New from Matt Berninger of The National: Watch a Video for ‘Distant Axis,’ from Berninger’s New Solo LP ‘Serpentine Prison’ Out 10/2


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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In late May, Matt Berningerfront man for esteemed indie/rock band The National — announced his first solo album, Serpentine Prison.

Due out Oct. 2 via Book Records, a new imprint of Concord Records formed by Berninger and Booker T. Jones (who produced the album), Serpentine Prison has now been previewed with two songs.

On Friday, the track “Distant Axis” was premiered online. Stream it below in the form of a music video directed by Matt Berninger, Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi:

“Distant Axis” was written by Berninger and Walter Martin of the Walkmen. Said Berninger of the song:

“I met Walter Martin fifteen years ago when The National opened for The Walkmen on a tour of shitty clubs in the American Southeast. On that tour I learned a lot about how to be in a band without ruining your life. I also learned a lot about Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. Walt and I have stayed friends and about three years ago we started passing ideas back and forth. ‘Distant Axis’ started from a sketch Walt sent me named ‘Savannah.’ I think it’s about falling out of touch with someone or something you once thought would be there forever.”

the title track from Serpentine Prison was premiered back when the album was first announced:

Some words from Berninger about the song and album, per a press release:

“The song ‘Serpentine Prison’ was written in December 2018 about a week after recording The National’s I Am Easy to Find,” Berninger explains about the new track. “For a long time I had been writing songs for movies and musicals and other projects where I needed to get inside someone else’s head and convey another person’s feelings. I liked doing that but I was ready to dig back into my own garbage and this was the first thing that came out.”

Berninger continues, “The title is from a twisting sewer pipe that drains into the ocean near LAX. There’s a cage on the pipe to keep people from climbing out to sea. I worked on the song with Sean O’Brien and Harrison Whitford and recorded it about six months later with Booker T. Jones producing. It feels like an epilogue so I named the record after it and put it last.

For Serpentine Prison, Matt Berninger incorporated contributions from several notable musicians in the studio, including:

Matt Barrick (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Andrew BirdMike BrewerHayden DesserScott Devendorf (The National), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Booker T. JonesTeddy JonesBrent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena), Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Walter Martin (The Walkmen, Jonathan Fire*Eater), Sean O’BrienMickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Matt Sheehy (EL VY, Lost Lander) and Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers).


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