The National are a Brooklyn-based indie rock band formed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1999. The band's lyrics are written and sung by Matt Berninger in a distinctive baritone. The rest of the band is composed of two pairs of brothers: Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Scott and Bryan Devendorf. Aaron plays guitar, bass and piano, Bryce plays guitar, Scott plays bass and guitar, and Bryan is the drummer. Padma Newsome, from sister band Clogs, often contributes strings, keyboards, and other arrangements and instrumental flourishes.
Their first album "The National" was released in 2001 on Brassland Records, a label founded by band members Aaron and Bryce Dessner, along with their friend Alec Hanley Bemis. The National's sophomore album "Sad Songs" for Dirty Lovers, released in 2003, was the band's first collaboration with record producer, Peter Katis, who would later also produce the band's critically acclaimed albums, "Alligator" and "Boxer." In 2004 the band quit their day jobs and signed to a new label, Beggars Banquet Records. Their first album on Beggars Banquet, "Alligator," was released in 2005 and has gone on to sell over 200,000 copies worldwide.
Their fourth album, "Boxer," was released on May 22, 2007, and features contributions from various guest artists, including Sufjan Stevens and Doveman (a.k.a. Thomas Bartlett). It was voted as the #2 best album of the year by Stereogum.com and the #1 album of the year by "Paste" magazine.
The band's fifth studio album "High Violet" was released on May 11, 2010. "High Violet" sold 51,000 copies in its first week of sales, charting at #3 on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. This marks The National's highest charting effort yet.