Tag Archive: The National


“All Our Endless Love” is immediately striking with a melancholy, gorgeous melody. Matt Berninger’s distinctive baritone complements Inara George’s fragile voice wonderfully, especially when they sing together. George particularly captures the anxiety created by new love, saying “At first I was scared/the way these feelings started coming on.” The keyboards and melody are not far removed from what The National sounds like, but the chorus is far more uplifting. The percussion and keys may fill the speakers but they never overwhelm the vocal harmonies. This is really a showcase performance for both of them. While this song is for the soundtrack of “Endless Love,” the idea of an entire album between these artists is really exciting. Let’s hope this collaboration is more than a one-time thing.

Every time The National are set to release an album, someone (likely an Internet commenter) will wonder if this is the record where the band will change its sound. On Trouble Will Find Me, the answer is still no. Why? Because there is no need to fix what isn’t broken. The National’s latest continues a string of successful albums with the usual mix of moroseness and humor from Matt Berninger, tight guitar work from the Dessner twins and powerful rhythms from the Devendorf brothers. Songs like “Humiliation,” “This Is The Last Time” and “Graceless” are thrilling trips that build layers on top of layers, sometimes exploding, sometimes pulling back. Memorable melodies engulf nearly every number on the tracklisting, making this record one of those rare affairs where skipping is unnecessary. That consistent excellence is what helps make The National one of the best bands playing today.

Best Moments: “Pink Rabbits” saloon piano, when the drums kick in for “This Is The Last Time,” that smooth, jazzy guitar in “I Need My Girl,” all of “Don’t Swallow The Cap” and “Sea of Love”

This article first appeared at No Ripcord on October 22nd, 2012.

If there’s anything The Hood Internet knows how to do, it’s throwing a good party. If you go to their website and download any of their free mashups, you will find some of the most clever and unexpected combos this side of Girl Talk. For the duo’s first full-length album, FEAT, they opted to both avoid legal harassment and try something new for them: an entire record without samples.

Instead, the Hood Internet provided the beats while a bevy of special guests handled the vocals. The result should have been myriads of fun, but the album generally fails to match any of the pulse-pounding works of the past.

Critical Captions and One for the Record Books are both fairly strong, but fall short on the production side. The former features Class Actress’ sultry vocals over a ghostly synth pattern that unfortunately fades into garish sparkles that sound like hundreds of pop techno songs before it. The latter’s generic beat pattern is lifted up by AC Newman’s smooth singing and SIMS fast-paced rap, but it’s not enough to satisfy listeners.

While those two songs and a few others on FEAT are average club-bangers, it doesn’t necessarily make them harmful. What does hurt are the numbers that absolutely suck any and all fun out of the record, almost sinking the whole experience. Nothing Should Be a Surprise wastes a childlike synth pattern with a far too aggressive performance from Isaiah Toothtaker and Show You Suck. Rather than wanting to dance, this becomes music to listen to when you’re pissed off.

Thankfully, the middle section from Exonerated to Our Finest China finds the fun again, bringing forward tracks with both strong guest appearance and intriguing beats to go with them. Exonerated sounds like early Depeche Mode from an alternate universe. Microbeats and industrial touches move around Zambri’s tensely warped vocals. Won’t Fuck Us Over reimagines The National’s Mr. November as a rave. Annie Hart’s vocals especially shine here, flickering over icy keys and resonating brass. Our Finest China features a backing beat that plays out like a Rush breakdown. The Rosebuds’ soulful vocals are another much appreciated guest, as is Astronautalis’ strong verse.

The only problem with those three songs is when Do You Give Up Now? comes in the middle of them and ruins all the fun being had, with a generic beat and a nasty vibe. This perfectly displays the problem with FEAT. The Hood Internet couldn’t decide whether to make a party record or a moody record. They tried to do both and succeeded at neither. Maybe next time around, the duo will figure out what direction they want to go in and we’ll get the feat that we missed out on for this album.