Playlists available on Spotify and iTunes below. Enjoy.
About The National
A band whose first album was released in 2001, The National have since released 6 studio albums, including their most recent, "Trouble Will Find Me," an album that continues to showcase the melancholic yet sometimes uplifting tones of their emotionally charged music. Prior albums such as "Alligator" and "Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers" hinted at the emotional thread that lives through each album but with a lower production quality and more alt-rock, guitar driven sounds (and even some country rock vibes on 2001's "The National"). 2007's "Boxer" ushered in a new era for the band, leaning more towards a focus on the themes and lyrical mastery of lead singer Matt Berninger. In addition to his unique songwriting, Berninger's vocals are a heavy baritone, adding yet another layer to their music, giving a serious quality to songs that are also based in heavy percussiveness. This combination of layers - Berninger's baritone, the muffled yet deep percussion, and the themes in their lyrics - gives The National's sound a heavy quality not heard in many bands today. It's a hard genre to define, as The National's music has proven to transcend genres with songs like "Fake Empire" from 2007's "The Boxer." "Fake Empire" was used in an Obama campaign video during his 2008 campaign, and the band continued their involvement with the 2012 election. Their 2010 album "High Violet" continued with more focus on heavier tones and themes, debuting at #3 on the US charts. In 2013, The National released their 6th studio album, "Trouble Will Find Me" which debuted on the US charts at #3, behind a major album of the year by Daft Punk (#1). The release of "Trouble Will Find Me" continues the band's march into a more sonically complex territory, fully growing into and owning their sound with the continued growth of Matt Berninger's lyrics combined with a more hi-fi sound. With several standout tracks such as "I Should Live In Salt" and "Demons," "Trouble Will Find Me" is one of their most robust albums to date.
English trio Daughter, whose debut album "If You Leave" was released earlier this year via Glassnote Records (home of bands like Phoenix and Mumford and Sons), has entered the musical scene with their echoed and haunting music. Lead vocalist Elena Tonra's whispered but forceful vocals give an ethereal feel to each song, despite the heavy tones. Some tracks, like "Smother" are quiet and dark while a track like "Youth" showcases Elena's pristine vocals accompanied by an echoed, lonely Explosions in the Sky - style guitar. Ever present are the tribal-esque drums that create an ebb and flow in each track, growing louder and louder before quickly settling back into the still, echoed quietness that permeates this stellar debut.
Check out more from Daughter here:
Daughter Sings Bon Iver's "Perth" and Hot Chip's "Ready For the Floor"
Daughter Performs on KEXP
Check out more from The National here:
The National Perform on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert
Watch & Listen: The National
The National's Matt Berninger on NPR
Best Albums of 2013 So Far