The National - Boxer

2007; Beggers Banquit (now 4AD); Brooklyn, NY

Its been said that The National sounds like a garage band turned down. I get that. A wall of dark distorted guitars, shoegaze landscapes, hard dirty tones linger right behind your eye, caught sometimes in the peripherals. But most people don't notice it. Above that lies the old melodies, the winding sweeping piano, a drum line walking strange steps to go in circles. Matt Berninger's voice is low and calm and comforting and unsettling and he sings very circular songs. Lines that don't mean anything at all repeated twice, three times. "undermine everything, I'm a professional, in my beloved white coat/undermine everything, I'm a professional, in my beloved white coat." And its all simmering there and you're waiting for it to be released, its restrained but the binds are not tight, its a scream caught in your throat after the fireworks of the other night. And it starts to seem that yes they do in fact have all the energy all the passion of a garage band even with the volume knob turned counter clockwise a bit.

Through all this everyone of these songs feel classic. And though its difficult to pinpoint any influences, anyone they sound at all like it these songs feel like they've always existed. Like they were the soundtrack to Casablanca.

For a year and something Boxer has been passed around to my friends when they ask for an introduction to contemporary underground music or the cough cough indie scene. There are more immediately interesting or exciting bands out there, but The National in their corner of the soundscape, are the best.

1. Fake Empire
2. Mistaken for Strangers
3. Brainy
4. Squalor Victoria
5. Green Gloves
6. Slow Show
7. Apartment Story
8. Start a War
9. Guest Room
10. Racing Like a Pro
11. Ada
12. Gospel

its hard to keep track of you falling from the sky

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