The National's Black Sessions - Paris 2005

Screw the Happy-Go-Lucky :
: Learning to Love the Gloom & Doom

Part of liking independent rock music, I am absolutely convinced, is that you have to listen to some pretty self indulgent "sad rock" at times. Not 24-7, but by God, you should love you some Ian Curtis and Joy Division and everybody should dig on Boston's Eldridge Rodriguez (Solo and The Beatings). Everyone should get a kick out of Gerry Miller's Letters and Colours (Sheffield, UK). And, you really need to get something from Matt Berninger's group - The National.

Now.... Stop. If you don't know all of these, it's not all over - but here then.... you have a shopping list - and for Christ's Sake - You do know Joy Division, right?!! Let's move on. These are each important to what's happening here in the world. It's the soft underbelly of indie rock. The negative to the positive charge. And god... So real.

Let's talk about The National. Cincinnati boys started out very small until they moved to Brooklyn and made profound sad-sack, self reflective music that even a positive thinker could dissolve into. Great.. Now, moving forward. 2007 - they release "Boxer." Great album - this new material; definitely one of the top twenty for the year. But, we have moved too far forward - let's focus on their development and the pre-"Alligator" album. Niceee. Perfect. And stop - the year is 2005 and the band appears in Paris and records a live performance in front of strangers. The show gets recorded and "The Black Session" as it is known, is released. Brilliant - these songs form the basis for all their entire future! Here you go:

Sprung from Ohio, Made it in NY, Recorded in France

The National's Must-Have "Black Sessions"


PARIS, FRANCE - April 29, 2005


The National - 01 All the Wine
The National - 02 Secret Meeting
The National - 03 Driver Surprise Me
The National - 04 Lit Up
The National - 05 - Cherry Tree
The National - 06 Baby, We'll Be Fine
The National - 07 Geese
The National - 08 City Middle
The National - 09 Looking for Astronauts
The National - 10 Mr. November
The National - 11 Daughters of the Soho Riots
The National - 12 Abel
The National - 13 Wasp Nest

The National website


Sean said…
excellent comparisons. I would add Michael Gira of the Swans. Love of Life is my favorite of their albums and I saw them put on a killer show at The Paradise Rock Club around that time when they had the drummer from (could be remembering wrong) Christian Death who was absurdly loud and outstanding.

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