Posts Tagged ‘Matt Berninger’

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Matt Berninger of The National released his debut solo album, “Serpentine Prison”, last October via Book, Berninger’s new imprint with Concord. Today he announced a new deluxe edition of the album that includes six extra bonus tracks (four covers and two originals) and shared one of those extra tracks, “Let It Be,” which is an original song and not a Beatles cover. This solemn retrospective track marks a new venture for the rock artist as he explores the development and evolution of a friendship. The deluxe edition of Berninger’s Serpentine Prison will be available on March 12th digitally and March 21th, physically. Featuring six bonus tracks, including “Let It Be” and an unnamed second original track Berninger has included covers of Eddie Floyd’s “Big Bird”, Morphine’s “In Spite Of Me,” Bettye Swan’s “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” and the Velvet Underground’s “European Son”.

The deluxe edition is due out digitally March 12th. 

Previously Berninger shared the album’s title track, “Serpentine Prison,” via a video for it. Then he shared another song from it, “Distant Axis,” via a video for it. Then he shared another song from it, “One More Second,”. Then he shared a remix of “One More Second” by Baltimore four-piece Future Islands. Booker T. Jones produced the album “Serpentine Prison”, with additional production by Sean O’Brien. In addition to the release of Serpentine Prison, 2020 saw Berninger collaborating with a whole host of industry talent, from Taylor Swift on her Evermore track “Coney Island” and Australian singer-songwriter Julia Stone on the St. Vincent– produced “We All Have,” which will feature on her upcoming album Sixty Summers. As well as joining forces with synth-pop outfit Future Islands for a remix of his single “One More Second.”

The album is dedicated to Berninger’s grandmother Elaine and his college professor Gordon Salchow.

The official lyric video for Matt Berninger “Let It Be”. “This is a new song about an old frenemy. Not Paul McCartney or Westerberg.” Taken from the deluxe edition of his 2020 solo debut album, “Serpentine Prison”.

Signed Or Unsigned Clear Deluxe 2xLP + Turntable Mat (Optional)

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Marking her first solo release in nine years, singer Julia Stone will release “Sixty Summers” on April 20th. To stoke excitement for the LP – which was produced by St. Vincent – she’s shared the new single/music video for “We All Have,” featuring Matt Berninger of The National. Reimagined, reborn and reinvigorated, this new era for Julia Stone replaces dirt under foot with wet pavements and sticky dancefloors; trades blue skies for red lights and red lips. Step into Julia Stone’s brand-new world.

“This song is about how everything transforms and moves; even though you feel so shitty at one point, it might shift into something new,” explained the singer-songwriter. “Love is all that we really need to be here for — not love with someone else but love in your heart.”

Added Berninger, “Berninger said, “It’s always really inspiring to hear old friends creating such amazing music. I’ve been a big fan of Julia’s work for a long time, and it was so fun to be invited to be a part of this song!”

Listen to ‘We All Have’ (featuring Matt Berninger):  Julia Stone’s forthcoming album ‘Sixty Summers’, released 16th April:

Musical guest Matt Berninger performs a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man” for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The National’s lead singer has been promoting his debut solo LP Serpentine Prison, an album that has more to do with interpersonal drama than drug addiction. His decision to cover the pioneering art-rock track might seem strange, but based on The Tonight Show set, it’s as simple as Berninger enjoying the hell out of the tune.

His basso profundo voice is a weak fit for Lou Reed’s tenor melody, and Berninger compensates with one of the most energetic late-night performances of his long career. He swings around the mic stand, gyrates his hips, waves his arms back and forth, and dances across the stage. He doesn’t try to capture a strung-out junkie waiting for the plug, and instead gives way to the overwhelming joy of a perfect song. 

Turning left and ignoring his promo duties for his latest LP, “Serpentine Prison”, Berninger lent his hand to this Velvet Underground classic. The trudging piano and guitar, overdriven and encased in reverb, is euphoric.

In October, Berninger brought the Serpentine Prison cut “One More Second” to Colbert.#

Hannah Georgas has released a new version of one of her standout album tracks, ‘Pray It Away’. With her album ‘All That Emotion’ produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, this new cut sees her team up with his bandmate Matt Berninger, who adds some lush vocals and a new depth to the song. “When Aaron and I were recording the album, we were working on ‘Pray It Away’ and he mentioned that it would be really great to have a male counterpart in the song. He said it would sound really nice and Matt’s name came up. I was like, ‘Wow, that’s really cool!’ We didn’t really act on it but when we were working on the record, Aaron asked if I’d be interested in opening some shows for The National and I ended up singing in their band.

“From that, I got to know Matt a little more. Some time after that, we reached out to Matt and asked if he’d be interested in trying to sing on it. He was up for it but then the pandemic hit, so everything was put on pause. He ended up going into the studio when things felt safe to do so and we finally made it happen.” “The song is about feeling dismissed for who you are and feeling like you are not accepted, but I feel like Matt brings this huge comfort to the song. It’s like two people thinking about praying it away but can’t: ‘I can’t pray it away’. He adds this comforting element to something quite difficult; it’s two people singing about the same thing and [uniting] in that. I really loved The National’s music and have such a lot of respect for them.

I hope this song brings comfort to those who have felt they have been dismissed for who they truly are. We’re living in a world that feels divided and it’s so important that we support each other, lift each other up and celebrate our differences.

Pray It Away by Hannah Georgas feat. Matt Berninger Beetle Bomb Music under exclusive license to Arts & Crafts / Brassland.

Matt Berninger’s debut album “Serpentine Prison” will drop October 16th via Book Records, the new imprint of Concord Records. In his two decades spent fronting The National, vocalist and lyricist Matt Berninger has become unphased by early-hour work responsibilities. “The thing is, when you’re in a band and you’re touring, 3 a.m., 4 a.m. lobby calls are a regular thing,” he says. “And that’s after you get back from the show at 1 a.m.—not because you’ve been out partying, but because you couldn’t get back to the hotel until that time.”

With the release, Berninger has dropped a fun new music video for his “One More Second” which features him showing off some dance moves in the awesome video directed by Chris Sgroi.  the promotion of Berninger’s debut solo record Serpentine Prison, an album recorded over a two-week period in late May and early June of last year that was produced by industry legend Booker T. Jones with contributions from just about every musical associate and friend in Berninger’s extensive rolodex. “It’s the most collaborative thing I’ve ever done,” says Berninger.

I didn’t actually have any intention to make a solo album. I started out trying to make a covers album with Booker. I was lucky enough to know Booker from a long time ago, but in the process of just sharing cover ideas with him, I did share a few songs that were sort of these orphan songs that didn’t fit with any other band, and then he was like, “Well do you have any more of these?” When we went into the studio last summer, we went in with twelve originals and seven covers, and I was gonna just pick the best out of whatever happened in these two weeks. And at the end of the two weeks the originals were good enough to stand on their own. So I just picked ten of those that worked well together in a sequence and that’s how it turned into a solo album.

Matt Berninger of The National will share his debut solo record Serpentine Prison this month via Book’s Records. The single “One More Second,” was released last month, which followed the release of the album’s title track and “Distant Axis.” “I wrote ‘One More Second’ with Matt Sheehy with the intention for it to be a kind of answer to Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You,’ or sort of the other side of that conversation,” Berninger says. “I just wanted to write one of those classic, simple, desperate love songs that sound great in your car.”

Berninger has remained no less resolute in a number of creative enterprises. Not only working on material for the follow-up to The National’s 2019 album I Am Easy to Find, Berninger has been working alongside the band’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner—as well as his wife Carin Besser—on a film adaptation of Cyrano, the off-Broadway musical they developed with playwright Erica Schmidt that starred her husband Peter Dinklage (Dinklage will reprise the role for the film).

Serpentine Prison is out now.

matt berninger

The National frontman Matt Berninger has promised his first solo LP for 2020. ‘Serpentine Prison’ it was produced and arranged by Booker T. Jones, with plenty of guest appearances lined up too. “More about it soon,” Berninger told fans on social media in October 2019, “but basically I’m the luckiest man in the universe with lots of brilliant friends who can play instermints [sic].”

For his proper solo debut, the National frontman teamed up with legendary producer and keyboardist Booker T. Jones for a stately set of mid-tempo ballads. Featuring contributions from everyone from Andrew Bird to Mickey Raphael, the album promises to be closer to typically sparse singer-songwriter fare than Berninger’s past solo detours (see his dancey 2015 collaborative record Return to the Moon, recorded with Brent Knopf under the moniker El Vy). On the title track, Berninger has said he dug “back into my own garbage” after focusing on writing from more character-based perspectives on the National’s 2019 album I Am Easy to Find. Expect more middle-aged ennui on this batch of introspective musings, like early highlight “Distant Axis,” a co-write with Walter Martin of the Walkmen that Berninger has described as being about “falling out of touch with someone or something you once thought would be there forever.”

Berninger shared a new track “One More Second” from his upcoming debut solo record Serpentine Prison, out on October. 16 via Book’s Records. The single follows the release of the album’s title track and “Distant Axis.” “I wrote ‘One More Second’ with Matt Sheehy with the intention for it to be a kind of answer to Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You,’ or sort of the other side of that conversation,” Berninger says. “I just wanted to write one of those classic, simple, desperate love songs that sound great in your car.”

Release date: October 16th

It’s not yet known if Berninger’s collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers, ‘Walking on a String’, will appear on the record, but it’s the first full non-National venture from the singer, who previously collaborated with Melomena’s Brent Knopf on 2015’s EL VY album.

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Matt Berninger of The National is releasing his debut solo album, “Serpentine Prison”, on October 2nd via Book, Berninger’s new imprint with Concord. Now he has shared another song from it, “Distant Axis,” via a video for it. Matt’s brother, Tom Berninger, and Chris Sgroi directed the video which features Matt lying on the floor while various objects are dropped towards him (including, randomly, a Predator VHS tape). Matt wrote the song with Walter Martin (formerly of The Walkmen).

“I met Walter Martin fifteen years ago when the The National opened for The Walkmen on a tour of shitty clubs in the American southeast. On that tour, I learned a lot about how to be in a band without ruining your life. I also learned a lot about Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. Walt and I have stayed friends, and about three years ago we started passing ideas back and forth. Distant Axis started from a sketch Walt sent me named Savannah. I think it’s about falling out of touch with someone or something you once thought would be there forever.”

Previously Berninger shared the album’s title track, “Serpentine Prison,” via a video for it. Booker T. Jones produced Serpentine Prison, with additional production by Sean O’Brien. The album features an array of special guest players, including: Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater, Muzz), Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf (The National), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. Jones, Teddy Jones, Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O’Brien, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander), and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers).

Back in February, before the pandemic overtook America, Berninger shared a cover of Mercury Rev’s classic “Holes,” from their 1998 album Deserter’s Songs. The cover is part of the 7-Inches for Planned Parenthood series and was originally shared via a video for the track. In April, for Late Night with Stephen Colbert Berninger performed the cover from home, aided remotely by Steph Altman on piano.

In April Berninger contributed guest vocals to “Quarantine Boogie (Loco),” a hilarious new COVD-19 themed song by Walter Martin.

Last year Berninger teamed up with Phoebe Bridgers for the new song, “Walking On a String,” which they performed in Netflix’s Between Two Ferns: The Movie. Then they shared a studio version of the song via a black & white video featuring them recording it .

The National released a new album, I Am Easy to Find, back in May 2019 via 4AD.

At the beginning of the year, Berninger, along with The National, surprised fans with a cover of INXS’ classic hit, “Never Tear Us Apart.”  Their rendition of the ‘80s hit was for Songs For Australia – a covers compilation, featuring songs mostly by Australian acts, that benefitted country’s rehabilitation efforts, following devastating wildfires.

The official video for Matt Berninger’s “Distant Axis”, from his forthcoming solo album ‘Serpentine Prison.’ Produced by Booker T. Jones, the album will be released via Book Records in conjunction with Concord Records on October 2nd.

The National’s Matt Berninger has shared the title track of his debut solo album, “Serpentine Prison”, along with the single art. The record is out October 2nd via Book Records—a new imprint from Berninger and Booker T. Jones in conjunction with Concord.

The video was directed, shot, and edited by Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi. Berninger announced Serpentine Prison last year, revealing it would be produced by the keys-playing leader of iconic Memphis soul outfit (and longtime Stax house band) Booker T. & the M.G.’s. In recent months, Berninger has teamed with Phoebe Bridgers for “Walking on a String” and “7 O’Clock News/ Silent Night.” He’s also covered Mercury Rev’s “Holes” and Big Thief’s “Not.”

The song Serpentine Prison was written in December 2018 about a week after recording The National’s I Am Easy to Find. For a long time I had been writing songs for movies and musicals and other projects where I needed to get inside someone else’s head and convey another person’s feelings. I liked doing that but I was ready to dig back into my own garbage and this was the first thing that came out.

The title is from a twisting sewer pipe that drains into the ocean near LAX. There’s a cage on the pipe to keep people from climbing out to sea. I worked on the song with Sean O’Brien and Harrison Whitford and recorded it about six months later with Booker T. Jones producing. It feels like an epilogue so I named the record after it and put it last.

 

The album features contributions from a wide array of notable artists, including Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf (The National), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. Jones, Teddy Jones, Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O’Brien, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander) and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers).

The official music video for “Serpentine Prison”, the title track from Matt Berninger’s debut solo record. Produced by Booker T. Jones, the album will be released via Book Records in conjunction with Concord Records on October 2nd.

National Fixed for Real

High Violet is one of those albums that exists as both a showcase of new music and an event. For The National, High Violet represented some sort of promise fulfilled. Just a year after Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, and Dirty Projectors’ Bitte Orca, the National became another indie act made good. Brooklyn was booming, and the band consisting of a wine-guzzling midwestern Leonard Cohen, two brothers plucked from guitar-nerd heaven, and two more brothers using the Grateful Dead and good vibes as the chief inspiration for the rhythm section, somehow became one of the most captivating acts in the nation.

Like seemingly every National record, High Violet begins with an absolute bang. “Terrible Love” is an all-time album opener, and perhaps the best song the National have recorded to date. Singer Matt Berninger begins with his vision blurred and words slurred, acting out the destructive tendencies he describes. His voice moves between self-contained characters at a moment’s notice, at one point almost too zonked to speak and the next completely raspy from pleading for understanding. It’s a performance, a method acting masterclass in character-based songwriting. Early National albums like Boxer and Alligator before it moved from quiet to loud and clean to messy. Here, on “Terrible Love,” the band throws away this rulebook, with the Dessner brothers fuzzing up their guitars from the outset as the Devendorfs use the rhythm section to slowly pull the song toward its thrilling apex.

The next few tracks on the album do more to establish tone and aesthetics than shine through in their own right, as “Sorrow” builds off of trembling acoustic guitars and a cleaner baritone from Berninger. The drums are nearly echoless, bright in tone and simple in composition. “Little Faith” scurries in panic, with sirens for guitars blaring above melodic and stagnant synthesizers. Bryan Devendorf shows off just how impressive of a drummer he is, giving the song its entire pace with just a few scattered ghost notes on his snare drum. Berninger’s desperation is palpable as he sings, “All our lonely kicks are getting harder to find / We’ll play nuns versus priests until somebody cries.” In the narcotized Upper Manhattan world that the National often watch and comment on, any emotion at all will suffice; even if it causes tears.

Afraid of Everyone” is the album’s second single after “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” and while the album’s second-half is a masterpiece in a way the first doesn’t quite reach, these two tracks are an apt thesis on the National’s changed approach for High Violet. Sufjan Stevens lends harmonies to the former, giving an ethereality to a band that’s so often rooted in a cold, broken reality. Berninger goes nearly breathless during the song’s finale, “Your voice has stolen my soul, soul, soul,” he sings, literally losing his voice as he does so ― a masterful showcase of descriptive vocal performance.

“Bloodbuzz” was released about two months before the album came out, and it’s a brilliant dividing point between the album’s two halves. Devendorf’s drums again steal the show, bouncing across the recording like a proton looking for its partner. The horns build with a quiet fury, and Berninger’s voice is more delicate here than on most of the record. The song is an emotional ode to the state that birthed the band, with lyrics from Berninger like, “I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees / I’ll never marry but Ohio don’t remember me.” Even when the images are nostalgic, they’re dipped in pain and regret: “I never thought about love when I thought about home.”

Berninger’s characters tend to always be running from things, and on High Violet his imagination doesn’t stop trying to escape, but perhaps these voices have grown comfortable with the practice. The album is a reconciliation of broken faith and half-hearted regret. There’s no point in letting pain linger if it doesn’t hurt that badly in the first place. The album’s back half begins with “Lemonworld,” an imagistic narrative from Berninger that’s more of a novel in verse than lyrics to a song. It’s spare and precise, with Berninger’s words cutting cleanly: “You and your sister live in a lemonworld / I want to sit in and die.” Among the layers and layers of the National’s elegant and pain-stakingly assembled compositions lie Berninger’s lyrics, which deserve their own listen outside the context of the music. His storytelling is incredibly intoxicating and he’s able to conjure the emotions of the words he sings in a way I’ve never heard before. It’s poetry, plain and simple .“Runaway” is a slow-building triumph, stadium-ready in a way the National began to master throughout High Violet. The album’s closing run is flawless, with “Conversation 16,” “England,” and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” each succeeding in independently ecstatic ways. “Conversation 16” moves with the propulsion of a Hollywood thriller, while “England” is unabashedly anthemic, epically stirring without ever becoming corny. “Vanderlyle” is somber and mournful with hints of optimism, which is perhaps the only way to rightfully end a National album.The creation of the album was rumored to be an intense and volatile process, with the band spending days on certain details that nearly ripped the threads of the group’s foundation apart. It’s dramatic, but it also makes sense considering how thoroughly technical every detail of High Violet is. The band’s ability to stitch together a quilt and hide the seams betrays the work of masters, and it foreshadows a run of records that solidified the National as one of the most thrilling bands we’ve seen in a decade or more. Now, the group is more an entity than a band, with a festival and documentary populating album releases, but High Violet propelled them to this place. It was the last time The National were simply a band, before the world truly came calling. Prior to High Violet, they never had to answer.This edition of High Violet is about as deluxe as it comes; it’s on 3LP, comes with bonus tracks, and is housed in a triple gatefold sleeve. It’s the National album that broke them on the Billboard charts; the one that has arguably their most potent fist-pumper (“Bloodbuzz Ohio”) and it’s also the one that feels most underrated in their catalouge. Revisit 2010’s best indie rock album by getting this reissue, now. The National‘s 2010 album High Violet will be reissued as an expanded 10th anniversary 3LP coloured vinyl package in June.
This includes unreleased tracks ‘You Were a Kindness’ and ‘Wake Up Your Saints’ as well as alternate versions, B-sides, and live recordings. The album proper is across the first two LPs, with the third reserved for the bonus tracks. As can be seen from the image above, this release is being pressed on stunning white/violet coloured vinyl mix. These are numbered and come with a foil-blocked cover and a ‘bellyband’ (presumably the purple strip on the image).
High Violet (10th Anniversary Expanded Edition)

 

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The National’s Matt Berninger has covered Mercury Rev’s “Holes,” which opens their classic 1998 album Deserter’s Songs, at the NYC Tibet House benefit on Wednesday and now he’s shared a gorgeous studio version of the song that is being released as a single as part of the 7 Inches Vinyl for Planned Parenthood series.

Berninger’s version of “Holes,” produced by Booker T. Jones, is the A-side; a spoken word by lawyer and former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, called “A Reproductive Rights Call To Action,” is the B-side. Watch a music video for Berninger’s cover below.

Berninger gave the following statement in a press release:

I found myself wasting a lot of time and energy worrying about all the threats to the world and to my kid’s rights. Finally, I just turned everything off and tried to chill. I started listening to a lot of old favorite records and re-reading books. All my energy and optimism came back and I started recording a lot. So many people I know are having this experience and doing their best work right now. Instead of watching everything being destroyed why not have fun and create things that can fight back. I’ve never been happier. Joy is an act of resistance. IDLES said that.

“Holes” originally written and recorded by Mercury Rev (Jonathan Donahue, Sean Mackowiack, Adam Snyder, and David Fridmann)