Artist site: http://www.americanmary.com
"Hidden Gem of 2003"-Magnet
"Plunging into the desperate erotica of their Leonard Cohen-meets-Joy Division world."-Rolling Stone
"A genuine treasure... No one has written the uneasy poetry of self-disgust with such brutality since Mark Eitzel at his best. Livid as a bruise, this is brave, desperate and desperately beautiful music" - Uncut
"Intense? Powerful? Let's just say that if Johnny Cash was still with us, this would be a contender for his next album" - The London Sunday Times
8.4 out of 10 score. "Hold off, sit back down, and continue listening to this gorgeous train wreck."-PitchforkMedia.com
The National is a band of five guys all raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and living in Brooklyn, New York. The band consists of two sets of brothers: Bryce and Aaron Dessner and Scott and Bryan Devendorf. Their friend Matt Berninger is the group's singer and lyricist.
In the mid 90s, they migrated to New York City; all five settled in Brooklyn, eschewing the hipster enclave of Williamsburg in favor of the more settled confines of Carroll Gardens. Shuttling back and forth by F train between home and jobs, the five friends began gathering in various basements and living rooms. They decided to start a band. Before they'd played a single gig, The National recorded their self-titled debut album in the studio of producer Nick Lloyd. The result, released on the start-up Brassland label in 2001, was critically acclaimed, receiving raves in publications like No Depression, AllMusic.com, Billboard, and The Boston Phoenix. Singer Matt Berninger has been compared to Tom Waits, Cat Power, and Johnny Cash; in the band's songwriting, reviewers describe overtones of the work of Wilco, Dylan, and the Band.
Recording sessions for The National's new album took the band to seven different studios, from Williamsburg to suburban Connecticut. Again they worked with Nick Lloyd as well as co-producers Peter Katis (fresh off his work on Interpol's Turn on the Bright Lights) and Paul Heck, a long-time A&R man who has worked on projects like No Alternative, Red Hot & Riot!, and Luaka Bop's 2001 Shuggie Otis re-issues. Padma Newsome from Clogs contributed string arrangements on a number of tracks.
The result is Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, an ambitious sophomore album. England's Kerrang! wrote that their first was "the stuff underground legends are made of." The follow-up is a great leap forward, an omnibus of rock songwriting that is by turns upbeat and downcast, electric and acoustic, raging and atmospheric. It is a bold statement, a song cycle about men and women, and all the ways things go wrong and right. It was released in Europe in late May, and is seeing an American release in September 2003.
The European release is on Talitres Records, a label boasting bands such as The Walkmen, Calla, and Destroyer. Their American label is Brassland, operated by writer and critic Alec Hanley Bemis (New Yorker, LA Weekly, Slate.com). On the strength of The National's new material, Brassland has pitched their tents with renowned distributor Southern in both Europe and the United States. Southern is an organization responsible for incubating bedrock independent labels like Saddle Creek (Bright Eyes, The Faint), Dischord (Fugazi, Jawbox), and Constellation (Godspeed You! Black Emperor).
The National will begin touring extensively in the US in Fall