The National & Frightened Rabbit Unite For The Ultimate Melancholy-White-Dude Tour

Good news for any sad-sack caucasians out there who enjoy music that tenderly removes your heart and takes it apart like a pocket watch and leaves the pieces scattered on the floor: Scottish quintet Frightened Rabbit, who had a strong showing with Pedestrian Verse in February, and The National, who drop their new album Trouble Will Find Me later this month, will join forces this fall to make you feel your feelings.

And while Frightened Rabbit is certainly capable of devastating you with the recorded version of their scrape and jangle, nothing can compare to the ferocity (or raw vulnerability) of their live shows. Witness this recent half-hour set from SXSW, which veers from blistering squall to stripped-down ballads. “Backyard Skulls,” a new song that comes around the four-minute mark, is a highlight.

Meanwhile, The National – maybe to assuage the pains of having to promote a new album – have been getting fairly conceptual with their old stuff. On May 5th, over at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, they played the song “Sorrow” from High Violet for six hours straight—105 times in all—with drummer Bryan Devendorf sitting out a single performance. Featuring a soulful, muted trumpet and cello-bowed guitar, it has the otherworldly grace of the band’s best work.

So, think you’re happy-go-lucky enough to withstand this double bill? Here are the dates you need to know:

9/8 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium

9/9 – Atlanta, GA @ Cobb Energy Centre

9/11 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore Charlotte

9/12 – Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium

9/13 – Louisville, KY @ Iroquois Amphitheater

9/15 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theatre

9/17 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

9/21 – Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield Winery

9/22 – Vancouver, BC @ PNE Amphitheatre 

The National’s ‘Sorrow,’ for Six Hours Straight at MoMA

This is your brain on The National. You wake up, and the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping, and you actually got a seat on the bus or the train to work and it’s not because you’re accidentally sitting in pee. You got a text from someone you like. Everything is going well. Your smile is big and obnoxious. And then you accidentally listen to High Violet and suddenly you become a hung-over, sobbing mess.

This is obviously an extreme, but whether you’re trying to convey a lingering, sad-bastard, rainy-movie-scene sort of sorrow or something a bit deeper and existential, the kind of sorrow other languages than English have words for, The National tends to be a go-to band. So it’s pretty unsurprising that when Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson wanted to incorporate a singular work speaking to “romantic suffering and contemporary Weltschmerz” (German for “world pain”) into his piece A Lot of Sorrow for the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1, he goes with The National. Specifically, their gutting 2010 number “Sorrow,” performed live on a loop, for six hours straight.

As written on the MoMA website:

“As in all of Kjartansson’s performances, the idea behind A Lot of Sorrow is devoid of irony, yet full of humor and emotion. It is another quest to find the comic in the tragic and vice versa.”

If “by finding comic in the tragic” they mean “a bunch of people are gonna write snarky blog and Twitter posts about an attempt at an earnest meditation on sorrow,” then that’s a pretty apt description. And to the brave intern someone will inevitably make livetweet this experience, or suggest doing so themselves out of some duty to intense experiences, it’s okay to say “no” sometimes. You can leave. It’s okay.

[via ANIMAL New York]