The National (formed 1999) The National are an American indie rock band formed in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2014, their album 'Trouble Will Fine Me' was nominated for a Grammy Award for best alternative album.
Formation: Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf met at the University of Cincinnati, before also meeting Mike Brewer, Casey Reas and Jeff Salem. They formed a band together as the band Nancy, named after Berniger's mother. Despite being together as a band for five years, they only released one album: Ruther 3429.
After that, Berninger, Brewer, Reas and Salem moved to Brooklyn, ending the band. Scott Devendorf's brother, Bryan, had been in a number of bands with Bryce and Aaron Dessner. Berninger, the Devendorfs and the Dessners joined together to form 'The National' in 1999. The National: Career On 30th October, 2001, The National released their self-titled debut album. Their second album was released two years later on 2nd September 2003, entitled 'Sad Song for Dirty Lovers'. The National followed up with the 'Cheery Tree' EP on 20th July 2004.
After gaining success from the two albums and their EP, the members of The National who still had full-time jobs, quit them in order to focus on the band. The band signed with a new record label, Beggars Banquet Records, and got to work on their next album. On 12th April, 2005, they released 'Alligator' which went on to receive rave reviews from critics.
The band were then asked to take part in various concerts and festivals due to their successful third album. 'Boxer', the fourth studio album from The National, was released on 22nd May, 2007. On 20th May 2008, The National simultaneously released 'The Virginia' EP along with a documentary about themselves entitled 'A Skin, A Night'. Aaron and Bryce Dessner then worked on 'Dark Was the Night', a compilation album by various artists made to raise funds to fight AIDS and HIV.
The National released their fifth studio album, 'High Violet', on 10th May 2010. 'Trouble Will Find Me' was released on 17th May 2013 to tremendous critical acclaim and a nomination for Best Alternative Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
The American indie musicians have launched a new streaming platform named after their PEOPLE festival.
American indie musicians Justin Vernon and brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner have teamed up to launch a brand new streaming service named PEOPLE, an offshoot of the pair’s established PEOPLE festival.
The USP behind the idea is that PEOPLE will be an open streaming service for artists to post one-off ideas, ranging from demos and song sketches to collaborations.
The beta version of the streaming platform was launched on June 6th and is available now, containing music from The National, Bon Iver (Justin Vernon’s band), Phoebe Bridgers, Lisa Hannigan and a new four-track EP from Vernon and Aaron Dessner’s Big Red Machine project. The full version of the platform is being launched in August.
The National’s seventh studio album Sleep Well Beast is the epitome of a grown-up Rock album. It wraps up the struggles of middle-age and confusion of the modern world in a surprisingly cohesive, if occasionally melancholy, set of songs. The album’s title references Resignation Syndrome, a psychological state of withdrawal in some children caught up in drawn out immigration or migration situations. It’s a sign that there’s a subtle political undercurrent here, one that’s certainly a reaction to Donald Trump’s first year in office. Crucially it delivers all the introspection and euphoric catharsis you’d want from a record by The National, which ensures that it doesn’t buckle under the weight of expectation on its shoulders
In the intervening years since 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me members of The National have been involved in many projects. Matt Berninger for example contributed to side project EL VY and Bryce Dessner to the collaborative Planetarium album with Sufjan Stevens. Those experiences bleed seamlessly into Sleep Well Beast as there’s a more diverse and inventive approach to instrumentation than you may expect. Opener ‘Nobody Else Will Be There’ relies heavily on piano and strings to ease you into the record, equally the closing title track is like an electronic lullaby that deconstructs the usual swell of a song by the band. The first hint of guitars comes with ‘Day I Die’ which hurtles out of the gates with a screaming riff and thundering drums. First single ‘The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness’ also features a frenetic Aaron Dessner guitar solo. It’s clear that the album alternates sonically between intricate electronic and string arrangements and more confrontational moments of noisy exuberance.
Continue reading: The National - Sleep Well Beast Album Review
Budweiser Made in America is coming soon, but what's it like to be made in Denver, Colorado?
Budweiser Made in America
We explore the diverse Denver music scene as Budweiser unveil the latest in their series of documentaries ahead of the fast-approaching Budweiser Made in America festival.
When Jay-Z embarked on his Budweiser Made in America project, the ethos he wanted to represent was simple; bringing together bands and artists of all genres to celebrate the rich variation that has become the US musical community. And where better to enjoy this multi-genre theme than Denver, Colorado, home to the likes of everyone from gentle folk rock crooners The Lumineers to industrial Goth collective Velvet Acid Christ?
Iggy Azalea is set to perform at the Los Angeles based part of the Made in America Festival. She is joining the likes of Kayne West, Rita Ora, John Mayer and Kings of Leon who are also performing at the Philadelphia-Los Angeles festival produced by Jay-Z.
Iggy Azalea will be joining the likes of Kanye West, Rita Ora, Kings Of Leon and John Mayer at the Made in America Festival at the end of August. The festival, produced by Jay-Z, will celebrate its third anniversary in Philadelphia and the first time it has also been held in Los Angeles over the last weekend in August.
Iggy Azalea will appear at the Made in America Festival at the end of August.
We hit the Minnesota music scene in the run-up to Jay-Z's new summer festival.
Budweiser Made In America Press Conference at Los Angeles City Hall on April 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California - Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Budweiser
Budweiser Made in America festival is on its way and, to celebrate, the beer brand unveil a series of music documentaries in different States: this week we explore Minnesota!
Being such a huge part of the world, America has always borne a massively diverse music ethos. In almost every part of the country you can come across a different musical culture and it's with this idea in mind that world famous rap star Jay-Z decided to create Budweiser Made in America festival. It's sole purpose is to bring together a choice selection of both up-and-coming and well-established artists spanning all genres including rock, hip hop, R&B, electronic, punk... the list goes on.
Watch the trailer below
‘Mistaken For Strangers’ is a documentary focussing on the brotherly relationship between renowned rock star Matt Berninger and his metal head brother Tom, who – according to the doc – is a bit of a layabout. When Matt offers his brother a job as a roadie on the band’s European tour, he didn’t realise Tom had designs on filming the whole thing.
So hilarity, tears, realisations and revelations soon followed as both Matt and Tom learn about each other on this – cliché warning – journey of discovery. Mistaken for Strangers has already been uttered in the same sentence as Spinal Tap a few times, so you really don’t need to take our work for it.
Brooklyn-based indie rockers The National quickly rose to fame in 2010 with the release of 'High Violet'; their fifth studio album and their first release with 4AD records which shot to number three on the US Billboard 200 chart. Three years later they unveiled 'Trouble Will Find Me' which also peaked at number three and they have been selling out shows all around the world. The band are seen as a band of brothers, with guitarist siblings Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner, and bassist Scott Devendorf and drummer Bryan Devendorf. Singer Matt Berninger's brother has largely been left out of the spotlight - until now. 2010 saw them truly reach live stardom with their major US, UK and Europe tour which was largely sold out, and to make life on the road a little more interesting, Matt invited his metalhead brother Tom along for the ride - equipped, of course, with his trusty video camera.
'Mistaken For Strangers' is the result; a documentary directed by Tom Berninger in his filmmaking debut and full to bursting with interviews full of nonsensical questions, brotherly tension and self-discovery for our documentary-maker whose ambitions were initially doubted by his family. It's an emotional journey that earned Tom a nomination for a Free Spirit Award at the Warsaw International Film Festival. The movie is set to hit UK cinemas on June 27th 2014.
The 'Girls' creator will turn her comic talent to hosting 'Saturday Night Live'
Lena Dunham will host the second episode of the new season of Saturday Night Live, which will be broadcast on the 8th March, according to Deadline. The Girls creator will be making her hosting debut on the comedy entertainment show during the same episode that Brooklyn rockers The National are set to also grace SNL for the first time.
Lena Dunham Will Host 'SNL' On The 8th March.
SNL has parodied Lena Dunham's HBO comedy before, in the memorable skit where Tina Fey plays a new girl from Albania in a send-up of the core characters' entitled lives. Now Lena will in turn make her mark on the show after having called the hilarious SNL parody of Girls "a true honor."
Continue reading: Lena Dunham To Host 'SNL' As The National Make Their Musical Debut
2013's been a year filled with great music but, at times, it has felt like you've had to search it out.
It's been a year of truly brilliant sounds even if there may have been a few disappointments along the way. Take hip hop, for example: unlike 2012's records by Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, there was nothing that really demanded your attention. Yes, Kanye's album 'Yeezus' was technically brilliant, but it's a record I'm still struggling to digest properly. Similarly, Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta, Holy Grail' (which, in my opinion, is as good as West's effort) was less immediate than the likes of 'Blueprint 3', which means it's got somewhat lost in the public consciousness.
Both those records had an interesting release as well, materialising on shelves seemingly from nowhere. They're not the only ones either; My Bloody Valentine's 'mbv' appeared online out of the blue in February after a gestation period of 20 years. Equally, Mazzy Star, Boards of Canada, Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie made unexpected and impressive returns following long hiatuses. There were also some great reissues and live records; Rilo Kiley's 'Rkives' acted as the epitaph the band deserved, Bob Dylan repainted his self-portrait with the 'Bootleg Series' and revealed songs well worth revisiting, Steve Albini finally got to share his vision for Nirvana's 'In Utero', The Velvet Underground's 'White Light, White Heat' finally got the deluxe treatment it deserved following Lou Reed's sudden death and Neil Young presented what could well be his best live album to date with the 'Cellar Door' addition to his archives series.
Continue reading: Jim Pusey's Top 10 Albums Of 2013