Indie rock four-piece The National Rifle are heading out on a month-long tour of the midwest and southwest, starting and ending in their homebase of Philly. The band plays Ortlieb’s Lounge on Sunday, April 21st and returns home to MilkBoy on May 18th. Tickets and information on these shows can be found at the WXPN Concert Calendar. Below, you can download the title track from TNR’s debut LP Almost Endless, which we profiled earlier this year in the Unlocked series. Read our interview with the band here.
The National Rifle
With their debut full-length Almost Endless released this past week, Philly new-wave / rock outfit The National Rifle were the featured topic for this week’s Unlocked series here on The Key. The new album takes the band’s sound in a new direction with it’s polished overtones, which you can learn more about here and here. Below, stream and download “Street Burn.”Continue reading
All week we’ve spotlighted Philly rock four-piece The National Rifle and their brand new album Almost Endless in Unlocked, The Key’s regular series on new and significant albums from Philadelphia-area musicians. We’ve looked at the band’s growth and the process of self-discovery that went into the new album, and we’ve also seen that they’re still the same goofy, ridiculous crew of players we’ve know for the past half-dozen years. Today, we wrap up the series on a definite note of ridiculousness. Guitarist Hugh Moretta and keyboard Lynna Stancato put together a series of animated GIFs that include scenes from tour, Kickstarter rewards from home, and more. Check them out, and read Stancato’s descriptions, below. Continue reading
Three-fourths of The National Rifle are gathered ’round a table at XPN Studios, scrambling on smart phones to find thank-you videos they made for their Kickstarter backers. In one, drummer Buddy Mazzenga rolls around Scrooge McDuck-style on a pile of donated money. In another, bassist Jeremiah Sweeney dances to Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf.” For as much as their new album Almost Endless – which we’ve explored all week on Unlocked – finds the band in more serious, contemplative territory than we’ve heard from them before, they’re the same goofy group of players we’ve watched for the past six years. After some laughs, we got collectively focused and talked about a few things – the process of self-discovery that went into this album, the transportive power of synthesizer tones and how personality (which they have no shortage of) goes a long way, but solid songs go even further.
The Key: When you perform, your personality does come across in your live show. I like that you’re taking the extra step further with these personalized videos. How did you realize that your fans would respond like that?
Hugh Moretta: It’s because we really try to talk to everybody at shows, we’re not shy about it. We hang out with everybody that comes, so they all kind of know our personalities. It’s almost like inside joke stuff…they get it, they know our sense of humor, we know how they are.
Jeremiah Sweeney: We’re really close with all our fans. We talk to them every day on our Facebook, they even text us.
HM: There’s a few people in Philly, but it’s mostly people on the road. Texas specifically.
Lynna Stancato: Yeah, for some reason, we have this group of fans in Texas. We have a really good draw in Dallas, and in Austin too. And they, after we played there a couple times and there’s a group of people who like clung on to us. And because we’re not shy people, when we’re on the road, too, we’re gonna hang out, you know? Where else are we gonna go? Continue reading
When I described The National Rifle‘s song “Coke Beat” in our album review yesterday, I used the word “glimmering.” Funny how a visual metaphor seemed appropriate for the song, since the music video that we’re premiering today – which I got a first look at late last night – is all about perception, sight and the unseen.
TNR’s keyboardist / vocalist Lynna Stancato explained that the band knew that it didn’t want to release a music video that was “funny” or “cute.” The group as a whole was inspired by found footage productions a la Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure” music video, while singer and songwriter Hugh Moretta’s had his own fascination with macro photography. So the result is a frenetic and trippy montage of frenzied eyeballs, close-ups of cells and molecules, insects, paint being applied to impressionist canvases, edited together by filmmaker Brian Carroll.
“You notice that the video gets more and more colorful towards the end of the video, which is on purpose,” writes Stancato. “Overall I think the concept is seeing things for what the truly are. Although I particularly like how the eyes kind of ‘freak out’ throughout the video because, to me, it represents how we are not always prepared for what we may find out.” Watch our premier of The National Rifle’s “Coke Beat” video below.
Almost Endless is the featured album in this week’s edition of Unlocked; download the spotlighted single “Street Burn” in Monday’s post, read yesterday’s album review and check back later in the week for interviews, video and more.
There are ways to deal with frustration and disappointment through music. You could take the pouty, solitary route – and certainly, singers from Nick Drake to Night Beds have done that with breathtaking results. You can do the aggro-bummer thing – I think of course of the nu-metal nadir of aughties angsty “modern rock.” Or, you could do something that’s less of a drag, something that doesn’t stew in upsetness but channels it into a positive release.
Now, I can’t claim to know what exactly Hugh Moretta and his bandmates in The National Rifle are upset about. They don’t provide us with many specific lyrical clues, either. There a lot of vagueness about not wanting, and not having. But on the new Almost Endless – the band’s full-length debut, and it’s most refined effort to date – the frustration is palpable, as is the joy.
Having garnered a reputation as a hard-touring party band on the night club / house show circuit, TNR’s sound was formerly scraggly and boisterous. But with a few notable exceptions – “Jazz History of the World” from the Vanity Press EP, and it’s self-depricating opening stroke “I’m the same age my mother was when she had me, but I’m not grown up” - it didn’t particularly tug at any emotions, short of “let’s have fun.” This album takes that honest, reflective side of the band and chases it full speed ahead. Continue reading