The National Surprise-Release New Album “Laugh Track,” Stream It Here | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, June 12th, 2024  

The National Surprise-Release New Album “Laugh Track,” Stream It Here

Laugh Track Out Now via 4AD and Features Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver, and Rosanne Cash

Sep 18, 2023 Photography by Graham MacIndoe Bookmark and Share

The National have surprise-released a new album, Laugh Track. It’s the band’s second album of 2023, following the April release of First Two Pages of Frankenstein, and is out now digitally via 4AD. The album features Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver, and Rosanne Cash. Stream it below. Also below are the band’s upcoming tour dates. Plus the band has shared an animated video for the album’s “Deep End (Paul’s in Pieces)” and you can also watch that below.

Laugh Track includes two songs the band shared in August, “Alphabet City” and “Space Invader.” “Alphabet City” was one of our Songs of the Week. It also features the band’s 2022 single, “Weird Goodbyes,” which was a collaboration with Bon Iver (the project led by Justin Vernon), but was surprisingly not featured First Two Pages of Frankenstein.

“It felt like the story had already been told. It was its own thing,” says the band’s Aaron Dessner of “Weird Goodbyes” and why it was held for the new album. “But it also felt related to what we were doing. That was part of the logic for making another record—let’s give ‘Weird Goodbyes’ its own home.”

Laugh Track originates from the First Two Pages of Frankenstein sessons and is regarded as a companion album (even the album covers are almost identical). The band recorded at producer Tucker Martine’s Portland studio, Flora Recording & Playback, with the nearly eight-minute album closer “Smoke Detector” being recorded in June during a soundcheck in Vancouver.

The band features frontman Matt Berninger, as well as two sets of brothers: Aaron Dessner (guitar/piano/bass) and Bryce Dessner (piano, guitar), and Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

Aaron Dessner says The National has often resisted making a full-on rock record, but leaned more into that notion this time, with the drums having a more prominenet role. “It’s not because we don’t enjoy sitting in a room banging around ideas. It’s just that it wasn’t that productive, so we developed a fairly elaborate way of building songs in which [drummer] Bryan [Devendorf] had a very important but compartmentalized role,” he says. “This time we had the desire to make something that was more alive so that Bryan’s playing would drive more.”

Matt Berninger says of their approach to making Laugh Track: “Let’s just turn everything off and walk away. Bail out of your head, of all the things you’re worried about, your career, your whole identity, how strong you thought you were.”

Read our review review of First Two Pages of Frankenstein here. Stream the album here.

The National’s previous album, I Am Easy to Find, came out in 2019 via 4AD.

Read our 2018 interview with The National.

Read our 2017 interview with The National on Sleep Well Beast.

Laugh Track Tracklist:

1. Alphabet City
2. Deep End (Paul’s in Pieces)
3. Weird Goodbyes (feat. Bon Iver)
4. Turn Off the House
5. Dreaming
6. Laugh Track (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
7. Space Invader
8. Hornets
9. Coat on a Hook
10. Tour Manager
11. Crumble (feat. Rosanne Cash)
12. Smoke Detector

The National Tour Dates:

September 21 – Dublin, IRE – 3 Arena *
September 23 – Leeds, UK – First Direct Arena *
September 24 – Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro Arena *
September 26 – London, UK – Alexandra Palace * SOLD OUT
September 27 – London, UK – Alexandra Palace * SOLD OUT
September 29 – Amsterdam, NL – Ziggo Dome ^ SOLD OUT
September 30 – Berlin, DE – Max-Schmeling-Halle ^ SOLD OUT
October 1 – Munich, DE – Zenith ^
October 4 – Madrid, ES – WiZink Center ^
October 5 – Porto, PT – Super Bock Arena ^ SOLD OUT
October 6 – Lisbon, PT – Campo Pequeno ^ SOLD OUT
October 7 – Lisbon, PT – Campo Pequeno ^
November 10 – San Francisco, CA – Bill Graham Civic Auditorium %
November 11 – San Diego, CA – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre %
November 13 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Financial Theatre %
November 14 – Albuquerque, NM – Kiva Auditorium %
November 16 – Tulsa, OK – Tulsa Theater%
November 17 – Austin, TX – Moody Center %
November 18 – Houston, TX – Lawn at White Oak %
November 19 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory %
February 28, 2024 – Brisbane, Australia – Riverstage ~
March 1, 2024 – Sydney, Australia – Aware Super Theatre ~
March 5, 2024 – Melbourne, Australia – Sidney Myer Music Bowl ~
March 9, 2024 – Perth, Australia – Kings Park & Botanic Garden~

*Soccer Mommy
^ Bartees Strange
% Hand Habits
~ Very Special Guests Fleet Foxes, Annie Hamilton

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