Pastime: The National

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BoxerThis is part one of a two-part series introducing you to the acts performing at this year’s Bacchanal.

Two separate sets of brothers make up four-fifths of The National. The fifth is lead singer Matt Berninger, whose odd, deep voice is probably the most distinctive quality of the band’s brooding sound. Since hitting the scene in 1999, when the band left Ohio and came to Brooklyn to work day jobs, the National have been on a steady rise to prominence. Their first two albums are low-fi and a little muddled, and were released on the band’s own label; three years ago, they moved to Beggars Banquet Records, where they made their two most recent (and most popular) albums. They’re marked by simple instrumentals and lyrical prowess.

Since 2005, The National have been significantly more popular; their last two albums, “Alligator” and “Boxer,” were staples on Best Of lists (including Bwog’s own). Sufjan Stevens’ horns and piano can be heard in the background of a song on their last record, and they’ll be backing up REM on their tour this summer.

Listen (“Brainy” @ musicisart.ws)

Listen (a dozen acoustic tracks @ aquariumdrunkard.com)

Listen (three tracks @ daytrotter.com)


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  1. thanks bwog  

    This is helpful.

  2. Anonymous  

    The fact that we have to read up on the acts coming to perform to actually know who they are is a little disappointing.

    More disappointing: the fact that we have to pay to see them.

    • You know

      It is sometimes helpful to broaden your knowledge of music and cultural diversity available. Just because you do not know them does not inherently make them disappointing or "bad." It could be productive for you because listening to them could introduce a new favorite musical group.

      As far as paying, $5 is trivial for any kind of concert. The kind of complaining that this evidences is just typical of Columbia - nothing is ever good enough. Just quit your bitching and enjoy life for once. It is certainly too short to always complain about every little detail.

  3. Cut the crap  

    No other campus as far as I know charges their students for their spring concerts. This was the one thing we got for "free" here and the one concert that brought in names that were slightly recognizable. It has nothing to do with "broadening knowledge" and all to do with getting screwed by the university again. Don't act like you are culturally above everyone else just because we don't want to dish out money for something we don't even know is going to be good. We never paid for it in the past - why all of a sudden pay now? I think these are legitimate questions. Get off your high horse.

    • charging

      Brown charges for their spring concert.

    • Actually  

      I'm pretty sure that most other comparable schools do pay for their Spring Concert events. As #7 said, Brown definitely does...is $5 really that much of an inconvenience?

      I do think that a little more money for someone with a bit more notoriety would be great, too. It's not that I don't like The National, I'm just sayin...

  4. and by the way  

    If we are going to be charged - get a big name. I'll gladly pay the $25 that Cornell charged to see someone like Snoop Dog.

  5. Music Snob

    When do tickets go on sale?

  6. hmmmm  

    i know i'm biased against this indy rock shit, but i really think the spring concert should stick to hip hop and that fall thing should be the depressed white-kid music

  7. spoiled  

    you dont need to go if you dont want to. Why should we be entitled to see celebrity touring rock bands for free?

  8. Awesome  

    I love the National they are sooo cool! I also love Grizzly Bear. This is going to be the best concert ever!! I would pay so much to see this.

  9. meh  

    national is generic and unoriginal, grizzly bear mediocre and boring. bleh.

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