Trouble Will Find Me - A Sneak Peak of The National's 6th Studio Album

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Based in Brooklyn and hailing from Cincinatti, Ohio, moody indie rockers The National will be dropping a new album this coming May, coinciding with The National-curated music and arts festival Crossing Brooklyn's Ferry in April, as well as Boston Calling, the second day of which the band will be headlining this spring.  The album, entitled Trouble Will Find Me, will be the band's 6th to date, and their first since bursting onto the national music scene (no pun intended) in 2010 with their 5th and longest studio album High Violet. Their prior works include Boxer (2007), Alligator (2005), Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003) and their eponymous first album The National (2001). In addition to studio albums, The National have produced several EPs that could be considered albums in their own right, namely Cherry Tree EP and the Virginia EP, both of which contain well-produced early recordings of songs from their full albums, as well as notable tracks found nowhere else in their discography, including "Cherry Tree," "Santa Clara," and fan-favorite "About Today."

The band has a sound unique to alternative and indie rock, a sound that has been described as moody and melancholic, yet refreshingly insightful. Lead singer Matt Berninger writes the lyrics and sings in a deep baritone that has become the band's signature, while brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner provide backing on guitar. Rounding out the band are brothers Bryan Devendorf (drums) and Scott Devendorf (bass). Berninger's lyrics, incredibly relatable, span topics from relationships to careers, detailing at end whatever is pulsing through his veins at the moment. At various points in their career, critics have compared The National to Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Joy Division, and a band they once toured with, Arcade Fire.

The sound of the band has evolved gradually with each album they have released. Early albums The National and Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers possessed an interesting blend of Wilco-like bluegrass musings and slower, darker ballads, ranging from songs like "90-Mile Waterwall" to "Cardinal Song," as well as more driving rock songs from "John's Star" to "Murder Me Rachael." The next set of albums, Alligator and Boxer, found the band exploring new ground with their music, with the band incorporating composer and violinst/melodica-player Padma Newsome. With Newsome came the band's experimentation with a more chamber-style sound, highlighted on one of the band's biggest hits to date, "Fake Empire," as well as in the closer to Alligator, "The Geese of Beverley Road." Following Boxer, the band took a 3 year hiatus to develop this new sound, producing the album High Violet to what were incredibly high expectations for the band in 2010. It was an album filled with echoing rock anthems, including "Bloodbuzz Ohio," "Lemonworld," and "Terrible Love," along with a set of brilliant B-sides.

Here is "Terrible Love" from High Violet:

So what can expected of this new 6th album, Trouble Will Find Me?  Well, to start, the band will be partnering with some incredible musicians, as the album is set to feature Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, as well as Sufjan Stevens, previously featured on High Violet in tracks "Terrible Love" and "Afraid of Everyone." Also set to be featured on the album are musicans Reed Parry from Arcade Fire, and Sharon Van Etten, a singer-songwriter who has opened for both The National and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. In addition, she has already collaborated with the band on their soundtrack single "Think You Can Wait" from the movie Win Win. Enough about the collaborators, though. The album is sure to be a continuation of the band's evolution, keeping many elements from High Violet. However, it appears from previews the band has offered of the tracks that it will be a more subdued endeavor. Berninger has written that, with this album, the band is no longer chasing their identity, or their particular sound, and that this album is the product of their new-found comfort as a band.

You can find live video footage of several tracks that will be released on Trouble Will Find Me below.

I Need My Girl

Humiliation

Heavenfaced

In addition, I will leave you with one of my favorite The National videos, shot by Parisian filmmaker Vincent Moon. It is About Today.

---Update: April 8th, 10:15am --- As recently as this morning, The National released their first single from Trouble Will Find Me, called "Demons"

- AJ