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The National is a band formed out of Brooklyn in 1999, started by friends out of Ohio. The band is noted by Matt Berninger's deep and distinctive baritone voice. Two pairs of brothers, Dessners and Devendorfs, form the rest of the band, as well as occasional instrumental assistance from Clogs musician Padma Newsome.
When the band was formed in 1999 by a group of Ohio friends, it was called The National (although the domain name of the band's website is americanmary.com because, according to an interview with Better Propaganda, "[i]t's a song off our first record. We never thought of changing the (website) name, although we should have." Several of the members continued to work day jobs throughout the early years, being involved in New York's dot-com boom in the late 1990s. Their first self-titled album The National was eventually released in 2001 on Brassland Records, a label founded by band members Aaron and Bryce Dessner, along with their friend Alec Hanley Bemis. Their debut album launched the band's career, as they had performed few live shows before its release. The release was followed two years later by another album, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers. In 2004, they released the Cherry Tree EP which included live favorite "About Today" and "All the Wine" which would also appear on their next record.
Signing to Beggars Banquet and breakoutEdit
In 2005 the band quit their jobs and moved to a new label, Beggars Banquet Records, because the process of running their own label was becoming "too complicated". Their first album on this label, Alligator, was met with much critical acclaim and featured highly in "Album of the Year" charts in the LA Times, Insound, Uncut, and many other publications . This album gave the band increased exposure.
Their latest album, Boxer, was released on May 22, 2007, and has also received widespread critical praise . The album features contributions from various guest artists including Sufjan Stevens and Doveman (aka Thomas Bartlett). It received #2 best album of the year by stereogum.com and #1 album of the year by Paste Magazine. Their song "Fake Empire" from Boxer was featured on NBC's new series, Chuck, and Southland, the CW's One Tree Hill in its current fifth season and the 2008 film Battle in Seattle.
In the summer of 2008, along with Modest Mouse, they opened for R.E.M.. on the promotional tour for the new R.E.M. album Accelerate. That summer they also played many festivals in North America and Europe, including Coachella, Sasquatch, Glastonbury, Haldern Pop, Rock Werchter, Optimus Alive!, Oxegen, Benicàssim, Lowlands, O2 Wireless, T in the Park, and Lollapalooza.
On December 17, 2008, The band released a letter to members of their mailing list letting it be known that they were in the beginning stages of recording a new album and it could be expected some time in late 2009 or early 2010. During a Pitchfork interview in late March of 2009, Aaron Dessner said the album was still unnamed though lightheartedly suggested it would start with a "C" in the tradition of their previous two albums . Tracks that have been performed live, to be featured on the album, are called "Wake Up Your Saints," "England," "Blood Buzz, Ohio," "Vanderlylle Cry Baby," "Believe Me" (earlier called The Blue Sky and A Thousand Black Cities), and "Karamazov" (a reference to the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky called The Brothers Karamazov, a favorite of the band's members) which has also been known as "Runaway."
On February 17th, 2009, an album titled Dark Was the Night was released by 4AD, and was produced by Aaron & Bryce Dessner and is a 31 track compilation to benefit the Red Hot Organization. It also contains a new song by The National titled "So Far Around the Bend".
- Matt Berninger (Lead Vocals)
- Aaron Dessner (Guitar, Bass, Piano)
- Bryce Dessner (Guitar)
- Scott Devendorf (Bass, Guitar)
- Bryan Devendorf (Drums)