is often accompanied by Padma Newsome of The Clogs, who contributes string and keyboard arrangements. The National's influences range from Bruce Springsteen to Joy Division, although they sound like neither one or any other band for that matter.
They've had a number of releases since 2001, but perhaps the most critical to their success are 2005's Alligator and 2007's Boxer. Both albums rank among the best albums of the decade, according to numerous publications like Paste Magazine, Pitchfork Media, Stereogum, NME and Aquarium Drunkard, as well as my own music blog, BrokenMic. The launching pad of their career began in 2001, when they released their debut, self-titled album on Brassland Records (created by Aaron and Bryce Dessner). Just a few years later, they made the move to Beggars Banquet Records, due to complications that arose from running their own label.
They've been a part of a number of other projects, like Dark Was the Night, a compilation benefiting the Red Hot Organization, and Cincinnati's MusicNOW Festival, which was created by the Dessner twins in 2006. Dark Was the Night was brought to life with a concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall in May of 2009, that featured performances and collaborations from David Byrne of the Talking Heads, Dirty Projectors, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, among many others. The event raised over $650,000 to fight AIDS.
As for the MusicNOW Festival, the annual event has featured performances from Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, Grizzly Bear and the Dirty Projectors, among many others. This year's festival features rare solo sets from Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes and Colin Stetson of Arcade Fire, as well as Joanna Newsom, St. Vincent and yMusic. The National have also contributed cover songs to a number of compilations like 20 Years of Merge Records, where they collaborated with St. Vincent on Crooked Fingers "Sleep All Summer", and Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy, where they covered Polaris's "Ashamed of the Story I Told."
They're not shy about their political and social support either. During Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, they designed a t-shirt with Obama's image along with the words "Mr. November", a reference to one of their songs, with all proceeds benefiting his campaign for presidency. Their songs "Mr. November" and "Fake Empire" were often used at high-profile events during Obama's campaign, as well as the Democratic National Convention. In October of 2008, The National returned home to Cincinnati to play a free benefit/Obama rally on Fountain Square along with The Breeders, who hail from Dayton, just outside of Cincinnati. The event also transported registered voters throughout the day to locations with early voting polls.
The next album from The National will be released on May 11 of this year, entitled High Violet. While some of the earliest versions of these songs were played on tour over the past couple of years, they performed the album's first single, "Terrible Love", on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon just last week.
The National are returning to Bonnaroo in 2010, for their second performance at the festival. In 2007 they played at 10 pm Thursday night in That Tent. Look for them this year to get either a day slot on the Which Stage or an early evening closing spot in one of the tents.
Post by BrokenLight on Mar 21, 2010 8:31:14 GMT -5
the dessner's actually started musicnow and have played in the past with their other projects. i didn't think musicnow would sell out, so i didn't get tickets in time for the solo justin vernon set, but i hear they might be releasing more for that show. and the solo set from fleet foxes frontman robin pecknold should be pretty bad ass too.
Will do... I hadn't listened to them as much when I saw them at P4k fest last year, but I liked what I saw... in my state of drunken stupor that night.... as it turns out, bribing bartenders/vendors at festivals with a big tip can get you lots and lots of free booze, at least it did that day... that one was messy...