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best indie albums 2008
The National's May 11 release of High Violet is one of the most anticipated "indie" rock albums of 2010. As happens so often nowadays, the album has already leaked online, which prompted the band to reveal the album artwork and track-listing, a free MP3 single, and now a free stream of their first album in three years with the New York Times. (See below to read excerpts from the New York Times Magazine's Sunday feature of The National.)
The National's MySpace page featured the following note:
“Hi everyone! As you may have heard, there is a low quality leak of our new album, High Violet, spreading across the internet as we speak. We wanted to let you know the New York Times will be streaming the real thing starting Friday April 23rd. We hope you’ll take the time to hear the album at its intended level of quality.”
Since the release of their widely acclaimed debut album, Alligator, and their amazing 2007 LP, Boxer, The National's popularity has grown tremendously. Many of the band's biggest fans have been messaging in forums about when a follow up LP would be available. So one can assume that there will be lots of people listening to the album stream on Friday and throughout the weekend, and into next week.
If all, or most, of High Violet is anything like a few of the songs we've already heard - including the single, "Bloodbuzz Ohio", it is very possible High Violet would be one of the top indie albums of 2010. However, the album cover art (above) leaves much to be desired. We don't know why there have been so many ugly album covers in the past few years, maybe it's simply because so few people actually see, or care to see, the album art work.
"Bloodbuzz Ohio" - The National from High Violet
Download this MP3 here
No doubt that many music lovers are waiting to here it. Here is the web address for the New York Times Magazine's feature page that won't be available, again, until 8:30 am ET on April 23rd. Come back here and stream The National's High Violet in its entirety.
Excerpts from the New York Times' Feature Story about The National
In addition to the free album stream of High Violet, the iconic magazine will publish an in-depth profile of the band in the Sunday print and web editions. IRC was granted special permission from the New York Times to publish excerpts from article that will be published this Sunday.
The National is a Brooklyn group originally from Cincinnati that formed in 1999, featuring identical-twin brothers, Aaron (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), plus another pair of non-identical brothers, Scott (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devedorf on drums. The band is fronted by vocalist Matt Berninger. The band hit the big-time in the mid 2000s with the release of their magnificent debut album, Alligator, followed in 2007 with the release of Boxer, Paste Magazine's No. 1 album of the year and Stereogum's pick for No. 2.
"Mistaken for Strangers" - The National from Boxer (2007)
(official Mineo Records free MP3)
In the Times' feature on The National, contributing writer Nicholas Dawidoff, writes about his experiences hanging out with the band this past winter as they mixed their fifth album in their producer Peter Katis' recording studio in Bridgeport, Conn. The article notes the band was under tremendous pressure to deliver the final masters - which were weeks late - to their record label, 4AD; to come up with a name for the album; and to complete songs that were not ready for release.
"Several of the songs had no lyrics," Dawidoff reports. "Those that did were otherwise askew. Four weeks into the mix the band was, as Aaron [Dessner] put it, 'kind of in a circling-the-vortex mode.'"
Dawidoff's accounts of the winter mixing sessions are especially detailed and revealing as the band faced difficulties in finding a satisfactory sound for some songs, in particular "Lemondworld," a track the band struggled with for months.
In addition to the drama surrounding the track, "Lemonworld," Dawidoff provides an astute examination of "Sorrow," which the band describes as a "dark" song.
"I thought we were making a pop record," Aaron Dessner told Dawidoff, "but it's turning out to be extremely dark lyrically."
Dawidoff also describes the band's "rigor" for creating, destructing and rebuilding five minute songs, adding: "Their process often seems like a musical parlor trick since they delight in belittling their own work and can seem happier about rejecting another successful reinvention than actually completing anything."
You can bet there will be tens of thousands of people streaming The National's new album over the next week. If you want to bookmark the URL, or simply come back here, this is the link to the stream provided to us by the New York Times: Stream The National's High Violet.
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