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XPN Free At Noon: Graham Parker and The National

Comcast is a proud supporter of WXPN and XPN's Free At Noon Concert Series!
Made possible by XPN Members, NPR Music and Comcast

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Martin Sexton This Free at Noon features British rocker Graham Parker, headlining with The National. Parker is perhaps best known for his days on top the UK charts while heading the New Wave outfit Graham Parker & the Rumour in the '70s.

Parker started off like many eventual chart-toppers: working a string of dead-end jobs while singing in local gigs. He recorded a few great demos, those demos fell into the right hands, and soon Parker had label and a backing band. From then on, it was nothing but up.

The band released a total of seven albums, and all were highly acclaimed. Parker's early-life influences (Motown, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison) played a part in the creation of his New Wave style, but there's no question that Parker's style was one-of-a-kind. Much of Parker's discography at this time has made numerous best-of lists, but "Squeezing Out Sparks" was perhaps the most welcomed. Some fans believe it is the best album of his career, and was recently named by Rolling Stone on their 500 greatest albums of all time list.

After Parker left the Rumours in the early '80s, he continued on solo. He's also published a substantial amount of literature. Lately, instead of slowing down, it seems like the author-musician has only been fueling his creative processes. His latest album, 'Imaginary Television', is something of a concept album, written around TV storylines, and full of reminiscing and introspection. It's mellow, but it's got a lot of great hooks throughout--one of Parker's specialities.

Recent Release: Imaginary Television
Release Date: March 16, 2010
Label: Bloodshot Records
Origin: Los Angeles, CA

Free At Noon Setlist
1. Ambiguous
2. Not Where You Think You Are
3. It’s My Party (But I Won’t Cry)
4. Heat Treatment

Visit NPR Music to hear the concert.

Eli Featuring intricate wordplay, catchy choruses, and complimentary instrumental arrangements, it’s no wonder The National have been compared to everyone from Tindersticks to The Pixes.

Formed in 1999 by five friends from Cincinnati, Ohio, the Brooklyn-based indie rock band is comprised of vocalist Matt Berninger and two sets of brothers: Aaron & Rice Dessner, and Scott & Bryan Devendorf.

Released in 2001, their self-titled debut album received a considerable amount of attention for combining country folk with traditional rock. Following a string of live shows, a second album, and a growing fan base, the band released their third album 'Alligator' in 2005, a work described by vocalist Matt Berninger as a “euphoric disconnection”. The album received widespread acclaim, appearing on many end-of-year best album lists and included well-known songs “Mr. November” and “Abel”. Their second album was just as much a hit. 'Boxer' had contributions from Sufjan Stevens on the piano and Padma Newsome (The Clogs), and critics and fans again welcomed it with open arms--it was named best album of the year by Paste Magazine, sold 180,000 copies in the US alone, and brought the band even further into the spotlight.

Since the release of 'Boxer', the five-some has played with the likes of Modest Mouse, REM, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, to name a few. They released 'The Virginia EP', made their first tour documentary, and hit up numerous festivals. In 2008, The National announced that work had commenced on their fifth studio album. 'High Violet' debuted this May, to the now customary critical acclaim. It's been called the third masterpiece in a row for The National, perhaps the best offering of the Brooklyn-based outfit to date. Incredible lyrics, Matt Berninger's distinctive, emotive baritone, and the instrumental capabilities of each member are maximally utilized. It might be too early to tell, but if reactions stay the same, this could be the album of the year.

Currently The National is touring in support of 'High Violet', with stops throughout the US and then Europe. Don't miss them this Free at Noon as they perform with British rocker Graham Parker.

Recent Release: High Violet
Release Date: May 10, 2010
Label: 4AD
Band Origin: Cincinnati, Ohio

Free At Noon Setlist
1. Bloodbuzz Ohio
2. Afraid of Everyone
3. Runaway
4. Terrible Love

Visit NPR Music to hear the concert.

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