In a concert at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre on Thursday, the National debuted a new song — and they did it with a little help from Annie Clark, better known as art-rock queen St. Vincent. For their first encore, the indie-rock group premiered “Prom Song 13th Century (Frankie & Johnny),” and invited Clark out to contribute vocals.
In May, the National’s Aaron Dessner told Pitchfork that the band would “start recording soon” for their follow-up to 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, adding that he’s “been really, really working hard on the National stuff.”
But while the band hasn’t released an album in three years, its members have remained active musically. Last fall, singer Matt Berninger released an album with Menomena’s Brent Knopf as EL VY. Earlier this year, Bryan and Scott Devendorf, who comprise the National’s rhythm section, collaborated with Beirut’s Benjamin Lanz for an album as LNZNDRF. And the National’s other pair of brothers, Aaron and Bryce, oversaw Day of the Dead, the massive, 59-track charity tribute to the Grateful Dead that came out this spring.
The National have played plenty of fresh material on their current tour, and performed other unreleased tracks at the Greek Theatre concert on Thursday. See their performance with Clark below.