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THE NATIONAL

The National

Cherry Tree EP - 2021 Reissue

    Released a year before The National broke through with their third album Alligator, 2004’s Cherry Tree EP is a thrilling record which - thanks to its collection of delicate ballads and anthemic crowd-pleasers - sums up what they do best in under 30 minutes. Now a firm fan-favourite, among Cherry Tree’s seven tracks are now National classics ‘About Today’ and ‘All The Wine’, plus a thrilling live version of ‘Murder Me Rachael’ that reminds of the band’s fearsome early live performances. Cherry Tree can be seen as the record that marks the moment when The National had truly found themselves, a bridge from what went before to a band ready to conquer the World.

    Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

    The National

    Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers - 2021 Reissue

      The National’s second album, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers (2003) proved a leap forward from 2001’s eponymous debut, showing a band adept at delivering warm embraces and gut punches in equal measure.

      With word of mouth now spreading on the band, critics proved equally enthusiastic... Pitchfork in their glowing review called it a “Gorgeous train wreck” that “Lives up to its blunt title (with) Matt Berninger’s self-eff acing barbs matched by the band’s equally potent hooks,” while Uncut also became early champions saying the album was “A genuine treasure... Livid as a bruise, this is brave, desperate, beautiful music.”

      No longer a secret among those that know, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers is an important record in The National’s discography with this new remaster showing that it’s more than standing the test of time.

      Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

      The National

      The National - 2021 Reissue

        Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, The National’s self-titled debut album of sozzled Americana is a thing of beauty, laden with heavy hints that this was a special band in the making.

        Their first release, The National arrived two years after The National formed, a time when they were juggling bandlife with needing to hold down full-time jobs. And while nods to the alt. rock artists that inspired them (Pavement, Silver Jews) can be heard, so too are the beginnings of something all their own – Matt Berninger’s stunning and unexpected lyrics being pinned to melodies that stop you in your tracks.

        The National marks the start point for one of the best bands of their generation with its new master helping elevate it to new levels. A great primer to a great band.

        Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

        The Wedding Present

        Bizarro - National Album Day Edition

          A 'National Album Day' release - Pressed on standard Black LP Vinyl. 

          'Bizarro' was the second Wedding Present album, originally released in 1989. The band's first album on a major label, 'Bizarro' saw The Wedding Present toughening up rather than selling out. Toying with extremes of tempo and mood, the result was a vibrant hybrid of astringency and the band's quintessential pop euphoria.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          The Stone Roses

          The Stone Roses - National Album Day Edition

            Ultra limited release for National Album Day.

            Pressed on Clear LP Vinyl.

            Surely this album needs no introduction or explanation?! But just in case you don’t know, this is arguably one of the best debut albums of all time, from one of the most influential bands of their generation! And if that’s not enough to tempt you, then I don’t know what is. 

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Dexys Midnight Runners

            Searching For The Young Soul Rebels - National Album Day Edition

              Celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year, this is the debut album from new-wave band Dexy’s Midnight Runners. The album has a surprising history, with band members stealing the original tapes and only returning them once EMI raised their royalty rates. The album received widespread critical acclaim and is featured in The Guardian and NME’s 100 Best Albums lists.

              The National

              High Violet - 10 Year Anniversary Expanded Edition

                Originally released in May 2010, the critically acclaimed fifth studio album features the now-classics “Terrible Love”, “Bloodbuzz Ohio”, “England”, and perennial show closer, “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.” In addition to the 10 original tracks, the triple LP package includes a third LP which includes tracks never before available on vinyl, including “Wake Up Your Saints,” an alternate version of “Terrible Love”, “Walk Off” and more.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                says: The National are going to cause a stir whenever any of their music gets a reissue, and the 10 year anniversary edition of High Violet did that by being both riotously essential (“Terrible Love” and “Bloodbuzz Ohio” are worth it for the entry price alone), and beautifully packaged.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                3xColoured LP Info: Triple marbled white & purple/violet vinyl.

                Fifth Album by the Bill Wells project feat. words by Aidan Moffat A masterclass in nuance, interpretation and the purifying power of the human voice, Standards Vol. V represents another captivating chapter in the career of a singular figure in contemporary music. For his fifth album as the mischievously named National Jazz Trio Of Scotland, the prolific jazz outsider Bill Wells posits yet another collaborator in the diffuse light cast by his tender chord shifts and understated arrangements. The voice on Standards Vol. V is that of Black, whose other musical activities include the band Babe, Francois And The Atlas Mountains, Rozi Plain and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

                I Am Easy To Find is the band’s eighth studio album and the follow-up to 2017’s GRAMMY®-award winning release Sleep Well Beast. A companion short film with the same name will also be released with music by The National and inspired by the album. The film was directed by Academy Award-nominated director Mike Mills (20th Century Women, Beginners), and starring Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander. Mills, along with the band, is credited as co-producer of the album, which was mostly recorded at Long Pond, Hudson Valley, NY with additional sessions in Paris, Berlin, Cincinnati, Austin, Dublin, Brooklyn and more far flung locations. The album features vocal contributions from Sharon Van Etten, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Lisa Hannigan, Mina Tindle and more.

                I Am Easy to Find is a 24-minute film by Mills starring Alicia Vikander, and a 68-minute album by the National. The former is not the video for the latter; the latter is not the soundtrack to the former. The two projects are, as Mills calls them, “Playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other”—they share music and words and DNA and impulses and a vision about what it means to be human in 2019, but don’t necessarily need one another. The movie was composed like a piece of music; the music was assembled like a film, by a film director. The frontman and natural focal point was deliberately and dramatically sidestaged in favour of a variety of female voices, nearly all of whom have long been in the group’s orbit. It is unlike anything either artist has ever attempted and also totally in line with how they’ve created for much of their careers.

                As the album’s opening track, ‘You Had Your Soul With You,’ unfurls, it’s so far, so National: a digitally manipulated guitar line, skittering drums, Berninger’s familiar baritone, mounting tension. Then around the 2:15 mark, the true nature of I Am Easy To Find announces itself: The racket subsides, strings swell, and the voice of long-time David Bowie bandmate Gail Ann Dorsey booms out—not as background vocals, not as a hook, but to take over the song. Elsewhere it’s Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, or Sharon Van Etten, or Mina Tindle or Kate Stables of This Is the Kit, or varying combinations of them. The Brooklyn Youth Choir, whom Bryce Dessner had worked with before. There are choral arrangements and strings on nearly every track, largely put together by Bryce in Paris—not a negation of the band’s dramatic tendencies, but a redistribution of them.

                “Yes, there are a lot of women singing on this, but it wasn't because, ‘Oh, let's have more women's voices,’ says Berninger. “It was more, ‘Let's have more of a fabric of people's identities.’ It would have been better to have had other male singers, but my ego wouldn't let that happen.”

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xColoured LP Info: Indies only 140gram clear vinyl – limited edition, one pressing only.

                3xDeluxe LP Info: 140g set on opaque red / yellow / grey colours.
                5th side contains 22 minutes of music from the I Am Easy To Find Original Film Score – EXCLUSIVE to this format.
                Etching on the 6th side.
                Tri-fold LP jacket.
                3x printed innersleeves.
                24 page booklet.
                24” x 24” poster folder.
                Housed in printed plastic sleeve.

                2xLP Info: Black vinyl.

                Bert Innis National Recording Orchestra & Mighty Sparrow

                Slave / The Slave

                “Slave” is a dark instrumental of Sparrow’s “The Slave” from 1963 by Bert Inniss National Recording Orchestra with backing vocals by March of Dimes Quartet. It was the first release on the National label, which would become Sparrow’s home from 1963 to 1967; Spicy, rhythmic, mournful, classic, full of emotions.

                “The Slave” was taken from the same title album released in 1963. This album marks a new era in the matchless career of Sparrow. He could not have launched his National Recording Company on a higher note. “The Slave” is a gem of composition and one of the most memorable works created by a calypsonian in this generation. Maybe it will remain historically significant in the traditional musical development of Trinidad & Tobago for generations. The song is a scathing telling of the fate of slaves in Britain's West Indian colonies. If you've ever wondered where calypso came from this song will tell you. You can actually feel the emotions of the Slaves being expressed in this great Calypso. The genius Mighty Sparrow has taken us back to the plantations so that we can get a front seat view of the hardships of slavery. This narration in song is a must for all students of history in Trinidad & Tobago.

                Many of the world's great craftsmen have, at one time or another, created works which were not entirely free from flaws. An astonishing exception in this respect is the greatest calypsonian Mighty Sparrow. From the day he skyrocketed to fame with his composition “Jean And Dinah” in 1956, Slinger Francisco has not made a weak calypso. All of his long-play records have been best-sellers throughout the Caribbean, in the United Kingdom, the United States and even in Europe.

                The National return with their much anticipated seventh album, produced by Aaron Dessner, with additional production by Matt Berninger and Bryce Dessner. The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron’s Long Pond studio in Hudson Valley, NY.

                While in some ways it’s typically National-sounding, they’ve definitely added some new elements to their sound. Opening track “Nobody Else Will Be There” is a stripped back ballad with melancholic piano, and Matt’s distinct vocals, but the electronics pulsing away in the background are a sign of what’s to come with the album.

                All the usual elements are there, intricate guitars, delicate piano keys, scatter-shot drums and of course Matt’s mumbling/crooning baritone, but a new layer of electronics bubbling away in the mix adds a new dimension to their sound.

                As with the last couple of albums, it features mostly fairly downtempo ballads but they do ramp things up from time to time: “Day I Die”, “They System Only Dreams In Total” and the big rock-out track of the album, “Turtleneck”. It’s taken a few listens to get into it, but as a fan I’m certainly not disappointed.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xColoured LP Info: INDIE EXCLUSIVE limited run edition pressed on BLUE vinyl. Comes in a gatefold sleeve, and includes a download card and poster.

                2xLP Info: Standard edition pressed on white vinyl. Comes in a gatefold sleeve, and includes a download card and poster.

                * First ever anthology
                * Remastered from original sources
                * 2xLP housed in a deluxe gatefold tip-on jacket with 20-pg book, and download card full full anthology
                * Vinyl cut by John Golden and pressed at RTI
                * CD housed in a deluxe gatefold tip-on jacket with 48-pg book
                * Scholarly liner notes by Punk In Africa director Keith Jones
                * Unseen photos, flyers, and band ephemera

                The South Africa of the late 1970s was neither the right place nor time to launch a mixed-race punk band. Yet, following the student-inspired Soweto Uprising of 1976, it was also exactly the right conditions to foster a band like National Wake, one formed in an underground commune, and one whose very name exists in protest at the divisive, racist apartheid regime. Never before collected together, Light In The Attic is set to release National Wake’s full body of work as Walk In Africa 1979-81.

                Featured heavily in the Punk In Africa documentary, National Wake played punk, reggae and tropical funk, equally at home in the city’s rock underground and the township nightclub circuit. Ivan Kadey started the band with two brothers, Gary and Punka Khoza. The three were from different worlds –while Ivan was an outsider, a Jewish orphan born in the traditional Johannesburg immigrant neighborhood, Gary, Punka and their family were forcibly moved to the troubled township of Soweto under the apartheid regime. Later joined by guitarist Steve Moni, the whole band grew up against a backdrop of township unrest, social upheaval and suburban tedium that characterized apartheid-era South Africa.

                National Wake released just one album, in 1981. It sold approximately 700 copies before being withdrawn under government pressure. The band subsequently disintegrated, but their influence could be traced in the racially mixed post-punk underground centered around Rockey Street in Johannesburg throughout the 1980s, their legacy transmitted through fanzines and underground cassette trading.

                Sadly, Gary and Punka Khoza both passed away in their 40s. Kadey now works as an architect in Los Angeles, but his attention eventually turned back to the band as their legacy grew in the digital era, with the emergence of specialized music websites and Punk In Africa leading to their rediscovery. Czech State Radio memorably described the band as “perhaps the most dissident music scene of the 20th century: a multi-racial punk band in a fascist police state.”

                In 2011, Kadey re-released the band’s self-titled album, but spoke about having more than 20 tracks that had never seen the light of day –until now. “All of these recordings put together they speak of the whole evolution of the band,” he has said. “From a sort of naive, almost belief that we could miraculously change everything to realizing what a struggle it was, and what the country was going through and what it would go through.”

                This is the sixth studio album for the Brooklyn band, and follows 2010’s High Violet, which was No 2 in our Albums of The Year, that year.

                In an interview with UK’s Uncut Magazine, front man Matt Berninger described the songs as more “immediate and visceral” than their previous work. Trouble Will Find Me possesses a directness, a coherency and an approachability that suggests The National are at their most confident.

                After a 22-month tour following the release of High Violet the band returned home. Regardless of plans to wait to record new music for another year or two, guitarist Aaron Dessner began working on sketches of new songs that the other members were too inspired by to not fully realise. Matt confesses, “For the past ten years we’d been chasing something, wanting to prove something. And this chase was about trying to disprove our own insecurities. After touring High Violet, I think we felt like we’d finally gotten there. Now we could relax—not in terms of our own expectations but we didn’t have to prove our identity any longer.” The results are simultaneously breakthrough and oddly familiar, the culmination of an artistic journey that has led The National both to a new crest and, somehow, back to their beginnings—when, says Aaron, “our ideas would immediately click with each other. It’s free-wheeling again. The songs on one level are our most complex, and on another they’re our most simple and human. It just feels like we’ve embraced the chemistry we have.” The album was recorded at Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, NY. Trouble Will Find Me was self-produced and mixed by Craig Silvey with additional mixing from Peter Katis and Marcus Paquin.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                says: With every album The National have pushed on and made a more ambitious album, constantly upping the ante with bigger arrangements and a bigger sound. So how on earth were the going to follow High Violet?
                Well, it seems they’ve finally come to terms with who and where they are as a band and made an album that reflects that. The Dressner brothers intricate arrangements are still there, as are the distinctive scatter-shot drum patterns (described perfectly by film director DA Pennebaker as “like rain falling through the leaves of a tree”) and of course Matt Berninger’s rich baritone rolls effortlessly over it all, but “Trouble Will Find Me” is a more relaxed, streamlined collection, and this stripping back gives the songs room to breathe and emphasises just how good they are at what they do. There may be less angst here than in the past, but the romanticism and melancholy are still there and for me, once again they've come up with one of the best albums of the year.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xLP Info: Double gatefold heavy vinyl with printed inner sleeve.

                2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

                The National

                The Virginia EP

                  ‘The Virginia EP’ is a collection of B-sides and rarities from the band’s ‘Boxer’ period, originally available on CD when it was included as an accompaniment to the Vincent Moon filmed ‘A Skin, A Night’ DVD release of 2008.

                  The National

                  High Violet - Expanded Edition

                  The album opens with the slow drums and mournful vocals of “Terrible Love” but from the start there’s a simmering intensity that builds and eventually explodes into crashing cymbals, pummelling drums, distorted guitars and layered vocals. A dramatic entrance to The National’s fifth album. But it’s not all this heavy, as with their previous releases it’s an album of mood swings. Where “Terrible Love” was explosive, second track “Sorrow” is mournful and melodic.
                  And while the album changes mood and tempo, at times warm and intimate at others dramatic, propelled by off beat drum rhythms, there’s always a palpable intensity. I read recently that they find it hard to finish songs, with one or other band member frequently rejecting material. Whether the atmosphere created here is the cause or result of this I don’t know, but either way it works perfectly. Despite Matt’s melancholy, there’s something really uplifting about this collection of beautifully crafted mini epics.

                  FORMAT INFORMATION

                  2xLtd CD Info: As well as the original eleven-track album, the expanded version will be come with a bonus disc of eight songs featuring an alternate version of "High Violet" opening track "Terrible Love", two brand new tracks "Wake Up Your Saints" and "You Were A Kindness", B-sides "Walk Off" and "Sin-Eaters", as well as three live recordings.

                  The album opens with the slow drums and mournful vocals of “Terrible Love” but from the start there’s a simmering intensity that builds and eventually explodes into crashing cymbals, pummelling drums, distorted guitars and layered vocals.
                  A dramatic entrance to The National’s fifth album. But it’s not all this heavy, as with their previous releases it’s an album of mood swings. Where “Terrible Love” was explosive, second track “Sorrow” is mournful and melodic.
                  And while the album changes mood and tempo, at times warm and intimate at others dramatic, propelled by off beat drum rhythms, there’s always a palpable intensity. I read recently that they find it hard to finish songs, with one or other band member frequently rejecting material. Whether the atmosphere created here is the cause or result of this I don’t know, but either way it works perfectly. Despite Matt’s melancholy, there’s something really uplifting about this collection of beautifully crafted mini epics.


                  STAFF COMMENTS

                  says: A bona fide classic, and possibly the summit of The National's already majestic canon. Moody, introspective and deeply involving, "High Violet" manages to be both clever and inventive and at the same time focused in it's somewhat bleak expression. A work of troubled genius whose (very) high points, "Afraid of Everyone", "Bloodbuzz Ohio" and the sublime "Conversation 16" would grace pretty much any album, ever. It is really that good.

                  The National

                  A Skin, A Night / Virginia

                    This double disc set features an exclusive DVD by French director Vincent Moon (aka Mathieu Saura, renowned for his 'Take Away Shows' at La Blogotheque and video work with R.E.M. & Arcade Fire), "A Skin, A Night" is a highly unusual documentary replete with behind-the-scenes footage of The National on tour and in the studio. Completing the package, "The Virginia CD EP", features 12 tracks including B-sides, demos, a session track, live tracks and one new studio recording, a cover of Caroline Martin's "Without Permission".

                    The National

                    Boxer

                      The National's 2005 album "Alligator" saw them fulfil the promise shown on their previous two albums, and set the bar impossibly high for their follow up.

                      However, with "Boxer" they've created something quite stunning, in fact the opening three tracks, "Fake Empire", "Mistaken For Strangers" and "Brainy" are possibly their best songs ever. A taut rhythm section is present throughout, and complements the languid vocals and lush string arrangements perfectly. Although the strings and Matt Berninger's distinctive drawl create a solemn mood, there are plenty of upbeat moments here too, creating a rich anthemic album with just the right amount of melancholy.

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      LP Info: One of a series of vinyl re-presses from Beggars Banquet. Yellow vinyl.

                      The National

                      Alligator

                        These five Cincinnati friends recorded two albums and a mini album for Brassland before signing to Beggars Banquet. Their last effort, "Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers", was touted as one of the year's best by Rolling Stone and other magazines.

                        The National contains two pairs of brothers - Aaron Dessner (guitars, bass) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (guitar, bass), Bryan Devendorf (drums) and singer Matt Berninger. Matt's potent baritone intones about matters fraught and funny and sad; about record collections, missing persons and medium-sized American hearts. The songs are intense, and emotive but generally quite restrained, but on one or two tracks, this intensity spills out into a superbly abrasive blast of emotion, before ebbing back into mellowness. Wonderful!

                        STAFF COMMENTS

                        says: An absolutely awesome album - one of my albums of the year in 2005 when it was originally released. Although it's perhaps a little less 'polished' than "High Violet" it still has that same compelling, claustrophic intensity too it.

                        FORMAT INFORMATION

                        LP Info: One of a series of vinyl re-presses from Beggars Banquet. Fluorescent yellow/green vinyl.

                        LP includes MP3 Download Code.


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