Over memorial day weekend, Little Dynamite flew down from NYC to meet me in Austin for plenty of live music, Shiner Bock and breakfast tacos. The details of this trip and the music we saw and heard will be documented at a later date (probably in some sort of 5 part series). The purpose of this post is to talk about the cd that we listened to almost exclusively in my car (1998 Toyota Sienna mini-van...thanks for asking). The band was The National, and the cd was their 2005 release Alligator, which apparently was praised by music snobs everywhere, but I somehow missed out on until now. Now, I don't think that JTR is aware of this band's greatness, and I'm pretty sure that they will be his new favorite band. So, this post is dedicated to showing him why they will be his new favorite band because he could not be in that mini-van with us in Austin. Without further-ado.
1) They write beautiful, catchy music: This aspect of the band might be overlooked by most (due to the strength of points 2 through 5), but at some point within each song lies a sweet melody that keeps you coming back for more.
2) Front man Matt Beringer's delivery: Beringer's baritone (or as my mom said, mono-tone) delivery is most reminiscent of Leonard Cohen, but it is definitely a unique voice; and a unique voice is something that JTR values in an artist (ex: Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Craig Finn of the Hold Steady).
3) Their style: They can pass for a rockin' garage band ("Mr. November," "Abel" off of Alligator), play slow beautiful tunes ("Gospel" off of their latest, Boxer) and anywhere in between. Regardless, they never lose their intensity.
4) Lyrics: This band might just be arrogant enough for JTR. They have some fantastic one-liners, and it's evident they know it because they usually repeat them throughout the song. They also quite beautifully romanticize the subjects of their songs ("We'll run like we're awesome, totally genius/We're the heirs to the glimmering world;" from Geese of Beverly Road or my personal favorite, "I'm put together beautifully/I'm a perfect piece of ass" from All The Wine).
5) Coolness: For evidence of coolness go to blogotheque.net, watch The National's "Start a War" video and watch Beringer (I'm gonna let Little D go in depth about blogotheque.net because he introduced it to me; and Little D, go to The National's website for more videos by Vincent Moon of blogotheque fame).
This has gone on way to long. I'll probably post more next week about The National because I'm seeing them next week in Detroit, MI. For now, pick up Alligator and then quickly thereafter buy their latest, Boxer. You know Jack The Rabbit will.
Until I post some tracks, check out some myspace. "Secret Meeting" is friggin fantastic.