Posts Tagged ‘the national’


Upcoming: Dark Was the Night

January 7, 2009


So looking forward to this. Bryce and Aaron Dessner, of The National, curated a 2-CD release called Dark Was the Night. It’s being released by the “Red Hot” organization, who’ve put out about a dozen or so albums to benefit AIDS research and related causes. The lineup looks amazing – as well as an unreleased National track, it includes a collaboration between Feist and Ben Gibbard, Spoon, the New Pornographers, the Kronos Quartet, and more. The release date is set for February 17th on Beggar’s Banquet.

MP3: Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues – Miss Otis Regrets [from Red, Hot and Blue]


The National and Obama ’08

September 5, 2008

Further evidence of Barack Obama’s good musical taste (or at least his campaign’s) – an instrumental version of The National‘s “Fake Empire” provides the soundtrack for the Obama ’08 campaign’s latest ad. And, conversely, The National is sellingMr November” shirts to benefit the campaign.

[thanks for the heads-up, Brad!]


Upcoming: The National DVD, A Skin, A Night

April 18, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t see it, click here]

Indie-rock auteur Vincent Moon worked with The National to make a one-hour documentary about the creative process behind their brilliant 2007 release, Boxer. Judging by the trailer above, it’s shot in a gorgeously moody style that complements that of the album. The official site also has short vignettes for each track on Boxer. The release is set for May 20, and will include an EP, The Virginia, of demos, covers, live versions and B-sides. Needless to say, I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. 

official site
preorder on Amazon
full details and tracklisting at Brooklyn Vegan

Previously: Coverage: The National, “Mansion on the Hill”; 2007 in review: The National


Coverage: The National, “Mansion on the Hill”

April 12, 2008

My friend Scott, who is an aficionado of cover songs, was kind enough to make me a mix CD, including a set of amusing and insightful annotations. I prevailed upon him to be a de facto z=z guest blogger and he graciously agreed; I’ll be posting some of the songs, together with his notes, over the next few weeks.

Here’s what he says about The National’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Mansion on the Hill”:

Further proof that indie rock stars can occasionally be just as pretentious and minutia-obsessed as some of their fans. God forbid you’d cover a Bruce Springsteen song that somebody had heard of, or even a lesser-known track from one of his hit albums. No, “Mansion on the Hill” is a track that never charted from one of Springsteen’s least-popular albums, Nebraska. If it didn’t sound so good, I’d ask for my money back.

MP3: The National – Mansion on the Hill

Image: The National by Flickr user faithdesired, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.


2007 in review: The National

January 19, 2008

The National – how I love thee. Their album Alligator, released at the end of 2005, may be the first CD that I’ve destroyed through overplaying (it hasn’t left my car for two years, and is now skipping uncontrollably), and they almost single-handedly elicited a trip to Chicago, where they played the 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival. Their 2007 followup, Boxer, with its gorgeously moody B&W photograph on the cover, matching the gorgeously moody music within, turned out to be worthy indeed, also going into permanent rotation and landing on a many a bestof2007 list. But where The National really shone were in their live shows, which somehow manage to be compelling without being theatrical. I also love the way that the magnetic lead singer, Matt Berninger, can gracefully stand aside to let the musicians have the spotlight. I ended up seeing them four times, in three cities (and two countries!) in 2007, including two nights in a row at the Middle East, Cambridge, and they just keep getting better.

website myspace emusic amazon

MP3: The National – Fake Empire