The National’s Matt Berninger appeared on the latest edition of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon yesterday to perform “I’m Waiting For The Man”, a cover of the Velvet Underground classic (not, as Fallon relayed, a track from his recent solo album Serpentine Prison). You can check the performance out below.
Berninger has history with the Velvet Underground. In 2016, he and Andrew Bird covered Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day.” Berninger also recorded (and, on Booker T.’s advice, scrapped) a cover of “European Son,” from The Velvet Underground and Nico, for Serpentine Prison.
Earlier this month, Future Islands remixed Berninger’s “One More Second.” The National released their last LP, I Am Easy to Find, last year, and are reissuing parts of their early catalog on vinyl and CD early next year.
Serpentine Prison was released via Book’s Records in conjunction with Concord Records on October 16. In an NME interview about his solo material, the singer said that he’d been “really prolific” in his songwriting.
“I’ve been through a maximalist writing phase. I’m still writing way more than I ever did,” he said. “I’m like Bradley Cooper in Limitless or something. I’ve been editing myself less, and I’ve been less insecure both on stage and in my writing too. I’m writing more, but I don’t know if I’m writing better. I don’t know what to do with it all. I guess I’ll have to make more records.”
Serpentine Prison includes contributions from an array of guest artists, including Andrew Bird, Hayden Desser, Ben Lanz (The National, Beirut), Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers), and harmonica player Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan), among many others. Berninger is also joined by his National bandmate Scott Devendorf, his EL VY collaborator Brent Knopf, as well as Matt Barrick and Walter Martin of The Walkmen and Jonathan Fire*Eater.
Serpentine Prison is out now and can be bought here.