Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Waxed - Record Review from Issue #36 Nov-Dec 2001

The National

Self-Titled (Brassland)

Originally from Ohio and now based in New York, The National has created nearly a dozen picture-perfect Americana bar-soaked gems with its debut album. From the opening notes of “Beautiful Head”, the delicate line between polished roots-oriented pop and alt-country has rarely been walked so deliberately with the payoff so favorable.

Singer Matt Berninger will draw comparisons to Leonard Cohen at times, but Ryan Adams and even Tom Waits come to mind in certain instances. Particularly pretty is “American Mary”, which veers toward Wilco territory minus the spacey guitar-jangle climax.

Most of the songs revolve around booze, women and the difficulties and joys of both, including “Bitters & Absolut” and the twangy “Watching You Well”, the latter reminiscent of the Rolling Stones circa Let It Bleed. Only on “Son” does the idea of filler rear its ugly head.

The highlight by far is “Theory Of The Crows”, a slowly building waltz through everyday impersonal life and youthful dreams dashed. “And if I forget you/I’ll have nobody left to forget/I guess that’s what assholes get,” Berninger utters over a simple front-porch backbeat. Listening to it, you can imagine him ordering another double.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #36 Nov-Dec 2001

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • No Depression Is Getting a Facelift: A Note About What's Around the Bend
    Ever since we announced that No Depression had been acquired by FreshGrass back in March, we’ve heard from many of you with questions, concerns, and ideas about the future of this website and the community that gathers here. We created a forum topic at that time so we could organize these comments and refer to them frequently, which we have done as we’ve dev […]
  • Getting to Know Ashley Sofia -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Have you ever had the feeling that a musician may have traveled through space and time during a recording project?  Music critics and fans are hailing Ashley Sofia as a 21st century reincarnation of the Laurel Canyon folk-rock sound  on the early 1970s. Ashley’s songwriting and captivating voice make for a great combination; she’s definitely worth a… […]
  • Learning Songwriting at the Feet of Steve Earle
    Steve Earle has his eye on the history books. Not for himself, necessarily - though I doubt he’d object - but for his art form, “songwriting as literature.” With Camp Copperhead, Steve seemed to be trying to secure this form a place in history. “Four days of singing and songwriting,” the marketing materials promised. “Hard core.” I’m a non-professional songw […]
  • Jack Clement – For Once And For All (Album Review)
    Allen, Reynolds,A laid back, masterful collection of familiar Clement penned country classics. A decade of Clement penned originals plus a pair of co-writes grace this late music legend’s third solo collection, released just short of a year after his passing aged 82. Memphis raised Jack Henderson Clement launched his career with the renowned imprint Sun Reco […]
  • Wise Old Moon - The Patterns (Album Review)
    Wise Old Moon. Sounds like a tall tale from an old children’s story book. Perhaps the namesake of a tavern or bookstore in a New England town that hasn’t quite caught up with time yet? But in this case it’s the name of a young and truly gifted roots music outfit from the Connecticut area. Every so often a record comes along that makes you happy this kind of […]
  • Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I, II & III 2014 Remasters (Album Review)
    Has any music reviewer ever missed the mark more than John Mendelsohn in his 1969 Rolling Stone critique of Led Zeppelin’s scorching, finely honed debut? After calling the album self-indulgent, he labeled Jimmy Page “a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs” and dismissed Robert Plant’s “strained and unconvincing shouting.” The album […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter