Posts Tagged ‘The National’

The National - Juicy Sonic Magic

The National are celebrating Record Store Day Black Friday (November 29th) with “Juicy Sonic Magic” — a complete recording of their two-night stand at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley last fall. But this isn’t your everyday live album: it was recorded from the audience with two microphones and an analog tape recorder, bootleg-style. And The National are giving it an official release — a limited-edition set of three cassette tapes with a homemade feel.

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The release is a tribute to the early days of concert bootlegging, and to one SoCal superfan in particular: Mike Millard. Starting in 1975, “Mike the Mic” made hundreds of incredible secret recordings of rock’n’roll giants at the peak of their powers, including Led Zeppelin, Bowie, Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and so many more.

The National’s Matt Berninger and archivist Erik Flannigan tell KCRW about Mike Millard and their twist on this Record Store Day project. Also, be sure to check out The National’s documentary on the project below.

Juicy Sonic Magic: The Mike Millard Method, a 10-minute mini-documentary directed by David DuBois. The film tells the story of late, great concert taper Mike “The Mike” Millard and an homage to his work that was undertaken by archivist and producer Erik Flannigan, who attempted to recreate the legendary taper’s methods by using the same vintage cassette deck and microphones Millard employed in the ’70s to record our two Greek Theatre concerts last year. Millard became a legend for his high-quality bootleg recordings of artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and many others made in and around Southern California in the ’70s and ’80’s by sneaking his equipment into concerts hidden in a wheelchair. The film features animation by illustrator Jess Rotter and Eben McCue, plus interviews with Matt Berninger, producer/archivist Erik Flannigan and Mike Millard’s friend Jim Reinstein, who pushed Millard and his wheelchair into dozens of shows. Flannigan explained the idea behind using The Mike Millard Method in the liner notes of the accompanying Black Friday Record Store Day three-cassette box set release (out November 29th via 4AD) entitled ‘The National: Juicy Sonic Magic, Live in Berkeley, September 24th-25th, 2018′, saying: “The most celebrated audience taper of the period, Mike Millard, recorded in and around Southern California beginning in 1974 and continued into the early ’90s. Millard’s legend is built in part on the cunning and subterfuge he used to get his nearly 15-pound cassette deck and microphones into venues like the The Forum, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and The Roxy. For years I have pondered what made Millard’s recordings so good, and eventually I had an idea: What if you recorded a concert today with the same equipment Millard used in 1977? Would it sound like his tapes? Would it tap into his Midas touch? The National was kind enough to let us test the Millard Method for two concerts at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California last September. These live recordings were made with vintage AKG 451E microphones and a restored Nakamichi 550 cassette deck which are identical to those used by Millard circa 1975-81. The idea was to see if we could recreate what Matt Berninger calls the “juicy sonic magic” Millard captured in his 1970s field recordings.

Phoebe Bridgers and Matt Berninger (Photo by Chloe Brewer).

The National’s Matt Berninger and singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers have teamed up for a new track featured in Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns: The Movie, which is out today. The song is called “Walking on a String” and the studio recording arrives October 17th via Dead Oceans.

“Walking on a String” was written for Between Two Ferns by Berninger in collaboration with his wife and National collaborator Carin Besser, as well as musician Mike Brewer. It was recorded with Walter Martin and Matt Barrick of the Walkmen and produced by Bridgers, Tony Berg, and Ethan Gruska.

It’s the first joint song from Berninger and Bridgers.

The National and Erik Flannigan Capture the ‘Juicy Sonic Magic’ of Legendary Taper Mike Millard

The vintage analog recordings taken from a pair of the band’s 2018 sets at the Greek Theatre will be released November 29th. With plenty of time to have digested the band’s May-released I Am Easy to Find—and probably not nearly enough time to digest a socially unacceptable amount of sweet potatoes and turkey substitute The National are gearing up to share their latest recordings in the unconventional format of a live cassette this coming Black Friday. Featuring the band’s September 24th and 25th 2018 sets at LA’s Greek Theatre, Juicy Sonic Magic was recorded by producer/engineer Erik Flannigan, who used The Mike Millard Method, “[replicating] the vintage analog recording equipment the legendary taper used,” per a tweet from the band.

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A David DuBois–directed doc short about “the most famous taper of all time” and his method, which prominently features The National and this particular performance, will arrive at an unspecified date shortly after JSM rouses us from our gravy-induced stupors.

Watch the trailer for the film below, and see the announcement tweet the band posted earlier this morning.

Juicy Sonic Sex Magik, er, Juicy Sonic Magic, is out November 29th for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event.

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The National return with I Am Easy To Find, there’s black vinyl, indies only clear vinyl 2xLP and deluxe 3xLP pressed on 3 different colours.
New black midi 12″ arrives on Rough Trade.
Brand new 12″ from Interpol.  Limited Dinked Edition of the new album from Black Peaches (featuring Rob Smoughton of Hot Chip). This version is pressed on teal vinyl with an exclusive 7″ and a signed print.
Third Man reissue the long out of print second album by The Raconteurs.
Institute return with Readjusting The Locks on bourbon coloured vinyl, via Sacred Bones.
slowthai unleashes his debut album, limited white vinyl pressing.
Two new David Bowie releases, Boys Keep Swinging 7″ picture disc and the nice Clareville Demos 7″ box set.
Excellent new compilation on Anthology, Sad About The Times, full of 70s psych jammers.

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The National –  I Am Easy to Find

I Am Easy To Find is the band’s eighth studio album and the follow-up to 2017’s Grammy®-award winning release Sleep Well Beast. A companion short film with the same name will also be released with music by The National and inspired by the album. The film was directed by Academy Award-nominated director Mike Mills (20th Century Women, Beginners), and starring Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander. Mills, along with the band, is credited as co-producer of the album, which was mostly recorded at Long Pond, Hudson Valley, NY with additional sessions in Paris, Berlin, Cincinnati, Austin, Dublin, Brooklyn and more far flung locations. The album features vocal contributions from Sharon Van Etten, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle and more.

As the album’s opening track, You Had Your Soul With You, unfurls, it’s so far, so National: a digitally manipulated guitar line, skittering drums, Matt Berninger’s familiar baritone, mounting tension. Then around the 2:15 mark, the true nature of I Am Easy To Find announces itself: The racket subsides, strings swell, and the voice of long-time David Bowie bandmate Gail Ann Dorsey booms out—not as background vocals, not as a hook, but to take over the song. Elsewhere it’s Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, or Sharon Van Etten, or Mina Tindle or Kate Stables of This Is the Kit, or varying combinations of them. The Brooklyn Youth Choir, whom Bryce Dessner had worked with before. There are choral arrangements and strings on nearly every track, largely put together by Bryce in Paris—not a negation of the band’s dramatic tendencies, but a redistribution of them.

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Interpol – A Fine Mess

 

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Olden Yolk – Living Theatre

The musical duo of Shane Butler and Caity Shaffer released their debut album as Olden Yolk last year, an alluring concoction of hypnagogic folk and kosmiche rhythms, expanding and refining Butler’s work in his former band Quilt toward a more focused direction. Living Theatre is the follow up to that eponymous debut and more than lives up to its promise.

The songs on Living Theatre were written and recorded during a heavy time of transition and upheaval for the duo, with personal tragedies and a big move from their NYC home to a warmer climate in Los Angeles coloring the album’s inception. Thematically Living Theatre tunes seem to be about how humans react to the ways life is colored by both fate and the consequences of the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. Musically, the duo’s songwriting has gelled into a unified front, relying more on the subtle shifts of melody and rhythm than a barrage of chord changes; Living Theatre’s hooks lap at your feet like a babbling brook, rather than bowl you over like violent waves. The refinement in tunes like Castor and Pollux, Grand Palais and first single Cotton and Cane points to a new frontier for the group; soaring skyward toward the emotionally textural plateaus of trailblazers like The Go-Betweens or Yo La Tengo. There’s a discernible romantic feel to tunes like Violent Days or Distant Episode’s lush arrangements with Shaffer in particular finding her own voice here; poetic, abstract and expressive. Living Theatre showcases a band breaking free from it’s chrysalis, and embracing its next phase of evolution.

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Alex Lahey – The Best Of Club

On her sophomore LP, The Best of Luck Club, 26-year-old Melbourne, Australia native Alex Lahey navigates the pangs of generational ennui with the pint half-full and a spot cleared on the bar stool next to her. Self-doubt, burn out, break-ups, mental health, moving in with her girlfriend, vibrators: The Best of Luck Club showcases the universal language of Lahey’s sharp songwriting, her propensity for taking the minute details of the personal and flipping it public through anthemic pop-punk. Lahey’s 2017 debut I Love You Like a Brother encases Lahey’s knack for writing a killer hook and her acute sense of humor delivered via a slacker-rock package and, in a way, The Best of Luck Club picks up where that record left off. Lahey co-produced the album alongside acclaimed engineer and producer Catherine Marks (Local Natives, Wolf Alice, Manchester Orchestra), and dives headfirst into a broader spectrum of both emotion and sound through polished, arena pop-punk in the vein of Paramore with the introspective sheen of Alvvays or Tegan and Sara. Here, Lahey documents the highest highs and the lowest lows of her life to date. After a whirlwind of global touring in support of breakout debut I Love You Like a Brother, Lahey wrote the bulk of her follow-up in Nashville during 12-hour days of songwriting. There, she found the inspiration for The Best of Luck Club ís concept: the dive bar scene and its genuine energy.”Whether you’ve had the best day of your life or the worst day of your life, you can just sit up at the bar and turn to the person next to you – who has no idea who you are – and have a chat. And the response that you generally get at the end of the conversation is, ‘Best of luck, so The Best of Luck Club is that place.

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Lone Justice – Live At The Palomino 1983

Previously unissued live performance from October 22nd, 1983. Recorded at Los Angeles’ iconic Palomino club. New liners from the band’s Marvin Etzioni and Ryan Hedgecock. Located in North Hollywood, The Palomino hosted Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, and many more classic country acts. Later, George Harrison, Elvis Costello, and Green Day played there. It was even featured in Every Which Way But Loose, Hooper, and even CHiPs. But, in the early ’80s, it was a haven for “cow-punk” acts like Lone Justice. Live At the Palomino, 1983 features 12 tracks from the early Lone Justice line-up consisting of Maria McKee, Ryan Hedgecock, Marvin Etzioni, and Don Willens. Songs from their yet to be issued debut are coupled with classic country covers, and songs which have appeared on various collections throughout the years – but never with this live power from this L.A. landmark. Packaging features photos and new notes from Etzioni and Hedgecock, and is issued with full cooperation from the band. Step back into the time when Lone Justice was the band to see, way out in the dusty valley. A timeless performance from a band that helped define a genre: Lone Justice – Live At The Palomino, 1983. They still are the light.

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The Doors – Stockholm ‘68

The Doors, live at Konserthuset, Stockholm on 20th September 1968 The Doors finally visited Europe in September 1968, playing to rapturous audiences in the UK, Germany, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. Many fans agree that they were at their peak on this tour, despite Jim Morrison’s condition being unpredictable from gig to gig. This release contains the final date of the tour, originally broadcast by Sveriges Radio. It includes rare performances of Mack The Knife, Love Street and You’re Lost Little Girl as well as familiar staples of their set, and is presented here together with background notes and images.

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Ronnie Lane – Just For A Moment: Music 1973-1997

This box includes Ronnie Lane’s 4 solo albums – Anymore For Anymore (and singles), Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance, One For the Road and the cruelly underrated See Me. In addition it features tracks from Ronnie’s Mahoney’s Last Standalbum with Ron Wood and Rough Mix with Pete Townshend. The final disc of the set focuses on Ronnie’s time in the US with live highlights and studio tracks never previously released. The set also featured lots of rare and unreleased material – be prepared to here fantastic cover versions of The Wanderer, Rocket’ 69and The Joint Is Jumpin’as well as unheard Ronnie compositions plus live recordings, tracks for the BBC and highlights from a legendary Rockpalast concert. The set is curated by long time musical associate of Ronnie’s, Slim Chancer musician Charlie Hart. Comprehensive sleevenotes focus on Ronnie the musician, the songwriter, the collaborator and split the post ’73 period into three distinct parts. Writers are Paolo Hewitt, Kris Needs and Kent Benjamin covering Ronnie’s Austin years.

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Traffic – The Studio Albums 1967-74

50 years after Steve Winwood jumped ship from chart toppers The Spencer Davis Group and quit the bright lights in favour of the countryside and jam sessions with Jim Capaldi, Dave Mason and Chris Wood we celebrate Traffic’s influential legacy with this stunning limited edition Island records studio collection. Boasting all 6 studio albums recorded for the label remastered from the original tapes and presented in their original and highly collectible ‘first’ Island pressing form (gatefold sleeves, pink eye labels etc), the set also includes a related and super rare facsimile promo poster for each album.

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David Bowie – Clareville Grove Demos

Following on from Spying Through A Keyhole, in early 1969 at his flat in Clareville Grove, London, David Bowie with John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson continued to demo Space Oddity and other tracks. This live demo tape session is released as a 7″ vinyl singles box set of six home demos, four of which are previously unreleased recordings. As with the Spying Through A Keyhole vinyl singles box set, the design of each single label is presented to reflect the way David sent many of his demos to publishers and record companies, featuring his own handwritten song titles on EMIDISC acetate labels with cover and print photos by David’s then manager Ken Pitt taken in the Clareville Grove flat. The singles themselves are all mono and play at 45 r.p.m. Due to the nature of some of the solo home demos where Bowie accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, the recording quality isn’t always of a usual studio fidelity. This is partly due to David’s enthusiastic strumming hitting the red on a couple of the tracks, along with the limitations of the original recording equipment and tape degradation. However, the historical importance of these songs and the fact that the selections are from an archive of tracks cleared for release by Bowie, overrides this shortcoming.

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David Bowie – Boys Keep Swinging

2019 is the 40th anniversary of Lodger and first comes the latest limited 7″ picture disc from Parlophone, Boys Keep Swinging.

While originally recording the song, Bowie had hoped to capture a garage band feel with the musicians swapping instruments after a deck of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies cards had suggested ‘reverse roles’. So guitarist Carlos Alomar played drums and drummer Dennis Davis played bass.

The version featured on the A side is the 2017 mix by Tony Visconti from Lodger, undertaken for the A New Career In A New Townbox set, as both Tony and Bowie felt they never had the opportunity to give Lodger the mix it deserved in 1979, due to time and studio constraints.

The AA side features I Pray, Ole which was apparently recorded during the Lodger sessions, but remained unreleased until mixed by David and David Richards for inclusion as an extra track on the 1991 reissue of theLodger album. The track has been commercially unavailable since then.

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Working Mens Club – Bad Blood / Suburban Heights

Like a homage to smoke-filled vaults, aging billiard rooms and crumby packets of pork scratchings in the Working Men’s Clubs of days gone by, Todmorden-by-way of-Europe trio Syd, Jake and Giulia are about to fling open the doors of their own millennial social hub with the fresh post-punk of infectious debut single, Bad Blood / Suburban Heights. With the start-stop sound of Talking Heads, Gang of Four and Television,Bad Blood, fuses 70s post- punk with the stomp of Parquet Courts’ positivity and resonates with the start of the weekend...Syd’s half-spoken words jab through Strokes guitar lines with Mark E Smith drawl…it’s the feeling of a Saturday spent scuffing about in thrift stores and hanging out with friends.

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L’Epee – Dreams

This is the debut single release from L’Epee, the band are Emmaunelle Seigner (Ultra Orange and Emmanuelle), Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) and Lionel and Marie Liminana (The Liminanas). Recorded in Cabestany (France) and Berlin at Anton’s Cobra Studio, this three track 12” single comes in deluxe packaging and precedes the full length album released in June this year.

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The National have shared another song and video from their hugely anticipated new album “I Am Easy To Find” due out 17thMay via 4AD Records. The song, “Hairpin Turns,” features Gail Ann Dorsey and Lisa Hannigan, and the video was directed by Mike Mills, who also directed the new album’s accompanying short film. The video splices together performance footage by The National and guest singers Gail Ann Dorsey, Pauline de Lassus (Mina Tindle), and Kate Stables (This Is the Kit) with interpretive dance by Sharon Eyal. “The video is a very simple portrait of the band (and the friends who helped make the song) and the song itself: You see all the instruments that make up the song in isolation, even hear them recorded live on set over the album version, kind of like showing you the tracks that make up the song,” Mills said.

The National have also added an intimate NYC release show happening at iHeartRadio Theater (5/17) the day the album comes out, the whole thing will stream live at iHeartRadio’s YouTube channel on May 17th at 7 PM.

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Upon announcing their eighth studio album “I Am Easy To Find”, due out May 17th via 4AD Records, The National released its opening track, “You Had Your Soul With You” but next up is the album’s closer, “Light Years,” out now.

The Grammy-winning quintet’s new single arrives alongside a video featuring scenes from I Am Easy To Find’s short companion film of the same name, starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), who also appears on the album’s cover art, and written and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mike Mills (20th Century Women).

“Light Years,” is a plaintive reflection on lost love structured around a deft, tumbling piano figure, follows a trend set by “You Had Your Soul With You,” which prominently features vocals from longtime David Bowie collaborator Gail Ann Dorsey, contrasted with those of frontman Matt Berninger the album to which these songs introduce us hinges on this dynamic. Sharon Van Etten, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle, Kate Stables (This Is the Kit) and others also sing across its 16 tracks, their points of view spanning I Am Easy To Find’s prismatic and expansive 68 minutes. This might be one of Matt Berninger’s most poetic odes to love and loss to date: “Oh, the glory of it all was lost on me/’Til I saw how hard it’d be to reach you/And I would always be light years, light years away from you.”

Mills, also credited as a co-producer on the album, had a major hand in its multidimensional direction. Bryce Dessner says of I Am Easy To Find, “It’s a movie about a woman, so shouldn’t there be women’s voices? We’re a band that’s been largely defined by the sound of one person’s voice where suddenly now we’re hearing others.” Berninger says, “Yes, there are a lot of women singing on this, but it wasn’t because, ‘Oh, let’s have more women’s voices.’ It was more, ‘Let’s have more of a fabric of people’s identities.’” He adds, “It would have been better to have had other male singers, but my ego wouldn’t let that happen.”

The National have also revealed that their previously announced, already-sold-out “An Evening with The National” shows in Paris, London, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles in April will also include a screening of their I Am Easy To Find short film, as well as a Q&A session with the band, Mills and others.

The band’s world tour begins in Philadelphia on June 11th, running all the way through a Dec. 5th show in Stuttgart, Germany. Courtney Barnett and Alvvays will open on select dates.

From The National’s new album ‘I Am Easy to Find’ out May 17th

I Am Easy To Find

The first single, album opener “You Had Your Soul With You” features co-lead vocals from Gail Ann Dorsey, former band member and collaborator of David Bowie. As the album’s opening track, ‘You Had Your Soul With You,’ unfurls, it’s so far, so National: a digitally manipulated guitar line, skittering drums, Berninger’s familiar baritone, mounting tension.  Then around the 2:15 mark, the true nature of I Am Easy To Find announces itself: the racket subsides, strings swell, and the voice of long-time David Bowie bandmate Gail Ann Dorsey booms out—not as background vocals, not as a hook, but to take over the song.

The album will also feature a spattering of backing accompaniment from Lisa Hannigan, Sharon Van Etten, Mina Tindle, and Kate Stables of This Is the Kit.

Along with the album’s massive, 68-minute runtime, it will also be accompanied by a 24-minute short film directed by Mike Mills and starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander. Mills, along with the band, is credited as co-producer of the album, which was mostly recorded at Long Pond, Hudson Valley, NY with additional sessions in Paris, Berlin, Cincinnati, Austin, Dublin, Brooklyn and more far flung locations.

Frontman Matt Berninger said of the narrative for their eighth studio album, and the band’s extensive history overall: I’m pretty much just pulling apart the same onion and every album gets a little closer to the center. Sleep Well Beast was a dive into our marriage in some ways, but if that was a three-foot diving board, this one feels like a cliff dive into not just marriage, but identity. I don’t know if we’re any closer to the center of the onion, but I feel like I understand the onion a little better, and I feel better about the onion. I know that I am my dad, my mom, my daughter, my wife, my band, my friends, my grandmother, the guy who cut me off in traffic, the guy who didn’t cut me off in traffic. I am those experiences. I am those influences. This is just an aging bucket. All these records, and all these things, are my afterlife already.

Get carried by a swarm of bees down to the new track “You Had Your Soul With You” and watch the teaser for the “I Am Easy To Find” short film (featuring the studio recording of “Rylan”) below, and keep scrolling for album details

From The National’s new album ‘I Am Easy to Find’ out May 17th.

The National tickets at Victoria Park in London

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The National have marked a year on form one the most controversial inaugurations of the most divisive American Presidents ever with a politically charged new video, for their track ‘Walk It Back’.

Using a host of close-up images of the current President and other figures, the band are raising questions marks over the robotic response we are offering. The video does this with the key focus being people but each image only showing us something untouchable, unattainable and, at heart, alien.

“The video documents the performance and spectacle of governance,” said director Casey Reas. It just his latest visual for the band, having previously directed clips for ‘Day I Die,’ ‘Carin at the Liquor Store,’ and ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness.’

Directed by Casey Reas, the video features clips from various political broadcasts through the years such as Ronald Regan’s State of the Union address, and speeches from Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, Karl Rove.

The video documents the performance and spectacle of governance. It captures the pomp and rituals of Congress and its vainglorious, televised culture. The spoken text at the center of the song has been attributed to Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s advisor, but he has denied the association: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality-judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

The Sleep Well Beast track is a glitchy, dystopian affair and feels cold, inhuman and somewhat isolated in every note. Fitting then that the band have used this single release to mark their line in the sand politically.

Taken from from last year’s ‘Sleep Well Beast’ album,

 

The National has been slowly, sometimes imperceptibly fine-tuning its sound over the course of seven albums. A common jab is that all of the band’s records sound the same (or, worse yet, that they’re boring). Sleep Well Beast, on first listen, won’t change that, but first listens are never where The National’s albums do their strongest work. An hour-long odyssey into the darkness of our times, both political and personal, Sleep Well Beast is quietly, gorgeously insinuating, from the Leonard Cohen-esque “Nobody Else Will Be There” to the electronic thrum that drives the incredible title track. It’s music that, as usual, demands and rewards close attention.

The National’s ‘Sleep Well Beast’ came out on September 8th on 4AD Records, and on Friday (July 14) they took the opportunity to present the album in full live at Guilty Party, a two-day collaborative concert at Basilica Hudson in Hudson, New York.

Watch them perform the live debut of ‘Born To Beg’ along with ‘Guilty Party’.

The National live from their Guilty Party in Hudson, NY

Sleep Well Beast was produced by member Aaron Dessner with co-production by Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger.  The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron Dessner’s Hudson Valley, New York studio, Long Pond, with additional sessions having taken place in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles.