The National

The National

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About The National

As Brooklyn established itself as indie rock’s focal point with the start of a new century, The National emerged there as moody underdogs transplanted from Cincinnati, Ohio. Featuring two sets of brothers and an instantly distinctive singer in Matt Berninger, the band leaned into the country-tinged melancholy of Tindersticks and Silver Jews on 2001’s self-titled debut. But they didn’t break through properly until their fourth album, 2007’s Boxer, from which Barack Obama used the song “Fake Empire” in his election campaign. By then the band were applying the sweeping and surging aspects of classical music to their Pixies-esque rock impulses, complete with grand flourishes of strings, horns, and piano. With a heightened atmosphere stoked by multi-instrumentalists Bryce and Aaron Dessner and drummer Bryan Devendorf, whose quietly unconventional work oftens pops and sparks like firecrackers, Berninger holds forth with a tender, confiding baritone that radiates bruised romance. Meanwhile, his lyrics unfold like emotional puzzles: mysterious on the surface but rich with hidden meaning. After two decades together, The National stretched out anew on 2019’s I Am Easy to Find, recruiting a wide cast of guest vocalists. And Aaron Dessner became Taylor Swift’s close collaborator on her two surprise albums in 2020—which culminated in the whole band appearing on “coney island.”

Brooklyn, NY, United States
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