The National – “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” Video

Way back in November 2015, we published a lengthy cover story on the National’s progress toward the follow-up to 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me. Eighteen months later, the band is finally ready to start sharing music from that album, which we learned just hours ago is called Sleep Well Beast and is coming in September. (That’s the album art up top.)

The first single is “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness,” one of the new tracks the band teased this week. Although the other teaser was more in line with reports of electronic experimentation, this song strikes me as a middle-aged answer to the loose, youthful aggression that characterized Alligator, from its piercing blasts of lead guitar to the rhythm section’s casual swagger. Check it out below in a music video directed by Casey Reas.

A press release indicates Sleep Well Beast was produced by Aaron Dessner with co-production by Bryce Dessner and Matt Berninger. Here’s the tracklist:

01 “Nobody Else Will Be There”
02 “Day I Die”
03 “Walk It Back”
04 “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness”
05 “Born To Beg”
06 “Turtleneck”
07 “Empire Line”
08 “I’ll Still Destroy You”
09 “Guilty Party”
10 “Carin At The Liquor Store”
11 “Dark Side Of The Gym”
12 “Sleep Well Beast”

After a couple European festivals this summer, the National will tour extensively this fall on both sides of the Atlantic. Every ticket includes a digital copy of Sleep Well Beast to be delivered on release day. Here are the dates:

06/21 Glastonbury Festival – Glastonbury, UK
08/12 HAVEN Festival – Copenhagen, DENMARK
09/16 Cork Opera House / Sounds From a Safe Harbour – Cork, IRELAND
09/17 Vicar Street – Dublin, IRELAND
09/18 Vicar Street – Dublin, IRELAND
09/20 Usher Hall – Edinburgh, UK
09/21 Usher Hall – Edinburgh, UK
09/22 O2 Apollo – Manchester, UK
09/23 O2 Apollo – Manchester, UK
09/25 Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
09/26 Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
09/27 Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
09/28 Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
10/05 Wang Theatre – Boston, MA
10/06 Forest Hills Stadium – New York, NY
10/11 Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA
10/12 CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre – San Diego, CA
10/14 Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA
10/21 Elbphilharmonie – Hamburg, GERMANY
10/23 Tempodrom – Berlin, GERMANY
10/24 Tempodrom – Berlin, GERMANY
10/25 AFAS Live – Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
10/28 Coliseum – Lisbon, PORTUGAL
10/30 Bozar – Brussels, BELGIUM
10/31 Bozar – Brussels, BELGIUM
11/02-04 Pitchfork Paris, Paris FRANCE
11/04 Annexet – Stockholm, SWEDEN
11/05 Annexet – Stockholm, SWEDEN
11/06 Sentrum Scene – Oslo, NORWAY
11/07 Sentrum Scene – Oslo, NORWAY
11/27 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – Portland, OR
11/28 Paramount Theatre – Seattle, WA
11/29 Paramount Theatre – Seattle, WA
12/01 Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver BC, CANADA
12/02 Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver BC, CANADA
12/04 Verizon Hall – Philadelphia, PA
12/07 Metropolis – Montreal QC, CANADA
12/08 Metropolis – Montreal QC, CANADA
12/09 Sony Centre – Toronto ON, CANADA
12/10 Hamilton Place Theatre – Hamilton ON, CANADA
12/12 Civic Opera House – Chicago, IL
12/13 Civic Opera House – Chicago, IL

Sleep Well Beast is out 9/8 on 4AD. Pre-order it here.

The National
CREDIT: Graham MacIndoe