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Sunday, June 27, 2010

CD of the Week: High Violet

The National has received a lot of nationwide attention in the past few months, including a New York Times Magazine profile, late-night show appearances and headlining gigs in bigger halls. It may seem like a lot of hype, but the band has been making records for almost a decade to critical acclaim. And the band's latest release, High Violet, is their finest record yet.

High Violet is meant to be taken as a whole, but the single "Bloodbuzz Ohio" is a great introduction to the band's sound. The guitars drone instead of riff. The melody seems simple at first, but demonstrates a complexity after multiple listens. 

And vocalist Matt Beninger sings slowly and deliberately so the audience can pick up on every word--with lyrics moving from surreal ("I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees") to profoundly personal ("I still owe money to the money to the money I owe / I never thought about love when I thought about home").

The introspective album translates into an incredibly engaging live show, as witnessed in this awesome performance from the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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