The National are probably the biggest band to come out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The indie-rock group is made up of 5 band members, including two sets of brothers, who play alongside lead singer Matt Beringer.
The band were formed in 1999, and they’ve been touring pretty much ever since. Most of their time as a group has been spent in Brooklyn, New York, where they’ve had a slow burning career that’s seen them grow from being a hardworking but relatively unknown band, to a group who headline festivals around the world and sell out 20,000 capacity arenas.
The full line up consists of lead vocalist Matt Beringer, twin brothers Aaron (guitar, bass, keys) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and another set of brothers Scott (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).
Matt Beringer’s distinctive baritone voice, alongside his self-penned discerning lyrics gives the band a unique sound, often described as erring on the sombre-side. They are said to have taken influence from the likes of Tom Waits and Nick Cave, but believe strongly in being innovative and continuing to grow independently as an act.
Interesting fact: one of their biggest breakthrough moments came from their track "Fake Empire" featuring on the 2008 Obama campaign. This, alongside successful support tours with artists like R.E.M., set them on the path to their current popularity. The release of "High Violet" in 2010 saw them reach the biggest achievements of their career - hitting the top 5 across the UK, US and Canada.
Their most recent album "Trouble Will Find Me", was the record that really cemented them into the mainstream. Just before the release of this sixth EP, they premiered a documentary called "Mistaken For Strangers" which followed the band on their "High Violet" tour, focusing mainly on the relationship between singer Matt Beringer and his brother, who took on the role of assistant tour manager.
The National are true strivers, they’ve gradually warmed their way into many a record collection, and with each release prove themselves to be more accomplished than before. Despite their more recent successes, they are not to be considered as having reached a peak: it’s in their nature to continue to improve on themselves.