The National Play Nation's Capital

930 club

hide caption 

This live concert stream is a production of NPR Music's All Songs Considered and the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C..

The National i i

hide captionThe National: Bryce Dessner (from left), Matt Berninger, Bryan Devendorf, Aaron Dessner, Scott Devendorf

Abbey Drucker
The National

The National: Bryce Dessner (from left), Matt Berninger, Bryan Devendorf, Aaron Dessner, Scott Devendorf

Abbey Drucker


hide captionThe National's new CD is Boxer

Set List:

Start a War

Mistaken for Strangers

Slow Show

Secret Meeting


Baby, We'll be Fine

Lit Up

Racing like a Pro

Squalor Victoria

Apartment Story

Daughters of the Soho Riots


Fake Empire

Mr. November

Green Gloves


About Today

The National singer Matt Berninger

hide captionThe National singer Matt Berninger, performing live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.

Joel Didriksen for

The National make thoughtful, mostly melancholy rock in the spirit of Joy Division or Leonard Cohen, with singer Matt Berninger's warm baritone voice set against deftly orchestrated instrumentation that's as epic as it is intimate. Hear the group recorded live in concert from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club.

The National is currently on tour for its fifth and most radiant album to date, simply titled Boxer. It's a brilliantly crafted meditation on love, war and what the band calls "a euphoric disconnection," a reference to the calm that sets in after resigning to life's many ills.

There is a surreal peacefulness to Boxer despite its dark undercurrent, with snapshots of a world where everyone is an emotionally detached stranger, numb to or unmoved by the squalor filled streets. It's partly Berninger's gentle voice and partly the unexpected layering of horns, strings and woodwinds with guitar, organs and drums.

The National is a five-piece group based out of Brooklyn, with friends originally from Ohio. The band features twin brothers Bryce (guitar) and Aaron Dessner (bass), Matt Berninger on vocals and brothers Bryan (drums) and Scott Devendorf (guitar). They formed the band in 1999 and released their self-titled debut in 2001 on Brassland records.

Members of The National kept their day jobs through the release of Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers in 2003 and the 2004 EP Cherry Tree. But for 2005's Alligator on Beggars Banquet, the group quit their jobs and focused on music full time. The result was their best-reviewed and most popular album, an inspired indie rock record that earned spots on numerous best-of lists by the end of the year.

For their latest CD, Boxer, The National collaborated with a number of other artists, including Sufjan Stevens, Brooklyn singer Marla Hansen and Doveman (Thomas Bartlett).

Related NPR Stories

Purchase Featured Music


Purchase Music


Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: Boxer
  • Artist: The National

The Alligator

Purchase Music


Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: The Alligator
  • Artist: The National



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.