The National is one of those bands that brings to light a lot of confusion on the technicalities of "new band" status. For me it was personal, because when I first listened to their new record, "Boxer", I was so excited simply to discover a new band that I was actually stoked about and as you may have already noticed from my limited history as a music blogger, that doesn't happen all that often. I honestly wish that it did.
You wouldn't think it from the amount of blog hype they have been getting, but The National have actually been around for almost a decade, forming in 1999. What's more, their previous record, titled "Alligator", was actually very highly acclaimed and won several "album of the year" awards from various music publications. Apparently, I need to be paying a lot more attention. The National, and their obviously not-all-that-new career, make me feel severely out of touch.
(And the award for "Best Not-Actually-New Band" goes to...)
Anyway, everyone out there with access to an internet connection and a place to post up their words seems to be raving about this new record, and with good reason. It's beautiful in its simplicity and yet never does it become uninteresting. The instrumentation is right up my alley, specifically the horns that weave their way through several of the tracks and the piano which is brilliantly provided by Sufjan Stevens (see multiple, earlier posts) on two of the tracks.
There is something that I find to be very bad ass about singers that embrace the deepness of their voice. Somehow, as music evolved, we got to a place where the most impressive way to stretch the abilities of your vocal chords was in the highs and not the lows. I have quite a few ideas on why this is, actually, but that is something that can be saved for a different post. This embracing of the lowness of ones voice is exactly what The National singer, Matt Berninger, does; and it comes off as a fucking sweet nod to a magical land that exists somewhere in between Nick Cave and Ian Curtis pitched down an octave.
Buy Boxer by The National
Download "Fake Empire" by The National