The National: High Times

Big-time success takes the National by surprise: Aidin Vaziri | Matt Berninger is having a good week. No, make that a great week. His scrappy little Brooklyn-based rock band, the National, has been making the late-night rounds with David Lettermen and Jimmy Fallon. The band just kicked off its U.S. tour with two sold-out shows at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. And its first new album in three years, “High Violet,” premiered at No. 3 on the Billboard chart, bubbling under heavily hyped pop releases by Justin Bieber and Lady Antebellum. By the time the musicians open their two-night run at Oakland’s Fox Theater on Wednesday, they will be real-life rock stars. Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, Berninger says he could sense the band was on the verge of something big before they even entered guitarist Aaron Dessner’s home studio to record “High Violet.” But the whole chart thing? Well, that was totally unexpected. “I always thought that was a whole different music industry from the one we swim around in,” the frontman says. “It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like a duck wearing a bear’s costume.” Read more.

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