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 →
Indie rockers The National will be releasing their Grateful Dead tribute compilation Day Of The Dead on May 20th, and last night they stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform their cover of the Dead’s “Morning Dew.”
The band first released their cover back in March as a “first taste sampler” from the album along with The War On Drugs’ take on “Touch Of Grey,” Courtney Barnett’s cover of “New Speedway Boogie,” and more. Singer Matt Berninger takes his vocals down an octave from Jerry’s tenor to his own signature baritone, but musically, the song remains pretty faithful to the original. Continue reading →
Confession: I’ve never considered myself a “Deadhead.” Every once in a while when I was growing up, my dad would play “Friend of the Devil” or “Brokedown Palace” (pretty much just American Beauty). I’ve always enjoyed their music, but I’ve really only scratched the surface when it comes to their immense catalogue of live recordings, Dick’s Picks, and journeys into psychedelia.
But when it comes to songwriting and capturing the American experience, The Grateful Dead really were one of the greatest bands of the past 50 years. The National knows this, and apparently 58 other hugely successful bands and musicians do as well. That’s why the Dessner’s (Bryce & Aaron of The National) have assembled the outrageously massive Day Of The Dead tribute compilation, which features everyone from Bruce Hornsby to Wilco, Philly’s The War on Drugs to Bob Weir himself covering classic Dead tunes from their earliest stages up until present day. Continue reading →
After several years of working on a benefit compilation of Grateful Dead covers, The National have announced the track list and contributors of their Day of the Dead box-set. The 59-song album is the second all-star project members of The National have put together for AIDS organization Red Hot, following up 2009’s Dark Was the Night.
Matt Berninger, the lead singer and songwriter from The National and Brent Knopf from Portland’s Menomena and Ramona Falls have combined musical forces as El VY (pronounced El-Vye). Their debut, Return to the Moon, is out October 30th with a tour that makes a stop at Union Transfer in Philly on November 10th. Continue reading →
The journey to Eau Claire (pronounced “Oh Clare”), Wisconsin for the inaugural Eaux Claires (EXC) indiefolk mammoth of a festival started like a freak folk dream that never really stopped. From the time we pulled into the two hour wait line outside the muddy camping grounds Thursday night – during which antsy campers skipped up and down the aisles of cars and coolly flaunted their half-shaven haircuts on cig breaks – the party kept rolling with no signs of slowing down.
Lines of hipster drones sweated outside the gates from 10 a.m. Friday morning until they could break through to music mecca curated by the one and only Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver. (Our staff photog Jeremy cleverly nicknamed the festival #BonnarooIver.) Make no mistake about it; everything on these grounds felt handpicked by JV from the focus on Midwestern artists – every artist on the bill had a personal connection to Vernon, even those of non-Midwestern descent – to the oddly terrifying family zone – more on that tomorrow. Continue reading →
Strand of Oaks frontman Tim Showalter just released a powerful cover of The National’s “Pink Rabbits,” a song from the Brooklyn epic rock band’s 2013 album Trouble Will Find Me. The Oaks version is immediately original from the get-go, drawn out in layered synths and 80’s-style backbeats and centered around Showalter’s raw vocals. Noted by Stereogum for its powerful nature, Showalter alludes to the song’s personal relevance in his life. Continue reading →
This year’s Made in America festival kicked off yesterday with an exhilarating lineup of performers along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The day spanned 11 hours and a spectrum of genres, from the discofied openers in Cherub to the hardcore punk / metal of Glassjaw; EDM hitmaker Baauer to funky fresh hiphop vet Big Daddy Kane; sweet soul grooves from Mayer Hawthorne to an explosive set from The National. And of course, the man of the hour was Kanye West, whose closing 90-minute performance was at peak energy throughout. Continue reading →
More recently, Berninger paired up with Andrew Bird to sing “A Lyke Wake Dirge” for AMC’s Revolutionary War drama Turn. In a manner befitting a Puritan dirge about the travel of a soul to purgatory, Bird layers on his signature heavy strings. The vocals starts off with Berninger’s low voice, joined later by Bird’s, and then accompanied by a choir. The song is driven by a percussive acoustic guitar. The overall combination is unsettling, which suits the subject matter perfectly. The song is the second song that Berninger did for Turn. Earlier this year, he released “Hush“, the theme song featuring Joy Williams.
Catch the National August 30th as a part of Made in America. Get more information at the XPN Concert Calender. Listen to “A Lyke Wake Dirge” below.