The National ⓒKLRU photo by Scott Newton

The National



The National Season 36 by The Decoder Ring Design Concern

While lead singer Matt Berninger sustains The National with his resonant baritone voice, his bandmates masterfully round out their soul-haunting sound. With their cathartic, raw and reflective new release, High Violet, “The National has graduated from being a critic’s band. Now it belongs to everyone.” (Onion AV Club).

Formed in 1999, the Ohio-raised, Brooklyn-based band consists of vocalist Matt Berninger fronting two pairs of brothers: Aaron (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Scott (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums). Their first full-length releases, including Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers, gained critical attention for “deftly balancing country, classical and cabaret” (Alternative Press).

2005’s Alligator included underground anthem “Mr. November,” and raised their profile as The National grew into an incendiary live band.  2007’s Boxer took the band to new levels and earned them spots on many Top 10 albums of the decade list. PopMatters wrote “This album, like all great albums, somehow transcends all the factors that makes it work, absorbs them in a seamless whole and breaks your heart in the process.”

The National’s newest release, High Violet, reveals even deeper musical and lyrical wonders with each listen. “We started out trying to make a light and happy record, but it just didn’t happen,” said Berninger. “This album is catchier and more fun than our other records, and bleaker in its ideas and themes.”

“Somehow we create our own little world, and it works, even though sometimes it shouldn’t,” said Aaron Dessner (guitar, bass, piano).  “The process can be difficult, but eventually something beautiful and cohesive will emerge. Making something heartfelt is our only concern.”