Members: Matt Berninger: Lead Vocals| Aaron Dessner: Guitar/Keyboard| Bryce Dessner: Guitar| Bryan Davendorf: Drums| Scott Davendorf: Bass
The National are quite simply put, amazing. They are a five piece, Brooklyn via Cincinnati band that has been around since 1999, releasing their first self titled album in 2001. Since then they have grown to a massive size, playing large venues all over the world. The band is composed of two sets of brothers, the Dessners (Aaron and Bryce) who both play guitar and are responsible for most of the song writing, and the Davendorfs (Bryan and Scott) who play percussion and bass respectively. The odd man out is frontman and lead singer Matt Berninger who is renowned for his deep baritone voice and poetic lyrics which often are dark, brooding, and mysterious. The National have released five albums with a sixth on its way on May 20th. Each subsequent record has shown how the band as a whole has evolved and matured over the years. While criticized by some for being "boring", they prove in their live show that they are anything but, often playing their songs with a new intensity while live. The National are not a band to miss on the farm this year and are personally one of my most anticipated sets of the entire weekend, there's a reason why they are being billed so high at many festivals this summer and are steadily on the rise.
The National (2001)
Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003)
High Violet (2009)
Trouble Will Find Me (May 20th, 2013)
Sound: The National play primarily indie post-punk with influences from such bands as Joy Division and Nick Cave. Their sound is also very complex with many different layers and parts going on simultaneously.
Suggested Listening: As for where to start with The National there really isn't a bad place. Personally, I'd recommend starting with 2005's Alligator and from there moving to Boxer and High Violet. Alligator is my favorite however, The National have one of the most consistent discographies in the modern music scene.
Music / Music Videos
(They'll go here eventually)
Don't Swallow The Cap
One of the first songs off their upcoming album and absolutely beautiful. And if you want, to see me cry, play Let It Be, or Nevermind.
Another song off their upcoming album, with how good these two songs are the album is shaping up quite nicely.
Off their last album, Bloodbuzz Ohio showcases Matt's unique baritone voice and distinct lyrical style.
(same as above)
This is just a rough draft, I'll be changing the bio, adding in videos, and dissecting the discography soon. Sorry about the wait, I've been very busy recently.
I agree that Alligator is a great place to start, but you can't go wrong with any of their albums as a starting point. Their first album is the least like the others though, and has a subtle country sound to it.