Artist Spotlight: The National

One of the most intense and dynamic bands of the past decade, The National brought the mystery back to alternative music. Whether it’s the ominously atmospheric production, cryptic lyrics, or downright manic live shows, they’re picking up right where groups like R.E.M. and The Jesus and Mary Chain left off.

The National

Made up of two pairs of brothers (The Dessners and Devendorfs) and frontman Matt Berninger, it took The National several years before reaching their signature sound on albums like Alligator and the more refined Boxer. But they’ve outdone themselves with each new release, including their latest, Trouble Will Find Me.

One of this year’s most highly anticipated releases, Trouble Will Find Me is a testament to a band at the top of their game as lyricists and musicians. Consequence of Sound couldn’t get enough of Berninger’s clever lyrics, while American Songwriter gushed about the “eloquent torment and evocative arrangements.” Even better, the making of the album was a real family affair. Produced by the Dessner brothers, it features guest appearances from talented friends like Sufjan Stevens, Annie Clark (St. Vincent), and Sharon Van Etten.

Unsurprisingly, this is the album that has the group headlining festivals and arenas around the world. While that pressure can really get to a band, it’s nice to see that the guys in The National have stayed a tight-knit group of friends (and family) – who genuinely enjoy making music together. A quick look at their Twitter and Instagram feeds will serve as proof that the men behind moody songs like “Afraid of Everyone” and “Baby, We’ll Be Fine” are actually pretty fun. Whether they’re playing “Damaged Equipment Bingo” or riding their bikes to shows, they manage to keep themselves (and their thousands of followers) entertained!

If you haven’t seen The National live before, prepare to be blown away. Matt Berninger is a loose cannon onstage. He can instantly transform from being a morose crooner to a red-faced maniac, diving into the crowd during “Humiliation” to scream the title along with the fans. Get a good spot when they play LouFest this fall and you may be lucky enough to scream with him!