beth_onusko-small.jpgI’ve just made the acquaintance of The National’s new release, High Violet. Though I’ve only heard the entire album a few times, I feel as though I’ve listened to and loved this CD for years. Which is not to say that High Violet is a throwback or an imitation—rather, it feels grounded and oddly familiar, thanks in large part to Matt Berninger’s earthy baritone. This album is contemplative without being cloying, yearning without being whiny. It deserves the international attention it’s getting.

Bio: Elizabeth Onusko is Guernica’s assistant publisher. Read her last recommendation of the album LateNightTales “here”:

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One Comment on “Rec Room: Elizabeth Onusko: High Violet

  1. What does the following sentence mean? “Though I’ve only heard the entire album a few times, I feel as though I’ve listened to and loved this CD for years.”

    I agree that the album is great, but I read this kind of sentiment in music reviews a lot — I only just started listening to it but it feels so familiar! — and never know what to make of it. I’m reminded of this Pitchfork comment about Vampire Weekend’s debut: “This record was officially released in January [2008], but at this point it seems like we’ve had it– and the hot-fuss backlash that accompanied it– for years.” This sounds like the writer, Scott Plagenhoef, means that the music is the best version of sonic patterns we already know. Is this really what you or he mean?

    Both High Violet and Vampire Weekend are great albums, but they’re not great because they sit comfortably in sonic patterns we already know and expect. Rather, the two bands’ ability to astonish us with new-sounding rock is what makes them both two of the best rock acts in recent memory.

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