Indie-rockers The National returned to Bonnaroo this past weekend for the third time after previous visits in 2007 and 2010. The National were one of the bands to participate in the 2013 installment of Bonnaroo365′s Hay Bale Sessions which is described as “Tucked away backstage at Bonnaroo, buried beneath a stack of hay bales, is a room where artists duck out of the weekend’s madness to play stripped-down versions of their songs. The Hay Bale Sessions will lead you through a secret doorway where you can join artists to watch these pure and intimate performances.”
The National recorded three songs for their Hay Bale Sessions. Watch Matt Berninger and Co. deliver fantastic takes on Sea Of Love, Don’t Swallow The Cap and This Is The Last Time…
[UPDATE 6/19/13]: Well, two years after this post first ran, we’ve finally got an update on The National’s Grateful Dead cover compilation. Bryce Dessner has told Billboard, “We’re just getting going this summer, probably…and a bunch of friends in bands, and then some surprising guests, are gonna hang out and smoke a lot of pot and record Grateful Dead songs.” With that in mind, we wanted to re-share the HT Staff’s list of covers we’d like to see included.
[Originally Published: 04/21/11] Last weekend at Coachella bassist Scott Devendorf of The National revealed to Spinner.com that his band is putting together a compilation record filled with Grateful Dead covers for the AIDS charity Red Hot. The Spinner-sourced story spread like wildfire with sites as diverse as Pitchfork, The Punk Site and JamBase all filling their readers in on Devendorf’s quotes showing the potential this compilation has to bridge the hipster/hippie divide.
While Devendorf told Spinner that The National is currently thinking about covering Box of Rain or Unbroken Chain and that Steve Reich, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver are interested in participating, he didn’t reveal much about which groups and songs he’d like to see included on the compilation. So we rounded up the Hidden Track staff to offer suggestions for a list of covers we’d pick if it was up to us…
Jeff Tweedy – Brokedown Palace
Certain artists sing certain lyrics in certain songs in certain ways and it can just do magical things to you. Jerry Garcia was the absolute master of this, especially on Brokedown Palace. The way his voice creaked and cracked and exploded with emotion was one of the things that made each version of this Dead song special. Jeff Tweedy takes a similar approach with his vocals. Whether it’s a playful tone in Hummingbird or his scorching anger in Misunderstood, Tweedy sings from his heart and his balls, much like Jerry did. I’d love to hear Tweedy’s take on one of the Dead’s most delicate songs and one that Garcia owned every time he sang it. – Luke Sacks
Built To Spill – West L.A. Fadeaway
Doug Martsch, an anti-front man for the ages, has already covered The Dead with his psychedelic band of wailers Built To Spill, so they seemed an obvious choice to do another cover. Who better to deliver the drawn out vocal stylings of Jerry Garcia on this slinky, funk driven, ode to scoring dope? West LA Fadeaway could provide BTS with a great live jam similar to their take on Cortez The Killer from their Live album. Jagged, angular funk could ride in tandem with howling Strats and that oh-so-famous keyboard “wooosh.” Come on Dug, DO IT! – Wade Wilby
In the decade-plus since the release of their self-titled debut in 2001, The National have become the model of what it means to be a successful indie-rock band. The Brooklyn-based act have slowly grown their audience through of a series of critically acclaimed albums full of their brand of dark brooding rock, anchored by lead singer Matt Berninger’s unmistakable baritone voice. On May 21, the band will release their sixth full-length effort Trouble Will Find Me. The self-produced 13-track effort was mixed by longtime collaborator Peter Katis and features guest appearances from likes of Sufjan Stevens, Sharon Van Etten, Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire).
In conjunction with the release of the new record, The National are also the subject of the new documentary, Mistaken For Strangers, which opened this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. The 80-minute film, which has been receiving rave reviews, had its origins when Matt Berninger decided to invite his younger brother Tom to join the band on their 2010 as a crew member. The doc chronicles Tom’s interactions with the band on and off-stage, which eventually led to him being fired from his crew duties, while also looking at the relationship between him and his brother as the band became bonafide rock stars. Let’s check out the trailer…
The National will head out for a lengthy summer world tour, which features a huge hometown show at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on June 5, and includes a slew of high profile festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands.
We’ve been big fans of Bob Weir’s fantastic Weir Here since it debuted last year. The semi-regular web variety show, which is broadcast live from Weir’s TRI Studios, has featured members of the Grateful Dead and its extended family swapping stories and performing a mix of tunes. During a recent episode, the former Bobby & The Midnights lead singer revealed that he will take the show on the road this fall, where he will be joined by Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), Jonathan Wilson, Jay Lane (Primus), Jason Crosby and Jeff Chimenti (Furthur, RatDog), as well former Dead crew member Steve Parish. According to Jambands.com the tour is currently scheduled to make stops at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York, Philadelphia’s Tower Theater, Richmond, Virginia’s The National, San Rafael, California’s Terrapin Crossroads and Mill Valley, California’s Sweetwater.
Finally, it’s been roughly two years since The National dropped the news that they would be curating a Grateful Dead covers record for the AIDS charity Red Hot. While we still await some sort of update on that project, the band is seemingly taking a page out of the legendary psychedelic rock act’s Acid Test days, as on May 5 the Brooklyn-based act will play one song for six straight hours at the finale of MoMA PS1′s Sunday Sessions. The band will perform the High Violet track Sorrow as part of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansso exhibit – A Lot of Sorrow. Tickets for the one-time only performance, which explores “potential of repetitive performance to produce sculptural presence within sound,” are currently on-sale for $15.
Esteemed music critic Greg Kot often breaks the news about Lollapalooza headliners before event organizers do. That trend continued this morning when Kot posted an article on the Chicago Tribune website detailing the headliners for this year’s festival. Kot says that Vampire Weekend, The Killers, Mumford and Sons and Phoenix will be a top the lineup when C3 Presents officially unveils the Lollapalooza ’13 lineup next month.
The writer also reveals that Postal Service and The National will appear at Lollapalooza 2013, which takes place in Chicago’s Grant Park on August 2 – 4. Early bird tickets go on sale this Tuesday, March 26th, at 10AM CT via Lollapalooza.com.
Last Saturday night at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios, the Grateful Dead/Furthur guitarist came together with a band filled with Brooklyn based musicians from the indie world for an impressive pair of sets that were webcast as part of HeadCount’s The Bridge Session.
A few days back we posted “official” videos of four tunes from the performance, but today we came across a video containing two hours worth of footage featuring Weir along with Scott and Bryan Devendorf and Aaron Dessner from The National, Kyle Resnick, Thomas Bartlett as well as Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman from Yellowbirds plus The Walkmen’s Walt Martin and Taka Taka’s Conrad Doucette. Thanks to VoodooNola2 for posting it. Take a look…
If you missed last night’s The Bridge Session webcast featuring Bob Weir and a backing band of indie musicians including members of Yellowbirds and The National, or if you just want to see it again, Yahoo! Music has shared four full segments from the two-set concert.
Months in the making, last night Grateful Dead/Furthur guitarist Bob Weir performed with members of The National, Yellowbirds and other Brooklyn-based musicians as part of a free live webcast called The Bridge Session put together by HeadCount and held at TRI Studios. The 10-person ensemble performed two sets that included plenty of Grateful Dead classics, a pair of The National’s songs and even a few choice covers. Of particular note was the first version of Weir’s My Brother Esau sung by Bobby since the Grateful Dead last played the Barlow/Weir chestnut on October 3, 1987 at Shoreline as well as takes on Bob Dylan’s Most of the Time and Cass McComb’s Love Thine Enemy.
Joining Weir in the indie-meets-jam all-star troupe were Aaron Dessner, Bryan Devendorf and Scott Devendorf of The National, Josh Kaufman and Sam Cohen of Yellowbirds, Walt Martin from The Walkmen, Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka, and National contributors Thomas Bartlett and Kyle Resnick. Bobby told Yahoo! Music that, “I was surprised by how many instruments in the ensemble we could get music out of. Usually that many instruments in an ensemble and everybody’s playing all the time it gets to be too thick … but these guys are good at leaving room for music to happen. And it did I thought.” Scott Devendorf told Rolling Stone he was really happy with the way it turned out, “For us, the night definitely exceeded expectations. We were surprised that it was even going to happen in the first place, and then as we were rehearsing it became more and more real.”
The setbreak featured a roundtable discussion using questions from audience members both in-person and via social networks moderated by HeadCount’s Andy Bernstein. HeadCount’s other co-founder, Disco Biscuits bassist Marc Brownstein, emceed the event. For the final three songs of the evening, Weir and the band formed a circle within the crowd and welcomed audience members to help out on Ripple, Uncle John’s Band and Brokedown Palace.
Tomorrow night, March 24, at 9PM ET/6PM PT, Bob Weir’s state of the art TRI Studios facility will host a free live webcast called The Bridge Session. For this two-set webcast, which will be broadcast on Yahoo! Music and through TRIStudios.com, Weir has invited some unexpected, but talented guests: the Devendorf brothers from indie band The National and some of their good friends from Brooklyn – bandmate Aaron Dessner, Thomas Bartlett, Kyle Resnick, Walt Martin of The Walkmen, Conrad Doucette of Takka Takka and Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman of Yellowbirds.
The Bridge Session is a musical event and roundtable discussion aiming to raise awareness about the American political environment and to garner interest for the sponsoring organization, HeadCount. It also brings together musicians from two different genres, and while this isn’t the most conventional band lineup, it’s for a cause that everyone involved works hard to support – political activism among young people, especially live music fans.
“A lot of my passion these days comes from that I have a couple of kids and I don’t think that an older electorate is going to necessarily vote my kids’ interests, like younger people would,” Weir told Hidden Track.
“I want to get younger people involved because that’s the future; I want to see them take hold of that so that my kids will benefit. Also, just world-view wise, I always have tended to side with a younger outlook politically; I’ve always voted, since I was able to. I didn’t get turned onto it, I was just motivated and I want the people of this generation to feel the same way,” Weird continued.
Back in 1998, UK folkie Billy Bragg teamed up with up and coming alt.country act Wilco, to write and record new songs culled together from a treasure trove of previous unheard and unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics. Called Mermaid Avenue, for the street that Guthrie and his family lived on in Coney Island, the recording sessions yielded enough material to be spread across two albums, that were released two years apart, and feature a number of songs that both Bragg and Wilco still perform in concert.
With Guthrie’s centennial birthday being celebrated all throughout 2012, its no surprise that the sessions for these HT approved albums are being revisited, and will be released as four-disc box set. On April 21, Nonesuch Records will release Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, which will include the original two volumes of Mermaid Avenue, a third volume with 17 previously unreleased recordings from those sessions, plus the 1999 documentary on the sessions, Man in the Sand, as well as a 48-page booklet with new liner notes by Nora Guthrie. Mermaid Avenue, Volume III, will also be made available digitally, separate from the box set.
List Time: 9 Rock Songs From The 1960s About Superheroes
Finally, earlier this year the Brooklyn Academy Of Music announced that they would be turning over the keys to the building to The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner to curate a music festival this spring dubbed Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, after a Walt Whitman poem. The three-day fest, which is set to take place from May 3 – 5, will utilize all three spaces within the building and be headlined by The Walkman, St. Vincent and Beruit, and will features sets from the likes of Sharon Van Etten, The Antlers, Caveman, Atlas Sound and more. Three-day passes will run you $110 , and will go-sale to the public on March 6, with individual day-passes going on-sale on March 12, for $45.
Grassroots organization HeadCount has put together an event called “The Bridge Session” that will feature Bob Weir jamming with a band assembled by Scott and Bryan Devendorf of The National at the Furthur / Grateful Dead guitarist’s TRI Studios on March 24. The event will be webcast live free of charge, with Disco Biscuits bassist and HeadCount co-founder Marc Brownstein set to emcee.
Bringing together leaders of the jam and indie worlds, The Bridge Session “aims to bridge the gap between people of various tastes and viewpoints.” This one-time-only performance will feature a setlist containing both Grateful Dead and National tunes as well as cover songs with a political slant. GD lyricist John Perry Barlow will lead a roundtable discussion at setbreak that will “focus on issues that potentially unify people of divergent ideological perspectives – specifically, getting money out of politics and protecting the First Amendment.” Viewers can send in their questions for the panel via Twitter.
Scott Devendorf is reportedly working on a Grateful Dead tribute album that will feature indie acts. Last year we put together a list of artists and songs we’d like to see on that album.
For those looking at attend the event, HeadCount will sell 40 tickets to benefactors wishing to make tax deductible donations of $1,000 or more. Contact HeadCount at [email protected] to buy these ducats or for more information.
The big news of the weekend in our world was Phish frontman Trey Anastasio’s sit-in with The National at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Friday night. When SPIN Magazine revealed that Big Red has been working with members of The National, as well as Mates of State and TAB, on his forthcoming, Peter Katis-produced solo album, rumors started to fly about Trey making a guest appearance at The National’s six-night Beacon Theatre run.
[Photo by Matt Wasserman]
The Upper West Side resident finally turned up at the local theater on Friday during The National’s penultimate Beacon Run performance to add guitar on Bloodbuzz Ohio from the group’s 2011 release High Violet, Squalor Victoria from 2007′s Boxer and Murder Me Rachael from Sad Songs From Dirty Lovers, the act’s first album with Katis behind the board, during the main set. Arcade Fire’s Richard Parry emerged during the encore for High Violet’s opening track, Terrible Love, along with Anastasio and the pair remained on stage for the Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks singalong that ended every show of The National’s residency.
A few clips of NationTrey showed up on YouTube yesterday, but today we came across a set of videos by TheGloaming09 containing the entire sit-in with the exception of Squalor Victoria. The video quality is far from perfect, but the audio gives us our best taste yet of Anastasio’s contributions. Trey adds texture to the verses of Bloodbuzz Ohio before displaying uncharacteristic restraint during a brief solo at the end of the song, while both Murder Me Rachael and Terrible Love feature more droning work from the Phish guitarist. All in all Trey honors the setting by playing fewer notes than the more typical shred-heavy style he shows off with his main projects.
Here’s a playlist containing Bloodbuzz Ohio, Murder Me Rachael, Terrible Love and Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks…
As we first reported back in September, Phish front man Trey Anastasio enlisted producer Peter Katis to produce his next solo album. Details from recent recording sessions have emerged from a SPIN Magazine article published today. Anastasio has been commuting daily from his NYC home to Katis’s Bridgeport, Conn. compound to create what SPIN describes as “a mix between Anastasio’s eclectic, Afro-tinged rock and the kind of experimental indie pop produced by the Philistines Jr., Katis’ own recently reformed band.”
What’s particularly of interest from this new report is than in addition to using members of the current version of TAB, Big Red has enlisted members of the National and Mates of State to add the new sessions. Well Trey wanted to do something “totally out of left-field for him,” and from the sounds of things he’s accomplished that. No word on when we can expect to hear the fruits of this Katis/Anastasio collaboration. For more on Peter Katis, be sure to check out our Tracks of the Trade feature on the producer.
You may have read a recent Washington Post article examining how some of the Indie rockers are growing more comfortable coming out of the jamband-fan-closet. One area which I’d like to see more crossover in is to have more bands implement open taping policies. That’s why I was ecstatic to pull up recordings on my weekly Live Music Archive search from bands like Blitzen Trapper and The National. Good for them, now whatever happened to the policy that MGMT promised months back only to have the idiots at Sony make them retract it? Note: Hidden Track previously contacted Sony for a comment, was promised one, and then received nothing. Oh but Hidden Track readers and LWS Podcast faithfuls, don’t worry – we still remember that Phish tour started last week too.
A reminder – you can download all of this week’s audio in one easy to listen to MP3 that we call the Last Week’s Sauce Podcast, click here to download.
The P4K album review of Destroyer Of The Void describes the title track as such – “ambitiously steamrolls over decades of canonical popular music, squishing it into an epic suite that gathers Beatles harmonies, sci-fi synths, classic rock guitars, country-rock twang, and AOR sentimentality into one big, ballsy package.” Pretty serious stuff, and they are right – it’s an amazing piece. It’s nice to hear the band has a good live arrangement of it as well. Blitzen Trapper [tour dates] plays tonight at the Dallas House of Blues.
Video from a Blitzen Trapper show from two nights ago:
READ ON for tracks from The National, Phish and String Cheese Incident with Trey Anastasio from the Fourmile Canyon Revival concert…
On May 11, The National will release their highly anticipated fifth studio album High Violet – which is currently streaming on the New York Times website. As a way of celebrating the release, the Brooklyn-via-Ohio act will commandeer the vacant space at 13 E 4th St (next to the killer record store Other Music) in Manhattan’s East Village and turn it into their own playhouse by curating five nights of yet to be announced events at what they are dubbing The High Violet Annex. More details will be released in the week ahead at highviolet.com – where you can also grab yourself a free download of the album’s first single Buzzblood Ohio. Just don’t tweet it!
If you can’t make it to NYC for what is sure to be a special week of events, than maybe you’ll be able to hit one of these recently announced tours…
Finally, with Bonnaroo less then two months away, organizers revealed the rest of the acts that will be joining The Flaming Lips in performing late night sets over the course of the weekend. Filling out the schedule will be a diverse mix of acts to choose from: hip-hop to jam to electronica to shock rock. Here’s who’ll be hitting the stages and tents as you party into the wee small hours – Jay-Z, LCD Soundsystem, Thievery Corporation, Galactic, The Black Keys, Deadmau5, Daryl Hall & Chromeo, Clutch, Bassnectar, Kid Cudi, GWAR, The Disco Biscuits, Dan Deacon Ensemble and B.O.B.