THE NATIONAL I Am Easy To Find (4AD/Remote Control) Although it offers an array of female lead voices alongside – against? – Matt Berninger’s baritone on almost all the 16 tracks, the eighth The National album is not a series of duets. That would be an inadequate description for what those voices – Berninger’s as first among equals – do, an underselling of the purpose they serve here. I Am Easy To Find works as a continuing conversation, a confluence of conversations actually
Pic courtesy of Daniel Boud THE NATIONAL Sydney Opera House forecourt, February 21 Dualities abound in The National. It is core business for them. It is core appeal for us. At an obvious level, this is an indoors band – a group focused on the rise and fall, the charge and retreat, of emotional engagements observed painfully closely; a band not gazing at their shoes, not hiding their responses, but nonetheless not made for playing to the bleachers – actively playing outdoors.
With the first of two shows tonight back at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, where they played in 2014, Wind Back Wednesday skips back a decade to a chat with Matt Berninger about grown-ups making music for grown-ups. As their most recent album, last year’s Sleep Well Beast, showed, it never gets easier being adults. PUTTING THE WAYS OF CHILDHOOD BEHIND THEM Watching the Brooklyn-based band the National - two sets of brothers and their best friend - on David Letterman
THE NATIONAL Sleep Well Beast (4AD/Remote Control) The National are quite special. Let’s start with a list of things they can do rather well and, it will not surprise you to hear, are doing well again here. Making slow music fraught and tender, rather than funereal or simplistic, which doesn’t try to soothe, but does; doesn’t try to hurt, but does. And convincing you there’s a restless momentum within them that is the point of life itself. Creating intimacy that feels open bu
The second half of the near impossible task of pulling 50 songs from 50 years. A mad idea, filled with frustrations at all the ones I couldn’t pick. But, yeah, fun nonetheless. 1990: Sonic Youth – Kool Thing The year I finally got Sonic Youth, or they crossed over to my side. Droll, sexy and sung by one of my favourite bassplayers (along with Tina Weymouth, Bruce Thomas, Paul McCartney & Andy Rourke). Found out recently she’s a pretty cool interview too. 1991: Joni Mitchell –