The National's Matt Berninger Drops New Track “Distant Axis” Off Forthcoming Debut Solo Album "Serpentine Prison"

"Distant Axis" includes a video directed by Berninger's brother Tom, who also directed the documentary "Mistaken for Strangers" about The National. The album is slated for release Oct. 2.

Jul 19, 2020 at 2:06 pm

click to enlarge Matt Berninger - Photo: Chantal Anderson
Photo: Chantal Anderson
Matt Berninger

The National frontman Matt Berninger has dropped a new track — "Distant Axis" — from his upcoming solo debut, Serpentine Prison. The album is slated for release Oct. 2 via Book Records, a new imprint from Berninger and Booker T. Jones in conjunction with Concord Records.

"Distant Axis" was released with a video directed by Berninger's brother Tom, who also directed the documentary Mistaken for Strangers about The National, and Chris Sgroi.

Berninger wrote "Distant Axis" with The Walkmen's Walter Martin — just one of many collaborators and contributors on the new album, including Andrew Bird, Mike Brewer, Hayden Desser, Scott Devendorf, Gail Ann Dorsey (David Bowie, Lenny Kravitz), Kyle Resnick (The National, Beirut), Harrison Whitford (Phoebe Bridgers) and others.

“I met Walter Martin 15 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," Berninger said in a release. "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.”

Berninger also released the title track from the album — again with a video from his brother — which received praise from various outlets. 

Stereogum says of the tune "Serpentine Prison": “It’s a classic-sounding Matt Berninger song (with a reference to Big Star’s cover of ‘Don’t Worry Baby’) but a little earthier and more stripped-back than the music The National usually makes. It’s a very promising first taste of the album.”

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