The National - Sleep Well Beast (Sept. 8th, 2017) Anticipation Thread

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I adored their last couple of albums. I will be avoiding listening to any singles prior to the album's release, but I'll be bookmarking this thread...

Rod Steel (musicfanatic), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 23:02 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

is everyone going to release a new album this year?

Bee OK, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 03:17 (four months ago) Permalink

in the mood for a new National album, so yeah looking forward to this.

Bee OK, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 03:17 (four months ago) Permalink

This is about the only one from the usual suspects I'm excited for. Sorry, Arcade Fire, Phoenix, Fleet Foxes, LCD Soundsystem, Grizzly Bear, Lorde, Haim ... Actually, I take that back, I like how Grizzly Bear sounds, so that album should sound pretty cool. I suppose I'm looking forward to the War on Drugs, too. Oh, and a new Randy Newman. And the Algiers album is great, so there's that.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 13 June 2017 11:46 (four months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Another new one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71xmrULJ-ms

groovypanda, Thursday, 29 June 2017 08:27 (three months ago) Permalink

those two singles are among their bests already. really psyched.

Van Horn Street, Friday, 30 June 2017 01:15 (three months ago) Permalink

i love the idea of a band doing the same thing over and over again, with slight variations, working the perfect formulation.

Van Horn Street, Friday, 30 June 2017 01:16 (three months ago) Permalink

there are two singles?

Bee OK, Friday, 30 June 2017 01:30 (three months ago) Permalink

those two releases i meant!

Van Horn Street, Friday, 30 June 2017 01:35 (three months ago) Permalink

nice, i had no idea they leaked two songs yet.

Bee OK, Friday, 30 June 2017 01:46 (three months ago) Permalink

If anyone wants a sneak peak at lots of other new songs off the album, there's a rip of their Paris show from last week here

groovypanda, Friday, 30 June 2017 08:54 (three months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEe_yCVLQSc

, Tuesday, 8 August 2017 19:18 (two months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

This has now leaked

groovypanda, Monday, 4 September 2017 11:01 (one month ago) Permalink

i think "turtleneck" is one of their worst songs ever but the rest of this is good

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 4 September 2017 14:58 (one month ago) Permalink

I like pretty much everything the band has ever done, but this is not as good as last album. Of course, the last album was about as good as they get.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 September 2017 15:26 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah otm

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 4 September 2017 15:30 (one month ago) Permalink

i also don't know why they insist on putting out hour-long albums

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 4 September 2017 15:30 (one month ago) Permalink

^^^ Yes!! More Boxer-length albums please The National ...

Steve Reich In The Afternoon (Against The 80s), Monday, 4 September 2017 15:42 (one month ago) Permalink

gonna listen soon but it must be said that "dark side of the gym" is an excellent song title

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Monday, 4 September 2017 18:04 (one month ago) Permalink

song is nearly as good as the title tbh

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, 4 September 2017 18:06 (one month ago) Permalink

I like pretty much everything the band has ever done, but this is not as good as last album. Of course, the last album was about as good as they get.

― Josh in Chicago, Monday, September 4, 2017 11:26 AM (three hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

yeah otm

― ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Monday, September 4, 2017

ya'll are crazy

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 4 September 2017 18:39 (one month ago) Permalink

no I think they're otm

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Monday, 4 September 2017 18:44 (one month ago) Permalink

wtf is up with matt's voice on the new one's opener

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Monday, 4 September 2017 18:44 (one month ago) Permalink

They've never made a great album and they peaked in 2010. By 2013 they were almost parodying heterosexual middle age angst.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 4 September 2017 18:56 (one month ago) Permalink

Counterpoint: they've made at least two probably three great records, and have been almost parodying themselves for the last couple, which could be the same as parodying heterosexual middle age angst.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 September 2017 19:00 (one month ago) Permalink

every national album is a long drive to van nuys, where you trade in your minivan for a mazda miata

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Monday, 4 September 2017 19:26 (one month ago) Permalink

this is their best-sounding album at the very least

ufo, Tuesday, 5 September 2017 00:18 (one month ago) Permalink

three quite good songs (The System Only Dreams, I'll Still Destroy You, Dark Side of the Gym) with the rest being mostly pleasant but unmemorable means this definitely is a National album

ufo, Tuesday, 5 September 2017 14:10 (one month ago) Permalink

They peaked in 2007 for me, and held that peak reasonably tight until the following album. Last album over-egged the pudding for me; too many instruments, too much in the arrangements. The lead songs from this that I've heard seem like they've stripped back a bit, which I've enjoyed.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Tuesday, 5 September 2017 14:33 (one month ago) Permalink

they peaked on mr november and everything since has been indistinguishable slowness with a few highlights

i stand by this rockism

mookieproof, Thursday, 7 September 2017 00:12 (one month ago) Permalink

I like "turtleneck"!

the Obama associations have spoiled "Mr. November" and "Fake Empire" for me tbh

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 7 September 2017 00:18 (one month ago) Permalink

not feeling this album at all

what obama associations with those songs?

akm, Thursday, 7 September 2017 01:14 (one month ago) Permalink

Fake Empire was used as intro music, if I recall correctly. I think it was playing before he went out for his Grant Park victory speech.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 7 September 2017 01:53 (one month ago) Permalink

they made "Mr November" shirts w O's face on it iirc

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 7 September 2017 02:08 (one month ago) Permalink

awesome shirts thb

niels, Thursday, 7 September 2017 07:00 (one month ago) Permalink

tbh*

niels, Thursday, 7 September 2017 07:00 (one month ago) Permalink

Been sitting on a promo of this for ages but waiting for the right time to listen to it (in part b/c listening to a National album in the summer seems wrong). Trouble Will Find Me turned out to be a really important album for me; probably my favorite indie rock record of the last five years.

Should I just bite the bullet and buy the vinyl, album unheard? I'm not expecting to like it as much as the last one, just so long as I like it more than High Violet

Evan R, Thursday, 7 September 2017 15:39 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, HV is the only of their records I (almost) never listen to

niels, Thursday, 7 September 2017 15:41 (one month ago) Permalink

this is probably my least fave since the early records tbh

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 7 September 2017 15:43 (one month ago) Permalink

TWFM only really opened up for me after ~20 listens so I'm patient

niels, Thursday, 7 September 2017 15:44 (one month ago) Permalink

Had no idea he apparently writes his lyrics with his wife.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 7 September 2017 15:45 (one month ago) Permalink

TWFM was a realllly slow grower, yeah. I liked that album's length, since on most early listens I didn't make it deep into the album's second half, where a lot of the really great stuff is. Little surprises to find later.

Evan R, Thursday, 7 September 2017 16:27 (one month ago) Permalink

This one feels backloaded to me atm

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 7 September 2017 16:30 (one month ago) Permalink

dark side of the gym is a good song title

johnny crunch, Friday, 8 September 2017 11:43 (one month ago) Permalink

I thought we were going to get something pretty interesting with record given that "The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness" was the lead off track but man this thing is dull which is saying something given we're talking about the band who's brand is all about being sad about being normal.

yesca, Friday, 8 September 2017 14:06 (one month ago) Permalink

"sad about being normal" -- otm

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 8 September 2017 14:18 (one month ago) Permalink

I can't tell if this is dull-good or dull-boring. Maybe more the latter.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 8 September 2017 14:28 (one month ago) Permalink

this band does some of their best work when they're being boring imo; trying to be interesting is how you end up with a High Violet

Evan R, Friday, 8 September 2017 14:42 (one month ago) Permalink

Do people not like High Violet? it has some of their best songs on it!

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Friday, 8 September 2017 14:49 (one month ago) Permalink

turtleneck is sick wtf

flappy bird, Saturday, 9 September 2017 20:55 (one month ago) Permalink

TBH I think that “Terrible Love” is a great song — in terms of songwriting and rhe actual performance and mood and emotions etc. — but it’s ruined by the mixing. The album version is just a brick of noise; when I heard the alternate one, I was like Yes, finally! It breathes, it’s alive.

I’m actually quite curious why they made these particular production choices for only one track on the album — the remaining High Violet songs are nowhere nearly as compressed; they sound nice and reverb-y. Have they addressed it in interviews?

And OTM with Rid of Me being an example of extremely raw music that doesn’t make your head hurt. But that’s Albini’s touch.

ˈʌglɪɪst preɪ, Saturday, 9 September 2017 21:08 (one month ago) Permalink

and Polly Jean Harvey's.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 9 September 2017 21:21 (one month ago) Permalink

always thought "terrible love" was a demo they couldn't replicate the energy of so they just slapped the demo on the record

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Saturday, 9 September 2017 21:21 (one month ago) Permalink

It's like they wanted some kind of MBV fuzz over it, but just fucked it up.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Saturday, 9 September 2017 21:28 (one month ago) Permalink

and Polly Jean Harvey's.

― the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn)

Of course! Now I realise I made it sound like it was just Albini’s idea or something, but obviously it was Polly’s intention to make such a raw and uncompromising piece of work. And she seems to care very much how her records sound.

Back to the National ― I gave the record only two semi-distracted spins so far, and their albums tend to be growers, so I won’t form any broad statements for now. All I can say it seems less cluttered than Trouble Will Find Me, and I enjoy that spaciousness in the sound. Matt’s lyrics seems somehow more . . . misanthropic. I’m not sure, English is not my first language, so they’ll also need some time to sink in properly. There were some moments where the electronic flourishes made me raise my eyebrows but I need more time.

ˈʌglɪɪst preɪ, Saturday, 9 September 2017 22:06 (one month ago) Permalink

iirc they adressed the production on HV in interviews around the release, talking about how they'd recorded in a kind of home studio and how that was a liberating process, and after reading that when I listened to the record I was like wtf get back in a real studio!

I think the entire record has poor production (slightly cluttered, claustrophobic, metallic) but Terrible Love takes the cake

I have grown to like the songs though, esp from hearing them live where they work just fine

the Terrible Love demo sounds better but there's still something unfinished or unrealized about the song to my ears

niels, Saturday, 9 September 2017 22:07 (one month ago) Permalink

tbqh i remember seeing them open for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (lol) at the Troubadour circa Alligator and thinking "man i feel like I just saw U2"

Larry Elleison (rogermexico.), Saturday, 9 September 2017 23:23 (one month ago) Permalink

always thought "terrible love" was a demo they couldn't replicate the energy of so they just slapped the demo on the record

They did an absolutely knockout version of it on Conan a few weeks before they released the studio version. Made the mix that much more perplexing; the song kills live.

Evan R, Sunday, 10 September 2017 01:25 (one month ago) Permalink

as down as i've been about this record "day i die" frickin' rocks

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Sunday, 10 September 2017 02:28 (one month ago) Permalink

Fuck you, Karl https://t.co/3gXr8DYryw

— The National (@TheNational) September 9, 2017

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 10 September 2017 11:01 (one month ago) Permalink

yeah I don't know what the choices were behind that mix. it's like when Low chose to hard pan the vocals on Drums and Guns. Why on earth would you do this? it is bizarre and wrong.

akm, Sunday, 10 September 2017 19:41 (one month ago) Permalink

you grow up comfortable in cincinatti. your parents pay for you to go to oberlin ($$$$$). you're so talented! you record five, six, seven albums? you never had that many ideas to begin with. but you're talented!

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 10 September 2017 20:06 (one month ago) Permalink

Wow, that's bitter.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 11 September 2017 08:18 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah, weird.

paulhw, Monday, 11 September 2017 10:45 (one month ago) Permalink

the pressure's on the national
there's one to go, the same is true
and all this time we couldn't forget you
golden, what's the name
down to the sea

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 11 September 2017 13:02 (one month ago) Permalink

turn up The National
the neighbors are sleeping

flappy bird, Monday, 11 September 2017 16:47 (one month ago) Permalink

Really enjoying this record. Production is just perfect, rich but uncluttered. I like a little slack on National albums, that sense of leisure is a big part of the appeal for me

Evan R, Monday, 11 September 2017 23:15 (one month ago) Permalink

Really enjoying this record. Production is just perfect, rich but uncluttered. I like a little slack on National albums, that sense of leisure is a big part of the appeal for me

Evan R, Monday, 11 September 2017 23:23 (one month ago) Permalink

KROQ played "Day I Die" today, not their style of music at all.

Bee OK, Thursday, 14 September 2017 01:17 (one month ago) Permalink

Can you all clarify what BESIDES the distorted guitar effect on Terrible Love you find so awful sounding? I haven't listened in awhile but I remember everything else about the song sounding... normal? I have to assume you're taking issue with something more overall about the mix because I wouldn't expect all the National fans on ilx to have adopted say Guitar Magazine's opinions of what is an acceptable approach and what's not for guitar tone. Because the band seems to be going for an intentional deteriorating distortion with elements building around it as it goes. However, on the other hand it is hard to imagine general studio production objectively bad enough to warrant the collective hate here.

Evan, Thursday, 14 September 2017 02:14 (one month ago) Permalink

distorted guitar in the verse sounds off, as if it's coming from another room and out of sync as well (prob due to intentionally off delay pedal or smth)

no cohesion in the bridge, which is where the song starts to break up - maybe it's the eq'ing and reverb that's off and makes the players sound so isolated (in a dissonant way)

chorus is when the song really self destructs, matt's vocals overprocessed and drums running off to no effect

while the verse is decent, I think the chorus disappoints melodically as well, so even if the alternative mix is better, it's never going to sound great to my ears

niels, Thursday, 14 September 2017 06:43 (one month ago) Permalink

Listening to the different mixes side by side (both on the expanded edition of HV on Spotify) the differences are obvious. The 'distorted guitar effect' sounds more like it and all the other instruments were recorded onto old & half disintegrated magnetic tape, and to me it's the vocals that sound like they're coming from another room. I wouldn't say it hurts my ears but the alternative version is obviously an easier listen.

angelo irishagreementi (ledge), Thursday, 14 September 2017 08:52 (one month ago) Permalink

I don't think I want to hear this supposed Karl Rove quote over and over again.

angelo irishagreementi (ledge), Thursday, 14 September 2017 09:05 (one month ago) Permalink

It's difficult to put my finger on as specifically as some here have, but it's just always given me an almost instant headache, in a way that almost nothing else has - not the wildest, most distorted Swans or MBV or Sunn o)))) or anything else I've heard.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Thursday, 14 September 2017 09:19 (one month ago) Permalink

the album version of "terrible love" sounds like it takes place underwater, it's especially apparent when "sorrow" starts and you actually hear space and separation in the mix

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 14 September 2017 13:53 (one month ago) Permalink

I wonder if that might meaningfully connect to the lyrics in some way.

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 14 September 2017 14:03 (one month ago) Permalink

I had always imagined the distorted guitar was coming out of this old broken radio with bad frequency sitting on the floor next to the band, and they start building a song around it . I thought they were intentionally going for that kind of effect. Again as far as the rest of the song goes I'll have to give it a proper revisit.

Evan, Thursday, 14 September 2017 14:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Aaron talks about it in this Pitchfork interview

We had re-recorded "Terrible Love" because we had the opportunity to do it. The original version of "Terrible Love" on the record is my demo, basically. Bryan drummed to it with one mic. And then when we started playing it live, we realized it was this beast of a live song and that it was really fun to play, so one day we recorded it again and it came out pretty well.

Pitchfork: The [new version of "Terrible Love"](http://pitchfork.com/news/40457-video-the-national-terrible-love/ "new version of "Terrible Love"" ) is awesome. When I heard it, I thought it should've been on the album.

AD: I prefer the sort of murky, blurry version that's on the record, just because I like the guitar sound. There's all those accidental harmonies in it that I like, but maybe that's just me being too attached to something because I can't recreate it. That was part of why we used it; we just couldn't make the guitar sound like that again. But live, it is probably the biggest song off High Violet. We end the show with it. It's really intense, and it becomes very unhinged towards the end. When we first played the song, we played it on "Jimmy Fallon" maybe two months before the record came out. So people got attached to that version that they saw on YouTube. Then, when the album came out, I think that's why people were disappointed. It didn't have the same kind of drumming that really kicks in. So we re-recorded it, more for ourselves. We just wanted to see how it would come out, and then it came out really well. It became the version that's been pushed to radio. I'm glad that there's two versions. I still think that the album version is more appropriate to the album, but it's good that there's this more high-fidelity version of it out there.

groovypanda, Thursday, 14 September 2017 14:27 (one month ago) Permalink

I have no problem with the general direction of that guitar sound. I just wish they had recorded everything better. As Brad says, there's very little space or separation in the mix. The drums at 1:45 should kill, and they just blend into everything because everything else sounds like it's embedded into the-wall-of-bad-sound guitar, which isn't doing anything that is more interesting than the song as a whole. Anyway, I get that there may be higher order reasons why the muddy recording is favored by some.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:23 (one month ago) Permalink

It seems like they were attached to the harmonics and droning of the original guitar sound, but then that track occupied the whole spectrum. They kind of recreated the feel of the guitar sound in the alternate by adding droning strings to a cleaner, tremolo guitar. It has a similar feel but leaves room for the song to grow and allows some separation between instruments and parts.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:29 (one month ago) Permalink

You can also do things to make a single insane guitar sound good in the mix, but you might need something better than a demo-quality recording.

Kevin Shields on Loomer guitar sound: "It's definitely one of the few stereo guitar tracks. There's no effect on that one, it's basically just the straight guitar sound. It sounds unusual because it was a Strat neck and a Jaguar body with EMG pickups in it. It was just a weird monstrous thing. It had a slightly harder, more midrange-y than a Jaguar/Jazzmaster. It's a lot more high frequency, strange sound. We used partly the sound of the guitar plugged straight into the desk and mixed in slightly and that's got something going on in the high end. But when we mixed it, what gives it a lot of its sound is that it's so heavily compressed with the drums that it sounds like a train. In fact, that was the sound we were trying to get at, like it sounds like you're on a train or something."

It sounds like they were working with 3 tracks, one of which was much brighter, to make that work.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:39 (one month ago) Permalink

I suppose it's probably 2 tracks: one the insane low-mid-rangey, sounds-like-a-train and blends with the drums and the other the brighter straight-into-the-desk track that could be an entirely different instrument.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:47 (one month ago) Permalink

to complete my five postagraph essay, i'll note that falling in love with a worse demo is a pretty human and forgivable thing. most of ilx did this with grimes' realiti after all.

you are juror number 144 and we will excuse you (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:54 (one month ago) Permalink

i mean it's sorta like "turtleneck" on the new record, i get the thought process behind the decision to include it i just extremely disagree with it

ToddBonzalez (BradNelson), Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:57 (one month ago) Permalink

what I don't understand is how they didn't get that droning guitar bit right on the alternate version, since they do it fine live

ufo, Thursday, 14 September 2017 17:11 (one month ago) Permalink

this album is absolutely wonderful, probably about as good as I could have hoped for. Really smart sequencing, with the anthems frontloaded and the somber loner songs tucked away in the back (since it's spread across two LPs you get to choose which vibe you want). I can't stand "Turtleneck" but at least it's tucked away at the end of side 2, so I can just kill the record early.

Evan R, Friday, 15 September 2017 15:14 (one month ago) Permalink

I'm enjoying it a lot as well, nice to hear them do electric drums and synths

niels, Friday, 15 September 2017 18:54 (one month ago) Permalink

I can't stand "Turtleneck" but at least it's tucked away at the end of side 2, so I can just kill the record early.

Either you or spotify have a copy with the sides mislabelled.

angelo irishagreementi (ledge), Friday, 15 September 2017 19:24 (one month ago) Permalink

Side 2 of a 4-sided double LP

Evan R, Friday, 15 September 2017 19:51 (one month ago) Permalink

today i learnt that double lps are still a thing.

angelo irishagreementi (ledge), Friday, 15 September 2017 20:37 (one month ago) Permalink

literally any album over 46 minutes gets two LPs today and it's v annoying

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Friday, 15 September 2017 20:37 (one month ago) Permalink

#1 album in the UK

Wtf?

groovypanda, Tuesday, 19 September 2017 21:21 (four weeks ago) Permalink

dunno, why WTF? I saw someone else expressing surprise that this was advertised on the side of a bus. they play festivals and near stadiums at this point. they're quite big. also, considering how few people actually purchase albums now, you see all kinds of weird surprising things in charts. i think Paul Draper's album was top 10.

akm, Tuesday, 19 September 2017 22:13 (four weeks ago) Permalink

for sure

Sparks celebrate their first Top 10 in more than 40 years with Hippopotamus at Number 7. It’s the second highest-charting album of the US art-rock duo’s career, behind 1974’s Number 4-peaking Kimono My House.

Number None, Tuesday, 19 September 2017 22:21 (four weeks ago) Permalink

meanwhile the Top 40 singles chart is utterly devoid of any rock/alt whatsoever in the UK since streaming started to count.

piscesx, Tuesday, 19 September 2017 22:36 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Just never thought they were that big over here to get a Number One album, especially as the #2 new entry by Nothing But Thieves seems to have been advertised everywhere.

But yeah, I guess album sales have dropped off a cliff and I see The Waterboys entered at #8

groovypanda, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 06:50 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Anyone going to see them live in London next week?

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 20 September 2017 08:18 (three weeks ago) Permalink

no point of view or deja

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 24 September 2017 18:51 (three weeks ago) Permalink

for sure

Sparks celebrate their first Top 10 in more than 40 years with Hippopotamus at Number 7. It’s the second highest-charting album of the US art-rock duo’s career, behind 1974’s Number 4-peaking Kimono My House.

― Number None,

Gary Numan in at number two this week as well. He'll probably be out the top 75 next week.

kitchen person, Sunday, 24 September 2017 20:40 (three weeks ago) Permalink


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