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XPN MusicNotes: Watch The National perform a new song, read George Clinton’s thoughts on retiring from Parliament/Funkadelic

The National | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

It does not appear that The National are preparing to release a new album anytime soon —  they did just put out their four-years-in-the-making Sleep Well Beast in September, after all — but they performed a new song at their Homecoming Festival in Cincinnati over the weekend.  Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The National is coming back to Philly and bringing Cat Power and Phoebe Bridgers along

The National | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Prepare yourselves, because there’s an incredibly good show coming our way this fall. So good that it may take a moment or two to process that it is actually happening. It hasn’t been too, too long since we’ve seen The National in town (those who were lucky enough to score tickets, that is) — the band played to a very sold-out Kimmel Center in December, and performed their new album Sleep Well Beast to an even more sold-out Union Transfer last September for NPR Music’s First Listen Live.

This September, The National is coming back to Philly — not to either of the previously mentioned venues, but to the Mann Center. And if that’s not reason enough to get excited, the opening acts will be Cat Power and Phoebe Bridgers. What?! How does a lineup like this even come together? Maybe it’s best not to ask questions, but just mark our calendars and thank whatever cosmic forces made this happen. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch The National’s new video for “Sleep Well Beast,” hear new music from The Shins’ “flipped” album The Worm’s Heart

The National | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

“It’s a mind-bending technicolor trip that follows the band through a series of different locations with a succession of dark red and moody blue hues” -NME on The National’s new video

The National have just put out a new video for their new tune Sleep Well Beast, the sixth single from their latest album of the same name. Watch it below. Continue reading →

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An Elegant Uproar: The National goes all in at the Kimmel Center

The National | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Seven records and almost two decades in, you can’t even begin to accuse The National of phoning it in. While I initially mistook a lower-intensity set for a band beginning to show its age, an unusually lucid Matt Berninger was just slyly taking his sweet old time to hit a crowded Kimmel Center where it counts — and on a Monday evening, no less. Opening with deep cut “Karen,” from 2006’s Alligator was a surefire way to get the crowd of loyalists interested, but the song lacks the hallmark intensity of the band’s many unintentional anthems. It was only after “Nobody Else Will Be There,” from 2017’s just-released Sleep Well Beast, led into “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness,” that the intensity was ratcheted up a couple of notches. The rest of the evening toed the fine line that the band always has between subtlety and quiet uproar. Continue reading →

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Watch The National’s unpredictable video for “I’ll Still Destroy You”

The National | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Following the release of their acclaimed seventh album Sleep Well Beast, The National are back with a new video to accompany the brooding and rhythmic album track “I’ll Still Destroy You.”

Filmed in Copenhagen, the video takes the art rockers on a journey that matches the quirky unpredictability of the winding, five-minute track. According to 4AD, “It was shot in one hour at Dope & Korruption, a pop-up bar created by Ragnar offering arancini, chocolate truffles, prosecco, classical music and a sailor striptease.  During the video shoot the bar was shut down by Danish security officials and destroyed the day after.” Continue reading →

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Watch The National honor Tom Petty with “Damaged by Love” cover

The National | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

In the two days following his passing, fans and other musicians alike have come together in an outpouring of support and appreciation for Tom Petty‘s impact on music. Among the heartfelt tributes are plenty of Petty covers, and this one from indie rock favorites The National, shared by the band on Instagram, features a quiet and intimate interpretation of “Damaged by Love” performed by frontman Matt Berninger and guitarist Bryce Dessner. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: NPR Music and World Cafe bring The National to Philly, performing entire new album LIVE

The National | photo by Graham Macindoe | courtesy of the artist

Over the last two months, excitement for The National’s new album, Sleep Well Beast, has been building as they’ve released three singles and performed a handful of new songs in Paris during a live-streamed Pitchfork concert. Now, WXPN’s World Cafe and NPR Music have just announced a LIVE First Listen performance, happening three days before the album drops, from right here in Philly on September 5th! Continue reading →

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Watch Sleater-Kinney cover the CCR classic “Fortunate Son” at the Women’s March on Washington

Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney | Photo by Megan Kelly | keganmellyphotography.tumblr.com

At the hub of this weekend’s Women’s March in Washington DC, Planned Parenthood hosted an expansive benefit concert, with Sleater-Kinney sharing the headlining bill with The National.

Sleater-Kinney brought something extra special to their set, with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards (as well as The National’s Matt Berninger and Dirty Projectors‘ Dave Longstreth) joining them onstage to perform the Vietnam-era staple “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Continue reading →