Posts Tagged ‘Serpentine Prison’

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.