When the National have a new song, they have a habit of adding it to their live shows right away, sometimes months or years before a studio version comes out. The National always take years between albums, and Sleep Well Beast, their last one, is still less than a year old, so we shouldn’t expect anything new from them anytime soon. But they’ve already got one song locked and ready to go. And last night, they played it live for the first time.
Last night was the second night of the National’s Homecoming Festival, in their original hometown of Cincinnati. The band headlined two nights of the festival, the second of which was last night, and as previously announced, they played their 2007 classic Boxer in full. (That’s after a day of music that also featured sets from Feist, Future Islands, Moses Sumney, Big Thief, and Julien Baker, among others. The National put on a show!) During their set, the National collaborated a handful of time with two other Homecoming artists, Lisa Hannigan and Ben Sloan, and they also debuted their new jam “Light Years.”
“Light Years,” it appears, is a meditative and soulful slow-burner, one of those quiet National songs that gets under your skin. The band played it as part of a pretty long set after they’d already gotten done with Boxer. Watch an impressively clear and complete fan-made video below.
Don’t hold your breath for a new National album, but know, at least, that there’s new music out there in the universe.