- READ MORE: The National on new music: “It’s the whole history of the band, but with a new exploration”
Pictures of posters advertising the new song began to circulate online, with the band later confirming their legitimacy by changing their cover photos on social media to include the same artwork.
Now The National have taken to Instagram to provide more information to fans, as well as a release date.
“Last spring, the band reconvened at Long Pond to begin writing and recording new music that we’ve been working on ever since,” the statement reads.
“‘Weird Goodbyes’ featuring Bon Iver felt like the right track to share first and is one of a handful of new songs we’ve been performing on tour this summer. We’re so grateful to our friend Justin Vernon for joining us on this song.”
The post also revealed that the single will be released worldwide at 9am PST / 12pm EST / 5pm UK on Monday, August 22. You can pre-save ‘Weird Goodbyes’ here.
The band have been performing ‘Weird Goodbyes’ live, sans the guest spot from Bon Iver – which, presumably, will comprise some of its lyrics being sung by Justin Vernon – since late May. They played it for the first time in Pamplona, Spain on May 28 – the first National show to go down in three years – where it was billed on the setlist as ‘Bathwater (Mount Auburn)’.
It’s been performed at seven show since, including this week’s headliner in Dillon, Colorado and at the Outlandia festival on Friday (August 12). The first show to have it printed on the setlist as ‘Weird Goodbyes’ was the Cooperstown, New York date of their current North American tour, which they played on July 20. They’ve been performing other new songs, too, including ones titled ‘Grease In Your Hair’ and ‘Space Invaders’.
This comes after The National guitarist Bryce Dessner told NME about what to expect from the band’s new material earlier this week.
Quizzed on his previous comments that the new music they’d been penning had a “classic National sound“, the guitarist remarked: “I think that is true, but other things are true as well. What I can say is that we’re at a high watermark in terms of our creativity as a band. There’s a lot happening, and a lot of music. We’re allowing ourselves to dream about it, take risks, try things and give the songs time to develop.”
“It’s starting to become something we’re really excited about. It’s hard to say what shape it will take, but there’s a ton there.”
Dessner also said that there were traces of elements from many of their past records, but also with room to grow.
“The songs are vulnerable and direct like on ‘Boxer’, but with experimental moments like ‘Sleep Well Beast’ and raw moments like ‘Alligator’,” he said. “In a way, it’s the whole history of the band but with a new exploration in it. Some of them are our most accessible, others are more poetic with different arrangements.”
The guitarist also teased that the new material might not necessarily take the form of an album, and that he couldn’t say when more new music might be released.
“I don’t know exactly what shape it will take, because it’s more than a record, but it’s getting close,” he said. “New music will be imminent, but I can’t say when. We have more songs that we need, which is a good thing.”
Earlier this week, the band were joined at two shows by Bartees Strange, who delivered guest vocals on a rendition of ‘Mistaken For Strangers’. He teamed up with Matt Berninger and co. to perform the ‘Boxer’ standout at concerts in Calgary and Missoula, marking somewhat of a full-circle moment for Strange: before releasing his debut album (‘Live Forever’) in 2020, he dropped an EP of five National covers titled ‘Say Goodbye To Pretty Boy’.
The National play London’s Victoria Park for All Points East on Friday August 26, before Manchester’s Depot Mayfield on Saturday August 27 and Connect Festival in Edinburgh on Sunday August 28. Visit here for tickets and more information.