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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 →

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Watch The National cover The Grateful Dead on Colbert for their upcoming Day Of The Dead tribute compilation

The National | Photo by John Vettese
The National | Photo by John Vettese

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 →

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Listen to The War On Drugs covering “Touch Of Grey,” Courtney Barnett covering “New Speedway Boogie” and more from The National’s Grateful Dead tribute comp

the war on drugs
The War on Drugs | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

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 →

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The National complete all-star Grateful Dead tribute with Courtney Barnett, Wilco and more

Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com
Courtney Barnett | Photo By Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

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.

Continue reading →

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WXPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Return To The Moon” by El VY

El Vy | Photo via https://www.facebook.com/ELVYclub
El Vy | Photo via https://www.facebook.com/ELVYclub

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 →

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Eaux Claires Day 1: Mud, Sweat and Tears

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

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 →