Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers

by The National

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about

Dear _______,

What Thomas Hardy did for women and Dr. Frankenstein did for the dead, we do for rock-and-roll on SAD SONGS FOR DIRTY LOVERS. It's a still life. Men and women in suspended animation: Tess Durbeyfield forever "throbbing and looking out at the meads"; Paris dithering, golden apple in hand. It's about pleasure wrapped in pain and "the blackness of unutterable night" that follows a sunny day.

The history: We came from Cincinnati (home of Pete Rose and the first Filet-O-Fish) to New York and ever-more expensive cigarettes. We started a band and recorded an album, never playing a gig. This time around we played and played and then recorded and recorded, and recorded some more, with Nick Lloyd again, at seven studios altogether: 1) Excello in Brooklyn. 2) overdubs in the penthouse of the Puck Building, whose panoroma includes David Bowie's, Thurston Moore's, and Moby's lofts-cum-homes. 3 & 4) two locales in and around New Haven, one a 17th-century salt box house in the woods (note: the crickets on "Sugar Wife" are aleatoric). 5) another Brooklyn studio, Headgear, where the ghosts of GISH and HOUSES OF THE HOLY haunt the boards. (They were inherited from Butch Vig. That's right, B-u-t-c-h.) 6) in Bryan's basement (w/workng fireplace). And finally, 7) mixing and recording still more with Peter Katis at Tarquin Studios* in Fairfield, Conn. Think: acres of strip malls, sexy mothers in SUVs, etc. There we exhumed dying tracks in Pro Tools; others we just let die.

We were very grateful to have additional personnel on hand: Clogs' Padma Newsome and his vampire opera of strings; Nick Lloyd's keyboards and calm center; Nate Martinez's slow hand; and "Steve" on mellophone and French horn. Thank you all.

The seasons turned from winter to spring, spring to summer, then summer gave way to fall. All were seen (or not seen) from the studio womb; we were learning the true value of things and proper conduct among others, sharing the same space for days at a time. It put me in mind of TWELVE ANGRY MEN or Skylab, of everyone who'd occupied the same couches and swivel chairs before us and thought, "Our shit is so hot ... I could go for some sesame chicken right about now."

Many thanks for your time and consideration.

Best,

Bryan Devendorf

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released 02 September 2003

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about

The National Brooklyn, New York

The National are a Brooklyn-based five-piece hailing from Ohio. The group contains two pairs of brothers -- Bryce Dessner (guitars), Aaron Dessner (bass, guitars), Scott Devendorf (bass, guitars), and Bryan Devendorf (drums) -- and features Matt Berninger on vocals. ... more

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